- Code POGO8025
- Unit Value 6 units
- Offered by Crawford School of Public Policy
- ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
- Course subject Policy and Governance
- Areas of interest Policy Studies
- Academic career PGRD
- Peter Whiteford
- Mode of delivery In Person
Autumn Session 2021
See Future Offerings
In 2021, the class dates for this course are April 9, 12, 16, 19; May 7, 10.
This course aims to provide both a macro view of welfare state debates in Australia and internationally – including Asia and the Pacific, as well as Europe and North America – and also develop skills in undertaking quantitative analysis of selected major policy issues such as the causes of the growth of public spending, measures to control expenditure growth, and how to analyse the effectiveness of welfare state spending, particularly in relation to impacts on income distribution (inequality and income poverty), as well as unintended consequences. Emphasis is on a comparative approach.
Questions to be addressed include:
- How expensive is the Welfare State?
- Issues to be dealt with include the growth in welfare spending in Australia and internationally and the causal factors associated with these trends; issues of definition of the welfare state, including the relationship between public and private welfare, and occupational welfare, and the role of the tax system and its interactions with public spending.
- How effective is the Welfare State?
- What are the impacts of social spending and taxation on income inequality and poverty, moving from cash benefits and personal taxes to government provided services and indirect taxes; does the welfare state have unintended consequences that undermine redistribution through impacts on incentives to work and save and form families; does the welfare state have indirect positive effects on social performance, boosting social solidarity and other wellbeing outcomes.
- What are the social policy challenges facing developing Asian and Pacific countries in coming decades, including trends in inequality and the consequences of population ageing and demographic change? Is there an Asian social policy model or models that can deal effectively with these challenges? Are the policy approaches developed and used in OECD countries relevant to Asia and the Pacific. What are appropriate the analytical frameworks and tools to assess these questions?
- Is the Welfare State sustainable?
The financial crisis in North Atlantic economies has resulted in significant growth in public spending in many countries and falling tax revenues, leading to higher public debt. Some countries have embarked on austerity packages. These trends coincide with the first cohort of the baby boom population reaching age 65, and projected further substantial increases in welfare state spending on pensions, health care and services for the frail aged. What does this combination of trends mean for the sustainability of the welfare state in Australia and internationally?
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- a) Find and use key sources of data on social security and welfare spending in Australia and internationally, including Asia and the Pacific as well as OECD countries
- b) Understand key conceptual frameworks regarding social spending, as well as frameworks for the analysis of distributional effects of public spending
- c) Demonstrate a knowledge of methodological issues in the analysis of the effects of government welfare state spending on key social outcomes including inequality and poverty
- d) Analyse and assess alternative approaches to social policy interventions
- e) Compare the social protection systems of their own or other countries with those of other rich or developing nations
- Assessment is through two individual essays. The Initial Essay should not exceed 2,000 words. (40) [LO null]
- The Final Essay should not exceed 4,000 words. Initial readings for both Essays will be as for the Class Reading list, with self-directed follow-up for further reading. (60) [LO null]
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30 hours of lectures and seminars
Adema, W., P. Fron and M. Ladaique (2011), “Is the European Welfare State Really More Expensive?: Indicators on Social Spending, 1980-2012; and a Manual to the OECD Social Expenditure Database (SOCX)”, OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers, No. 124, OECD Publishing. http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/5kg2d2d4pbf0-en
Barr , N. (1992), 'Economic Theory and the Welfare State: A Survey and Interpretation', Journal of Economic Literature, Vol. 30, No. 2, June 1992, pp. 741-803.
Barr , N. (2001), The Welfare State as Piggy Bank, Information, Risk, Uncertainty, and the Role of the State, Oxford University Press, http://ukcatalogue.oup.com/product/9780199246595.do
Michael FÃ¶rster & Peter Whiteford, 2009. "How much Redistribution do Welfare States Achieve? The Role of Cash Transfers and Household Taxes," CESifo DICE Report, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 7(3), pages 34-41, October.
Kenworthy, L. (2011), Progress for the Poor, Oxford University Press, 2011.
Whiteford, P. ( 2010), "The Australian Tax-Transfer System: Architecture and Outcomes," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 86(275), pages 528-544, December.
A Reading Brick will be made available to students in advance of the Course. Students will also be provided with a Guide to Source Materials (including the Internet) and a comprehensive Bibliography.
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