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It is widely assumed today that the ""welfare state"" is contracting or retrenching as an effect of the close scrutiny to which entitlement to social-security benefits is being subjected in most developed countries. In this book, 15 authorities from nine different countries - the UK, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Spain, Denmark, Finland, Norway and the US - investigate to what extent this assumption is warranted.;The papers were originally presented at a Conference on ""The Future of Social Security"" held at the University of Stirling in June 2000. Taking into account developments and initiatives at every administrative level from sub-national employment agencies to the OECD and the World Bank, they draw on both data and theories in a broad spectrum of related disciplines, including political science, economics, sociology and law. Detailed materials allow the reader to formulate well-defined responses to such questions as: is there indeed waning public support for social security?; is the ""demographic time bomb"" of an ageing population as serious a problem as we are often led to believe?; how seriously do supranational reform proposals tend to underestimate cross-national differences? to what degree is ""activation policy"" merely rhetorical?; to what extent do employment-office staff reformulate and redefine policies ""on the ground"" to accommodate specific case-by-case realities?;Specific criteria for entitlement (such as disability) and such central issues as ""gendered"" assumptions, access to benefit programmes and the involvement of trade unions are examined in a variety of contexts. As an authoritative assessment of the current state of social-security reform - its critical issues, its direction, and its potential impacts - this book should prove to be of value to all professionals and officials concerned with social programmes at any government level.