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, 2006). It can therefore be argued that psychosocial factors are likely to have gained in relative importance for public health, at least in industrialised welfare states. The situation is less clear in developing countries, where a large proportion of the population still works in agriculture and physically demanding factory work, and where issues such as malnutrition, lack of clean water and poor access to healthcare are still salient for substantial parts of the population. It has, however, been argued that psychosocial issues are also of major importance in

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The rapid economic growth of the past few decades has radically transformed India’s labour market, bringing millions of former agricultural workers into manufacturing industries, and, more recently, the expanding service industries, such as call centres and IT companies.

Alongside this employment shift has come a change in health and health problems, as communicable diseases have become less common, while non-communicable diseases, like cardiovascular problems, and mental health issues such as stress, have increased.

This interdisciplinary work connects those two trends to offer an analysis of the impact of working conditions on the health of Indian workers that is unprecedented in scope and depth.

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Exploring new perspectives in Britain and Japan

At the beginning of the twenty-first century, both Britain and Japan are facing similar issues caused by globalisation, slower economic growth, and a rapidly ageing population. Social policy in the two societies, which has developed differently due to the differences in their national resources, socio-economic systems, cultural values and political agendas, is at an interesting turning point.

Comparing social policies:

examines topical issues with up-to-date information;

compares and contrasts selected policy areas between the two societies;

presents original material written by leading scholars in each country.

This original book will be of great interest to academics and students, as well as policy makers and practitioners internationally, who are interested in various fields of social policy in Britain and Japan.

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What do we know?

Child poverty and the well-being of children is an important policy issue throughout the industrialised world. Some 47 million children in ‘rich’ countries live in families so poor that their health and well-being are at risk.

The main themes addressed are:

· the extent and trend of child poverty in industrialised nations;

· outcomes for children - for example, the relationship between childhood experiences and children’s health;

· country studies and emerging issues;

· child and family policies.

All the contributions underline the urgent need for a comprehensive policy to reduce child poverty rates and to improve the well-being of children. Findings are clearly presented and key focus points identified for policy makers to consider.

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, or, in the income maintenance field, on comparisons between insurance-based systems. Before looking at the specific features of these countries, however, the study concentrates on general issues in three chapters. The first of these discusses the central paradox. Industrialised welfare states spend a considerable proportion of their national income on funding elaborate systems of income maintenance and resource transfer, yet poverty has not been eradicated. The role of minimum income schemes as the ultimate safety net is clearly crucial in analysing this problem

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strengths and relevance), new approaches have also appeared as a reaction to social and economic changes for the last few decades. Although they are definitely beyond the scope of Wagner’s article, I think they deserve mentioning (even if in an unpardonably short and sketchy way) because they have already moved research focus and emphasis in policy discourse. After some crystallisation, they may develop into an influential new paradigm in the near future. Recent developments in industrialised welfare states have highlighted that non- business, non

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in ten western countries, London: Sage. O'Connell, P. and Rottman, D. (1992) 'Creating a pay-related welfare state: expansion of social citizen- ship and perpetuation of privilege', in Goldthorpe, J. and Whelan, C. (eds), The development of industrial society in Ireland, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Peel, a. (1992) 'German parties set hurdlefor power shift to EC', Financial Times, 28 November. Pfaller, A. with Gough, I. (1991) The competitiveness of industrialised welfare states: a cross country survey', in Pfaller, A., Gough, I. and Therborn, G. (eds), Can the

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which does not ensure security (Esping-Andersen, 2000, p 142). While acknowledging that Japan does not ‘fit’ one of the three regimes which were based on an analysis of the experience of Western industrialised welfare states (see Goodman and Peng, 1996, for a full discussion of a distinctively Asian welfare regime), Esping-Andersen suggests that Britain has less market regulation than Japan, and Japan has a familialist regime compared with Britain’s non- familialist regime. He includes Japan among the social insurance based welfare regimes and Britain with a mix of

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enormous variation in social policy across the states. With the ongoing devolution of public assistance to the states, codified in the 1996 Personal Responsibility Act, state-to-state variation is increasing. State variation in social policy provides fruitful ground for research. Substantial cross-national comparative research examines policy variation and outcomes across the industrialised welfare states. In contrast, there is relatively little comparative scholarship on social policy variation across the US states. Plotnick observed that “analyses of inter

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