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Can ‘New Welfare’ Address Poverty through More and Better Jobs?

Taylor-Gooby, Peter, Gumy, Julia M., Otto, Adeline (2015) Can ‘New Welfare’ Address Poverty through More and Better Jobs? Journal of Social Policy, 44 (1). pp. 83-104. ISSN 0047-2794. (doi:10.1017/S0047279414000403) (KAR id:51582)


New welfare has been prominent in recent European social policy debates. It involves mobilising more people into paid work, improving human capital and ensuring fairer access to opportunities. This programme is attractive to business (more workers, better human capital and reduced social conflict to enhance productivity and profitability) and to citizens (more widely accessible job-opportunities with better rewards): a relatively low-cost approach to the difficulties governments face in maintaining support and meeting social goals as inequalities widen. The general move towards ‘new welfare’ gathered momentum during the past two decades, given extra impetus by the 2007-9 recession and subsequent stagnation. While employment rates rose during the prosperous years before the crisis, there was no commensurate reduction in poverty. Over the same period the share of economic growth returned to labour fell, labour markets were increasingly de-regulated and inequality increased. This raises the question of whether new welfare’s economic (higher employment, improved human capital) and social (better job quality and incomes) goals may come into conflict. This paper examines data for 17 European countries over the period 2001 to 2007. It shows that new welfare is much more successful at achieving higher employment than at reducing poverty, even during prosperity, and that the approach pays insufficient attention to structural factors, such as the falling wage share, and to institutional issues, such as labour market deregulation.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1017/S0047279414000403
Projects: Innovative Social Policies for Inclusive and Resilient Labour Markets in Europe - See more at:
Uncontrolled keywords: New welfare; poverty; employment; Europe; labour market; deregulation; social investment
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: Peter Taylor-Gooby
Date Deposited: 09 Nov 2015 16:13 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 13:29 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Taylor-Gooby, Peter.

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Gumy, Julia M..

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Otto, Adeline.

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