RC39 - Welfare States and Developing Societies

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17Nov 2018

A Brief Report

Our Research Commitee successfully organized three panels consisting of five papers each at the 25th IPSA World Congress held at Brisbane in Australia from July 21-25, 2018. All the sessions were well attended with lively interaction from the audience. The paper givers represented different regions and covered various aspects of ongoing research related to welfare states and developing societies. The Convener, Dr. Asha Gupta, presented a paper on the shift in paradigm from the welfare state to the welfare society. It emphasized on the need to associate the participatory society and various stakeholders in the enterprise of welfare going beyond the state and the market. The first session on Comparing Welfare Systems was chaired by Prof. Philip Nel of the University of Otago, New Zealand on July 22, 2018. Prof. Lenaura Lobato could not attend this session due certain personal problems. Hence his paper entitled ‘Brazilian Welfare State – Expansion, Uncertainty and Retrenchment’ could not be presented though it was uploaded on IPSA website in time. All the members can have access to it. 

Prof. Wojciech Nowiak and Prof. Andrzej Stelmach presented a very interesting paper based upon the comparative study of ‘Cultural and Social Assimilation of Immigrants – Poles in Norway and Ukrainians in Poland’. They found that whereas about 2.5 million citizens emigrated from Poland mostly within the European Union and European economic area and became the second largest national group in Norway, they were replaced by workers from  Ukraine to the tune of 1.5 to 2 million people though they did not enjoy the same rights as enjoyed by the Poles in Norway. Many interesting facts were brought out depicting the differences in cultural and social assimilation of the Poles in Norway and Ukrainians in Poland. 

Dr. Fabio B. Gomes presented his paper on ‘Path Dependencies and Differences in the Results of Universal Health Systems in Israel and Brazil’. Though Israel and Brazil appear to be altogether different countries in terms of territory, population, socio-economic development and cultural values, their universal health system have attracted a lot of attention worldwide. Both the countries have tried to deal with the prevailing inequalities in health care institutionally despite wide disparities in their socio-cultural systems. Both the countries aim at achieving the millennium development goal of universal health care. Brazil was the first country to adopt it outside OECD. It became an example in international health service for trying to establish a more equitable system through the SUS (National Health System) legislation 20 years ago. Though a tiny state, Israel ranks fourth in the world, leaving the USA far behind, in terms of health care. The norm of universal health care is widely accepted and all the political parties are committed to it with up to 40% support from the private sector. 

Next Prof. Andre Laliberte of the University of Ottawa presented his paper entitled ‘Serving the Chinese Welfare Regime: Civility Edification and Filial Piety’. He highlighted the conscious efforts being made in Peoples’ Republic of China under the leadership of Xi Jingping towards civilisational construction in favour of a harmonious society. Prof. Laiberte pointed out how the Chinese leadership is trying to rehabilitate the traditional culture, such as filial piety to natural lives and harmony within the families. To him, the Chinese welfare state takes family as a basic unit and it is currently facing acute problems due to aging society. The Chinese state is deliberately promoting religious associations to assist the local governments in elderly care based upon Confucian and Taoist traditions. 

Currently the state is also promoting civilisational schools in China to promote traditional values, such as, care to the family, altruism, selflessness, patriotism, filial piety, etc. We find a move from welfare to paternalism in China as a practical device. Social policy has been used to gain legitimacy, on the one hand, and population mobilisation into developmental, on the other. China provides a very interesting example of a welfare state that is both limited and defensive both in ambition and practice. Professor Laliberte proposes to take the Chinese welfare state beyond western-centric concepts and focus on the existing social reality in the wake of fragmented nature of the regime and need for more family support and philanthropy. 

Ms. Kristyna Basna from Prague, Czech Republic served as a Discussant for this panel. We had lively interaction from the floor. 

The session on ‘Social Welfare as a form of Social Justice: can there be a Trade Off between Economic Efficiency and Social Justice?’ was Chaired by Dr. Asha Gupta, former Director at the University of Delhi. Dr. Walter Carnota served as the Discussant for this panel held on July 23, 2018. Dr. Phuc Nguyen from La Trobe University presented the paper on ‘Employment Services Delivery – A Study in Decentralised Indonesia’. It was co-authored by Prof. Mark Considine of the University of Melbourne and Dr. Siobhan O’Sullivan of the University of New South Wales. We had a paper related to welfare state in Indonesia for the first time under RC 39. The paper highlighted the fact that despite unavailability of any kind of unemployment benefits or unemployment insurance, the job-seekers are provided various employment services by the central and local governments. Indonesia happens to be the fourth most populous country in the world. Whereas service delivery is privatized in the USA, UK and other OECD countries, we do not find any sign of service delivery privatization in Indonesia though private providers are found to be active in government funded employment services via sub-contracting. 

Dr. Walter Carnota, a Judge in Labour Court by profession, presented his paper on ‘Social Justice and Argentine Welfare State’. He pointed out the web of agencies, institutions and rules prevailing in Argentine welfare state. Agencies dealing with social matters were created in Argentina as early as 1912 and special legislation was made as early as 1915.  Social programmes are bound to stay in Argentina as they have contributed significantly in reducing extreme poverty. There is also provision for cash transfers to increase consumption among the welfare beneficiaries. 

Prof. Philip Nel from the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand, presented a provocative paper on ‘The Effect of Bribery on Income Distribution and Re-distribution’. He studied bribery in 85 industrialized and industrializing states and came to the conclusion that bribery has definite effect on inequality. On the one hand, it helps the poor to augment their income by avoiding taxation, on the other hand, it reflects institutional failure in terms of re-distributive capacity and enhancing inequality thereby. He highlighted the point that the rich actually consume less of their income. To Nel, high levels of income inequality can be seen as an indicator of ‘institutional deficiencies’. It can also be identified as a determinant of corruption. His paper suggests that there is complementarity between corruption and informal economy and combined together, they can precipitate a slowing down of the increase in disposable income inequality. Avoiding a moralistic bias, his paper tries to understand the actors and their behaviour not in terms of what it should be, but in terms of institutional incentives and disincentives they face. 

The last paper presented in this session was by Prof. Hyungin Oh from the Korea University on ‘Engagement by Empowerment: the Impact of Labour Market Activation on Unequal Turnout across Advanced Industrial Democracies’. It was reallocated from IPSA RC   …. His paper traces the impact of public spending on labour market activation on voting turnout in post-industrial democracies. Higher spending reduces the gap in voting. He pointed out the fact that social policies towards empowerment and reintegration of disadvantaged groups results in higher political participation. As such, social spending matters a lot. However, under platform economies, we find concentration of money into fewer hands.

The last session was held on July 23, 2018. Since Prof. Lenaura Lobato could not attend the Congress, the Convener Dr Asha Gupta took over as the Chair. First presentation was by Mrs. Ying Li from European Union on ‘Welfare State Reforms in Sweden’. Her paper highlighted the fact how Sweden succeeded in reducing its public expenditure without changing the basic structure of the welfare state. The Swedish model is based on retracing personal responsibility especially after the 1990 crisis leading to 12.3% decline in GDP deficit and rise in unemployment to 8.2%. Sweden could take some initiatives in welfare reform more productively primarily because of its small population size. It was able to arrive at a new consensus as its citizens agreed to take welfare reforms in the right spirit. They found cuts in public costs necessary to reduce debt. In 2018, an important bill was passed to increase security and welfare in Sweden by ending violence against children, raise in assistance, gender equity, integration of immigrants, and sick insurance and housing to be increased. Focus was also laid on increasing mental health.

In his paper on ‘Segmented Welfare Alliance: The Political Aftermath of the Developmental Welfare Expansion in South Korea’, Prof. Sunil Kim from South Korea discusses the complicated relationship between welfare expansion and political development particularly in a country like South Korea pursuing state-led industrialization. His study explores the underdevelopment of welfare alliance in South Korea despite the development of electoral politics. In South Korea, we find an expansion of universal welfare programmes without increasing the taxes. It has associated the private sector entities in delivering welfare services. His findings suggest the need for revisiting the theories of welfare politics after the expansion of developmental welfarism in the wake of post-democratization in South Korea. His paper also focusses on instrumental welfarism, hollowed out bureaucracy and the low contribution – low benefit welfare, on the one hand, and democratization, politicization and de-professionalization, on the other.

In the next presentation by Miss Vienne Wang and Mr. Chung-Wei Huang on ‘Shaping Preferences for Redistribution: Economic Factors and Moderating Role of Traditional Cultural Values in Developing Countries’ an attempt is made to show the effect of economic factors on preferences for redistribution on the basis of the data collected on East Asia, the authors are able to highlight the point that traditional values play a very important role in shaping preferences in these countries. We cannot apply the diverse welfare models to various developing countries having specific needs. We find varieties of welfare capitalism existing in the developing world having systematic differences from the developed world. In some countries, we find a productive welfare state whereas in other countries we find a protective welfare state or both (dual welfare state). The distinct patterns of welfare regimes in developing countries have wider implications for the domestic politics in the early 21st century.

The last presentation was on ‘Welfare State in Post-Communist European Countries: Comparison with Developed Western Democracies’ by Dr. Kristyna Basna from Czech Republic. Her paper focussed on citizens’ attitude towards the welfare state and explored the fact that how far they were affected by the recent fiscal crisis. She also tried to trace the differences in attitudes between post-communist European countries and the rest of Europe.it made comparisons on the basis of data prepared by the World Bank and European Social Service in 2008 and 2016. She focussed on citizens’ attitudes towards social benefits and taxations and made an attempt to understand future dependency on social benefits. To her, the benefits of welfare states are often doubted because of the costs involved and/or lack of cost effectiveness.

We had lively discussions and interventions based upon observations/suggestions made by the Discussants, Chair and interventions from the floor. At the Business Meeting held on July 23, 2018, it was decided that the Convener and Co-Convener would continue till the next IPSA World Congress to be held at Lisbon, Portugal in 2020 and a Call for Papers would be given before that through RC 39 and IPSA website for a book to be published by some renowned publisher based upon the papers presented at Brisbane. For this, a common theme would be chosen. Three members were associated with the RC 39 Board as below:

  1. Prof. Andre Laliberte, University of Ottawa, Canada.
  2. Dr. Walter Carnota, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina.
  3. Mrs. Ying Li, University of Hamburg, Germany.   

Convener/Chair:                         Co-convener:  

Dr. Asha Gupta,                         Dr. Natália Sátyro 

Former Director, DHMI               Federal University of Minas Gerais   

University of Delhi, India             Brazil, South America          

ashagupta3452@gmail.com       nsatyro@gmail.com      


23Jun 2018

RC39 on Welfare States and Developing Societies


RC 39 was first recognized as a study group in 1992 and was granted the status of the Research Committee in 1999 under the Chairmanship of Prof. M. M. Sankhdher of the University of Delhi. It deals with the issues related to welfare states and developing societies within the broader discipline of Political Science with the objective of promoting research, scholarly interactions and debates on specific welfare states, both that have done well as well as those that have been challenged by internal and external developments in the wake of a more interconnected world due to globalization and technological innovations. RC 39 aims at developing a paradigm that could be applied to less resourceful countries of the Global South that need welfare provisions at a rapid speed on massive scale. Comparative studies on welfare systems can help these countries ‘learn’ and ‘unlearn’ from the experiences of the developed world.

RC 39 has always been encouraging research on comparing welfare systems in the developed and developing world. Though most of the developing countries have tried to follow the western model(s) despite vast differences in the socio-economic, political, historic-geographical contexts, we find neither convergence nor divergence. This RC has encouraged research focusing on systematic differences in welfare state in advanced economies and emerging ones, on the one hand, and among developing countries themselves, on the other, comprising of two-third of world’s population and half of total land. This majority world can no longer be ignored in the interest of global well-being.

The focus of the various papers and panels proposed under RC 39 so far has been on the emerging trends in welfare states and developing societies. Some of the papers have dealt with the latest trends in welfare reforms towards social assistance, social insurance and social pension. Some of the papers have dealt with the shift in paradigm from ‘welfare’ to ‘paternalism’ by making an indepth study of the values and public attitudes involved towards welfare beyond equality and social justice to ‘civilized politics’. Many papers have dealt with innovative ideas in some specific country or comparative framework. Some have even come out with alternatives to welfare states in current scenarios.     

RC 39 welcomes well-researched papers related to unconventional social policies. In advanced economies, the focus of welfare research is mostly on conventional social policies, such as, pensions, healthcare, unemployment, insurance, etc. But in developing and emerging economies, we find lack of mature welfare states. Here the usual focus is on unconventional social policies, also known as ‘social policy by other means’, ‘ersatz social policy’ or ‘informal welfare’. These include diverse policy areas including agriculture, housing, education, transport, regulation and taxation. They all function to redistribute incomes, either cash or in kind, and are thus areas of social policymaking. India and China are good examples of this approach.

The RC also encourages research on the shift in paradigm from generosity to austerity in the wake of fiscal and overload crisis. The welfare state connoting the state of well-being, good fortune, happiness and prosperity of an individual or community through humanitarian and generous redistribution of resources has become unsustainable in its original form. It has become imperative to adopt the redistribution policies in the wake of ground realities owing to changing labour market and family structure in the wake of knowledge-based and technology-driven economies. It has become impossible for any welfare state and developing society to strike a balance between economic efficiency and social justice. The days of generosity seem to have gone in view of stringent austerity measures adopted by welfare states worldwide today. In future, added focus on individual responsibility through insurance policies cannot be ruled out.

RC 39 came into being to focus on the specific welfare needs and methods adopted by the welfare states and developing societies belonging to so called “third world”. Gradually it started accepting well-researched proposals from scholars belonging to the western world and advanced economies as well. It proposed four panels at the Montreal Congress in 2014 on – (1) Regional Diversity and Specificity of Welfare State: the Experiences of Developing Countries, (2) State-Market-Family: Welfare Relations in Developing Countries, (3) Welfare State in Developing Countries: Changing Perspectives, (4) Social Protection Systems and Social Policymaking in the LDC. This group brought together researchers from various countries and research on diversified countries, such as, India, China, Russia, South Africa, Turkey, Latin America, OECD countries, etc. The papers presented included case studies, cross-case studies, qualitative comparative analysis, econometric analysis, etc.

RC 39 proposed five panels initially for the 24th IPSA World Congress to be held at Poznan in Poland from July 23-28, 2016. In view of change of venue from Turkey to Poland and a few drop outs, it had to merge them into three panels – (1) Comparing Welfare Systems to be Chaired by Prof. Stein Kuhnle, University of Bergen, Norway, (2) Emerging Trends in Welfare Reform to be Chaired by Dr Asha Gupta, University of Delhi, India and (3) Welfare State in Future: from Generosity to Austerity to be Chaired by Dr Natalia Satyro, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil.      

Office bearers of IPSA RC 39 elected at Montreal 2014:

Convener/Chair:                         Co-convener:  

Dr. Asha Gupta,                         Dr. Natália Sátyro      

Director, DHMI                           Federal University of Minas Gerais   

University of Delhi, India             Brazil, South America          

ashagupta3452@gmail.com       nsatyro@gmail.com                           


Papers presented at Poznan World Congress July 2016

Panel (39.01): Comparing Welfare Systems          

Convenor: Dr. Asha Gupta                    ashagupta3452@gmail.com

Chair:       Prof. Stein Kuhnle               stein.kuhnle@isp.uib.no  

Discussants: Prof. Philip Nel                philip.nel@otago.ac.nz

Papers presented:

Dr. Asha Gupta, India         ashagupta3452@gmail.com   

Dr. Bamidele Seteolu         folabiset@yahoo.com                                    

Dr. Natalia Satyro, Brazil    nsatyro@gmail.com               

Panel (39.02): Emerging Trends in Welfare Reforms  

Convenor: Dr. Asha Gupta               ashagupta3452@gmail.com

Chair:  Dr. Asha Gupta                    ashagupta3452@gmail.com

Discussants: Dr. Ines Calzada         calzadaines@gmail.com 

Papers presented:

Dr. William Brandon             wilbrand@uncc.edu               

Prof. Philip Nel                     philip.nel@otago.ac.nz

Mr. Chung-Wei Huang            osbern@gmail.com

Prof. Yu-Tzung Chang             yutzung@ntu.edu.tw             

Panel (39.05): Welfare State in Future: From Generosity to Austerity              

Convenor:  Dr. Asha Gupta                   ashagupta3452@gmail.com

Chair:   Dr. Natalia Satyro                     nsatyro@gmail.com

Discussants: Prof. Nirvia Ravena           niravena@uol.com.br

Papers presented:

Mr. Freddy Alpalá                     freddy.alpala@correounivalle.edu.co

Dr. Sidney Jard Da Silva             sidney.jard@ufabc.edu.br

Dr. Romina Miorelli                     r.miorelli@westminster.ac.uk

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