UMD School of Public Policy Professors Douglas Besharov and Douglas Call co-edited and contributed to a newly-released publication, “Work and the Social Safety Net.” This book is a collaboration of eighteen contributors from across the US and Europe that describes how cash transfer regimes can help alleviate financial hardship by providing urgent financial assistance, but also, how they can prolong and deepen dependency.
Cash transfers are one of the most widely talked about innovations in recent times that can dramatically impact the lives of unemployed and underemployed people. The goal of these programs is to reduce income inequality and give families the financial assistance needed to break free from the vicious cycle of poverty that is often passed from one generation to the next.
For policymakers on both sides of the Atlantic, ‘Work and the Social Safety Net’ shows how activation policies can be effective even while still preserving a strong social safety net.Douglas Besharov
“In our research, we have traced the development of US and European income support policies since the 1990s, and their possible impacts,” explains Besharov. “For policymakers on both sides of the Atlantic, ‘Work and the Social Safety Net’ shows how activation policies can be effective even while still preserving a strong social safety net.”
Through his research, Besharov discovered that “In order to preserve the viability of their programs in the face of changing economies, demographics and social attitudes, many have added programmatic elements designed to discourage long-term recipiency, and to encourage work and other work-related behaviors.”
This book surveys the known behavioral incentives embedded within various safety-net programs, and the policies in place to encourage able recipients to seek work and climb out of poverty. Throughout, they and the other contributors emphasize the important duality of safety-net benefits and activation.
- Social Policy