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Lecture 2

Week 2 - Korpi & Palme SOC220F.docx

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Josh Curtis

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Korpi & Palme The Paradox of Redistribution and Strategies of Equality: Welfare State Institutions, Inequality and Poverty in Western Countries Big Ideas • How to reduce poverty and inequality has been a big question for a long time. When answering this question, researchers usually only focus on 2 questions: 1) Should only income groups be allowed to access and use social policies or should they be universal (everybody gets access, whether poor, somewhere in between or rich) 2) Should everybody have access to benefits or should they just be money related (you have to be pulling in a paycheque to get benefits) • However, it should be known, that when sociologists answer this question it is usually flawed in the sense that they don’t look at the “big picture” and take everything into account. This can be seen in the following 3 common mistakes sociologists neglect to take into account when answering the above questions: 1. The size of redistribution budgets is not fixed 2. A trade off exists between the degree of low income targeting and the size of redistributive budgets 3. Outcomes of market-based distribution are more unequal than earnings related social insurance programs The Paradox of Redistribution • Providing high income earners with money related benefits actually helps inequality, contrary to what many think • Flat rates do not work. All welfar
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