Chapter

Universal to Selective

Neil Gilbert

in Transformation of the Welfare State

Published in print August 2002 | ISBN: 9780195140743
Published online April 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780199834921 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195140745.003.0006
 Universal to Selective

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The principle of universalism in the allocation of social benefits, that is the availability of social benefits to everyone as of right, is contrasted with allocation on a selective basis in which benefits are allocated on the basis of need as determined by means testing of income. The increasing drift towards income‐tested benefits is described, and the possible stigma of means testing discussed. The implications of methods of targeting social welfare benefits other than by means testing are discussed; these include age, behaviour (e.g. searching for work, training, and voluntary work), and functional impairment (disability). The lack of transparency of restrictive targeting is noted.

Keywords: allocation; benefits; means testing; restrictive targeting; selective versus universal benefits; social welfare; universalism

Chapter.  8705 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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