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Transformation of the Welfare StateThe Silent Surrender of Public Responsibility$
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Neil Gilbert

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780195140743

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2004

DOI: 10.1093/0195140745.001.0001

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Universal to Selective

Universal to Selective

(p.135) 5 Universal to Selective
Transformation of the Welfare State

Neil Gilbert (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

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

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