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Parallel Sessions - Wellbeing and welfare regimes

Session 1: Wellbeing and welfare regimes 9.00 - 10.30
- Reproducing unequal security: Peru as a wellbeing regime - Geof Wood and James Copestake
- Cultural constructions of ‘wellbeing’ in rural Ethiopia: an investigation of competing local models
Philippa Bevan
- Wellbeing and welfare regimes In four countries - Ian Gough

Session 2: - Migration, informal labour markets and anti-poverty policies 16.00-17.30
- A profound failure of well being? Health professional migration from Ghana and the nature and distribution of costs and benefits - Maureen Mackintosh, Richard Biritwum, Kwadwo Mensah, Roberto Simonetti
- Well-being and informal labour markets: A policy perspective - Johannes Jutting, Jante Parlevliet, Theodora Xenogiani
New Strategies for the Poverty and Hunger Millennium Development Goals: Lessons from social protection to address chronic poverty - Andrew Shepherd, Armando Barrientos

Session 3: - Global comparative studies 14.00-15.30
- Wellbeing and welfare states: cross-national comparison of quality of life in market and transition economies - Gopalakrishnan Netuveli, David Blane, Mel Bartley
Worlds of welfare: a cluster analysis of welfare regimes - Mirian Abu Sharkh and Ian Gough
- Happy Planet Index - an index of human well-being and environmental impacts -
Nic Marks

Reproducing Unequal Security: Peru as a Wellbeing Regime

Geof Wood and James Copestake [email protected]

Building on earlier work by Gough, Wood and others on comparative welfare regimes, this paper puts forward a wellbeing regime model with a stronger emphasis upon the security of agency and the social and symbolic dimensions of wellbeing as outcomes. It applies this model to an analysis of Peru in terms of: conditioning socio-political factors; individual’s capabilities to negotiate the institutional landscape of state, market, community and household at local, national and global levels; a review of wellbeing outcomes; and the socio-political reproduction consequences of these outcomes for potential societal and regime change with respect to the centralisation of wealth and power, alienation, the political tolerance of inequality and the politics of social identity. Peru is understood as an ‘unsettled regime’ in the sense that social consensus over the parameters of social policy in terms of stable fiscal frameworks for redistributive social spending by the state remains at best fragile. However the paper departs from Figueroa’s reliance upon external transformative shocks to overcome racialised class inequality, and explores prospects for an endogenous and evolutionary diffusion of power through the gradual acquisition of social rights and political freedoms. Such prospects are nevertheless tempered by persistent and pervasive clientelism, unstable economic policy in the context of globalisation, and frequent changes of government reflecting factional roundabouts among a small political class. The paper concludes with some reflection on the added explanatory power of the more complicated ‘wellbeing regime’ model over its previous ‘welfare regime’ version. The main argument in favour is that it brings the question of poor people’s agency more to the centre of analysis, and with it closer attention to the impact of material resources and welfare indicators upon processes, relationships and institutions.

Full paper

Cultural constructions of ‘wellbeing’ in rural Ethiopia: an investigation of competing local models

Philippa Bevan [email protected]

The WeD approach to the evaluation of ‘being’ which we took to four ‘exemplar’ communities in rural Ethiopia identifies three important perspectives on individual well- and ill- being, which are related to (1) the extent to which universal ‘objective’ needs are met or not; (2) the extent to which people can act effectively to pursue goals which are ‘relative’ to local models of wellbeing based on values and ideals implicit in local cultures; and (3) personal evaluations of lives, which are ‘subjective’. The research on local models of wellbeing in these four diverse communities revealed three things which are described in the paper. First, the importance attached to collective household, kin and community wellbeing. Second, differences in culturally prescribed goals, norms, instantiations of needs, and needs satisfiers for different kinds of person. Third, appreciable levels of cultural contestation associated with (1) differences in gender and age (all sites) and ethnicity and religion (two sites), and (2) the hybridised absorption of a range of historical and current ideological and religious ‘macro’ models of individual and collective wellbeing, with their own differing assumptions about universals. These include models implicit in government ‘socialism’, the donor spectrum between ‘liberalism’ and ‘welfarism’, NGO rights-based discourses, and wehabi Islamism, Orthodox Christianity, Protestantisms, and Catholicism.

The paper concludes with a discussion of some of the emerging issues in defining wellbeing in developing country contexts. First, we need to better theorise and research 'collective wellbeing'. Second, as we started to do in the Ethiopia research, there is a need for the further conceptualisation of 'persons', taking better account of the effect of differences in 'genderage' on goals, instantiations of needs and harms, the resources or 'needs-satisfiers' which are appropriate for people at different gendered life-stages, and way age and gender affect personal evaluations of lives at different stages. Third, we need to acknowledge more clearly that 'macro' wellbeing repertoires are produced and disseminated by relatively powerful people and organisations (including WeD) who/which (1) want to change the 'preferences' of people with little power in order to improve their life quality in directions they have decided, but (2) have organisational and personal interests which may come to predominate. If the ultimate goal of development is improved wellbeing, then people constructing development research, policy and practice frameworks must: (1) address collective life quality issues; (2) accord equal weight to the needs, goals, and subjective evaluations of toddlers, old women, adolescent boys, young mothers and everyone else, and (3) engage reflexively and dialogically with relevant macro wellbeing discourses, appreciating their origins in unequal global structures and struggles.

Full paper

Wellbeing and welfare regimes in four countries

Ian Gough [email protected]

This paper begins to link the earlier ‘Bath’ research into welfare regimes in developing countries with the WeD research into wellbeing in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Peru and Thailand. It thus presents a qualitative comparative analysis of wellbeing across the four countries. The welfare regime model is modified in two main ways: to include satisfaction with important life goals as a measure of wellbeing outcomes, and to include comparative family and cultural structures as major explanations of welfare regimes. The second section summarises the global context shaping the four countries since 1990 and the combined and unequal reflection of these in the political economies of the four countries. The next four sections consider in turn: welfare and wellbeing outcomes, the ‘welfare mix’ (the ways states, markets, communities, households and their international equivalents interact to produce wellbeing or illbeing), some of the structural determinants of these, and political mobilisations to protect or change the regime pattern. It concludes by relating welfare regimes to the idea of wellbeing developed within the WeD programme.

Full paper (tables and figures)

Wellbeing and welfare states: cross-national comparison of quality of life in market and transition economies.

Gopalakrishnan Netuveli, David Blane, Mel Bartley

[email protected], [email protected], [email protected]

Cross-national comparisons of quality of life in countries in different stages of transition to a market economy, with old and established economies in Europe and USA will yield valuable lessons. Equally interesting will be to compare these transitional economies to a developing country. In this paper we examine differences in quality of life between the different countries of Western, Eastern and Central Europe, Russia and the USA, and some possible explanations for these variations. We then go on to compare quality of life in the Indian state of Kerala to that in the other nations.
Our results show wide disparities in quality of life among these countries with Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands leading the league table. The lowest levels of quality of life were in Russia, Italy and Greece, followed by the Czech Republic and Poland. Countries with high average quality of life tended to have less inequality in quality of life. Compared to social-democratic welfare regimes, other regime types had reduced quality of life The typology of welfare regime explained 63% of the variation among the countries. When indicators of decommodification and social stratification styles were modelled, 91% of the variation between countries was explained.
Kerala had a quality of life better than Italy, Greece, and Russia. There was a definite gradient in quality of life with education. Muslims had lower quality of life and so did tribal people. Both education and operational measures of capability were strongly predictive of quality of life in Kerala.
From these findings we conclude that state policies, especially those countering market forces, can explain much of the differences among market and transition economies in quality of life. Similarly fostering human capabilities can also enhance quality of life. However, inequalities in quality of life among sub-populations need to be addressed.
From these findings we conclude that state policies, especially those that act to mitigate market forces, can go some way towards explaining the differences among market and transition economies in quality of life.

Full paper

Worlds of welfare: a cluster analysis of welfare regimes
Miriam Abu Sharkh with Ian Gough
[email protected]

This paper begins from the framework of welfare regimes in developing countries developed by Gough and Wood et al (2004) and Wood and Gough (2006). This posited the existence of identifiable welfare regimes - comprising welfare outcomes, welfare 'mixes', structural determinants and forms of mobilisation - which tend to reproduce themselves through time. The purpose of this paper is to test this model by undertaking a cluster analysis of a large number of countries across the world in 2000. The method is to cluster countries separately according to welfare (or
illfare) outcomes, and the welfare mix, and then to combine the two to identify (or not) distinct welfare regimes. The paper then tests the temporal constancy of these regimes by comparing them with a similar analysis for 1990. Finally, the paper investigates structural correlates
of these regimes to provide an initial understanding of their determinants.

Full paper

Happy Planet Index: An index of human well-being and environmental impacts

Nic Marks
[email protected]

The Happy Planet Index (HPI) was launched in July 2006. It assesses how well nations are faring by comparing their ultimate outcomes (the delivery of happy and long lives for their citizens) with their fundamental inputs (how much of the planet’s finite resources they use). The HPI report has been downloaded over 800,000 times since its launch.

The objective of the index is to highlight how ecologically inefficient (so-called) developed nations are at delivering human well-being. The index identifies opportunities for materially lighter lifestyles that are also happier and healthier.

The index uses publicly available data on life satisfaction, longevity and ecological footprint to create a composite efficiency index. For many nations there was no available data on life satisfaction, so regression methodologies were employed to estimate life satisfaction for these nations.

The index highlights that nations with broadly well-being outcomes, such as the USA, Germany and Costa Rica, can have wildly different ecological footprints (the USA’s is twice Germany’s, which in turn is twice Costa Rica’s). Medium development countries (as defined by the UN Human Development Index) fare best, with Latin American countries and Islands of the World doing particularly well. Though no country comes close to what can be considered a reasonable ideal of sustainable one-planet lifestyles that produce decent long lives for its citizens.

The findings suggest that as we globally struggle to organize international affairs to tackle poverty and protect the environment we have been using the wrong road map and are unlikely to reach a desirable destination unless we change our direction.

Full paper

A profound failure of well being? Health professional migration from Ghana and the nature and distribution of costs and benefits

Maureen Mackintosh, Richard Biritwum, Kwadwo Mensah, Roberto Simonetti
[email protected]

There is now a large literature on migration of health professionals from low income countries to work in health services in higher income countries, and the costs and benefits of this migration. While the health literature has concentrated on the harmful effects for populations in countries of origin, the economic literature has been particularly concerned to identify economic benefits. This paper seeks to make a methodological as well as empirical contribution to the understanding of the effects of this form of migration on well being of those involved.

The paper draws on a series of linked pieces of research by the authors and research associates, and particularly seeks to place the economic measurement of gains and losses within a broader framework of human rights and global inequality. We report some results from the use of an innovative methodology to track health service costs of out-migration of health professionals from Ghana, based on fieldwork in 28 Ghanaian health districts in 2004 and other related data collection on training, remittances and health service use. Initial results from this work are compared briefly to assessments of the benefits migrant health professionals bring to UK health service users, and research on the experience of Ghanaian professionals in the UK. Finally, the paper sets this type of analysis in the context of a broader concern with human rights, including the right to leave one’s country, and with the ethical obligations that migration in conditions of extreme inequality entail for human rights.

For full paper please apply to authors

Well-being and informal labour markets: A policy perspective

Johannes Jutting, Jante Parleviet, Theodora Xenogiani

Emerging evidence points to the existence of a dualistic structure of informal labour markets in developing countries. This view challenges the conventional wisdom that well -being is best pursued by policies that promote the formal sector. In fact, there is emerging evidence that working in the informal sector is (sometimes) a deliberate choice because people are better off than if they remained formally employed. Of course, "better off" means more than just "better paid" -- access to informal security, information networks, social capital are all parts of the informal-sector" pay package" that contribute to the well-being of individuals. This is not to deny that many workers in the informal sector would be better off in a formal setting, nor that there are risks and vulnerabilities that are particularly acute for many in the informal sector. The objective of this session is to discuss the recent evidence underlying this paradigm shift and the policy implications that result.

1) What is the relation between formal/informal labour market dynamics and the well-being of workers?
2) What explains the appeal of the informal sector (e.g. the existence of a functioning apprenticeship system) for many workers?

Full paper

New Strategies for the Poverty and Hunger Millennium Development Goals: Lessons from social protection to address chronic poverty - Andrew Shepherd, Armando Barrientos

This paper synthesises lessons from attempts to introduce social protection in low income countries. It is based on work being carried out in the Chronic Poverty Research, either in preparation for producing the second international Chronic Poverty Report (in 2008) or research on vulnerability as a key cause of chronic poverty – both driving people into long term poverty and maintaining them in that state for years at a time. It attempts to integrate: technical lessons about particular approaches to social protection; lessons about impact; and political lessons about the introduction and expansion of social protection in particular contexts of state formation and political development. It concludes that social protection, in particular social assistance, does have an important role to play in reducing poverty in low income countries, that it can be well designed, implemented, afforded, and scaled up, but that there are also limitations of context which can be severe and need to be addressed alongside the promotion of particular appropriate approaches. Although these obstacles may be significant, the paper argues that several of the prejudices about the political and social feasibility of social protection are not well founded; and that social protection can be part of the programme for acquiring a ‘developmental state’. In particular, social protection is a vehicle for socialising risk across horizontal rather than vertical social divides. International donors have several important roles to play alongside national governments. The state formation and re-formation arguments are as important as the growth arguments in promoting social assistance. It is vital that LSMS and other instruments are rapidly adapted to evaluate social protection schemes so that, come the approach to the 2015 MDG targets, there is plenty of information available about impact in different contexts. The 2000-2010 period should be treated as a genuinely experimental period, after which firm policies should be in place.

Full paper

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