A Comparative Assessment of the French and U. S. Experiences
Since the late 1980s welfare policies in France and the United States have increasingly been shaped by a strong emphasis on citizens' obligations to work and be independent, and a weakening of entitlements to income maintenance. Throughout the advanced industrialized nations, welfare reforms incorporate work-oriented measures such as financial incentives, insertion contracts, training, and requirements to search for and accept jobs. The evidence in this volume suggests that while the details may vary, welfare reforms in France and the United States have more in common than is often acknowledged. Welfare Reform provides an in-depth analysis of the development and structure of modern welfare programs and how they function. The dynamics of welfare reform are illuminated by focusing on two programs: the Revenu Minimum d'Insertion in France and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families in the United States. Taking various analytic approaches, contributors examine the relations between poverty and work, how U.S. and French models of income support have been transformed in recent times, the relative impacts of economic growth and policy reforms on rates of welfare participation, and what happens to recipients who leave the welfare rolls. Welfare Reform will help researchers and policymakers gain perspective on where they are headed and how best to get there as they journey down the highway of welfare reform. Neil Gilbert is Chernin Professor of Social Welfare at the School of Social Welfare, University of California at Berkeley, and co-director of the Center for Child and Youth Policy (CCYP). His numerous publications include 25 books and over 100 articles that have appeared in The Public Interest, Society, Commentary, and other leading academic journals. Antoine Parent is associate professor of economics at the University of Paris 8, associate researcher at MATISSE, University of Paris 1--Sorbonne, and research program manager at the Research Division of the French Ministry of Social Affairs.