Wage-earners' welfare after economic reform: Refurbishing, retrenching or hollowing out social protection in Australia and New zealand?

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Abstract

Australia and New Zealand developed distinctive 'wage-earner welfare states', with social protection largely delivered through high breadwinner basic incomes and residual social policies. Market reforms then pursued in both countries during the 1980s and 1990s retrenched important elements of the Antipodean model. Our article offers a novel characterization of major reforms to both welfare states from the mid-1990s to the early 2010s. We focus on industrial relations, as a form of wage-earner welfare, and expansions to social provision for families and retirees that may be viewed as responding to the evolving needs of wage-earners as family patterns diversify and populations age. Policy reversals complicate the picture of the long-term path of industrial relations. Voters rejected the Employment Contracts Act in New Zealand in 2000 and WorkChoices in Australia in 2007, with incoming labour governments moderating policy to favour wage-earner expectations of decent wages and fair bargaining. Alongside this, governments expanded both paternalistic social policies and private social provision. We argue these changes taken together produced a 'hollowing out' of wage-earner welfare in both countries, accompanied by increasingly stratified welfare, which marginalizes and stigmatizes many outside the workforce. But, we also note persistent differences, reflecting the more radical and 'pure' New Zealand experiment, its relatively centralized politics and stronger liberal tradition. Hence, Australia retains more progressive taxation and family support less connected with employment status, while making greater use of tax expenditures to support private welfare.

LanguageEnglish
Pages623-646
Number of pages24
JournalSocial Policy and Administration
Volume47
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013

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wage earner
economic reform
wage
New Zealand
welfare
industrial relations
welfare state
social policy
basic income
employment contract
reform
retiree
taxation
bargaining
taxes
government policy
expenditures
act
expenditure
social protection

Cite this

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title = "Wage-earners' welfare after economic reform: Refurbishing, retrenching or hollowing out social protection in Australia and New zealand?",
abstract = "Australia and New Zealand developed distinctive 'wage-earner welfare states', with social protection largely delivered through high breadwinner basic incomes and residual social policies. Market reforms then pursued in both countries during the 1980s and 1990s retrenched important elements of the Antipodean model. Our article offers a novel characterization of major reforms to both welfare states from the mid-1990s to the early 2010s. We focus on industrial relations, as a form of wage-earner welfare, and expansions to social provision for families and retirees that may be viewed as responding to the evolving needs of wage-earners as family patterns diversify and populations age. Policy reversals complicate the picture of the long-term path of industrial relations. Voters rejected the Employment Contracts Act in New Zealand in 2000 and WorkChoices in Australia in 2007, with incoming labour governments moderating policy to favour wage-earner expectations of decent wages and fair bargaining. Alongside this, governments expanded both paternalistic social policies and private social provision. We argue these changes taken together produced a 'hollowing out' of wage-earner welfare in both countries, accompanied by increasingly stratified welfare, which marginalizes and stigmatizes many outside the workforce. But, we also note persistent differences, reflecting the more radical and 'pure' New Zealand experiment, its relatively centralized politics and stronger liberal tradition. Hence, Australia retains more progressive taxation and family support less connected with employment status, while making greater use of tax expenditures to support private welfare.",
author = "Shaun Wilson and Benjamin Spies-Butcher and Adam Stebbing and {St John}, Susan",
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N2 - Australia and New Zealand developed distinctive 'wage-earner welfare states', with social protection largely delivered through high breadwinner basic incomes and residual social policies. Market reforms then pursued in both countries during the 1980s and 1990s retrenched important elements of the Antipodean model. Our article offers a novel characterization of major reforms to both welfare states from the mid-1990s to the early 2010s. We focus on industrial relations, as a form of wage-earner welfare, and expansions to social provision for families and retirees that may be viewed as responding to the evolving needs of wage-earners as family patterns diversify and populations age. Policy reversals complicate the picture of the long-term path of industrial relations. Voters rejected the Employment Contracts Act in New Zealand in 2000 and WorkChoices in Australia in 2007, with incoming labour governments moderating policy to favour wage-earner expectations of decent wages and fair bargaining. Alongside this, governments expanded both paternalistic social policies and private social provision. We argue these changes taken together produced a 'hollowing out' of wage-earner welfare in both countries, accompanied by increasingly stratified welfare, which marginalizes and stigmatizes many outside the workforce. But, we also note persistent differences, reflecting the more radical and 'pure' New Zealand experiment, its relatively centralized politics and stronger liberal tradition. Hence, Australia retains more progressive taxation and family support less connected with employment status, while making greater use of tax expenditures to support private welfare.

AB - Australia and New Zealand developed distinctive 'wage-earner welfare states', with social protection largely delivered through high breadwinner basic incomes and residual social policies. Market reforms then pursued in both countries during the 1980s and 1990s retrenched important elements of the Antipodean model. Our article offers a novel characterization of major reforms to both welfare states from the mid-1990s to the early 2010s. We focus on industrial relations, as a form of wage-earner welfare, and expansions to social provision for families and retirees that may be viewed as responding to the evolving needs of wage-earners as family patterns diversify and populations age. Policy reversals complicate the picture of the long-term path of industrial relations. Voters rejected the Employment Contracts Act in New Zealand in 2000 and WorkChoices in Australia in 2007, with incoming labour governments moderating policy to favour wage-earner expectations of decent wages and fair bargaining. Alongside this, governments expanded both paternalistic social policies and private social provision. We argue these changes taken together produced a 'hollowing out' of wage-earner welfare in both countries, accompanied by increasingly stratified welfare, which marginalizes and stigmatizes many outside the workforce. But, we also note persistent differences, reflecting the more radical and 'pure' New Zealand experiment, its relatively centralized politics and stronger liberal tradition. Hence, Australia retains more progressive taxation and family support less connected with employment status, while making greater use of tax expenditures to support private welfare.

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