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Abstract

The goal of this paper is to identify critical factors in success/failure of public policies focusing on fighting the spread of COVID-19 pandemic using a sample of three countries from Central and Eastern Europe with different results regarding COVID-19 morbidity and mortality rates, namely the Czech Republic, the Russian Federation, and the Slovak Republic. Based on comprehensive literature review, three independent variables were worked out: the scope/scale of public policy anti-pandemic interventions, the timing of public policy interventions, and the success of public policies in motivating compliance with anti-pandemic measures. Taking into account the similarity of measures introduced by national governments, the results suggest that the timing of public policy responses and success in motivating compliance may be critical factors in containing the pandemic.

Abstract

The European continent faces an apocalyptic pandemic that poses mortal danger to millions of citizens. This paper seeks to address the role played by European public policy in addressing the Covid-19 pandemic. Currently, each Member State across Europe is applying its own measures to deal with the coronavirus; namely, decentralised decision-making that could trigger political tensions among the states. The paper argues that European public policy must change rapidly and fundamentally if these tensions are to be successfully managed; otherwise, such policy might simply cease to exist. Moreover, the known and notorious problem of collective action, information asymmetries, irrationality, negative externalities and the related free-riding phenomenon persistently are distorting the Member States’ combined efforts, resulting in deficient attempts to contain the spread of Covid-19. The paper also argues that the current unprecedented outbreak of this superspreading virus calls for a bigger EU-wide coordinated response. We argue that the Covid-19 pandemic is a good example of an area in which the central EU level holds a comparative advantage over lower levels of government. In addition, the paper offers several substantive insights into ways to improve the public policy response in the ‘war’ against Covid-19.

Abstract

The active ageing policy supports several types of activities, including labour force participation, caregiving, social participation, and physical activity. The paper illustrates the prevalence of supported activities across individual characteristics and four supra-national European regions to assess how these activities are available for specific groups of older people. The analysis draws on wave 6 from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe held in 2015. A set of figures describes the availability of activities sorted by gender, age, health status, and the level of education in 17 European countries divided into four regions, and thus, presents the unavailable descriptive data important for researchers and policymakers. The results most of all show that the majority of the 50+ population engages in vigorous physical activity, whilst labour force participation and caregiving concern about one-third of it, and other activities much less. The findings show the inadequacy of the active ageing as a uniform context-insensitive EU policy and detect its potential for raising inequalities in later life, whilst the theoretical implications are discussed.

Abstract

A democratic government should adhere to firm public administration principles, legal instruments, structures and mechanisms. However, providing these elements is insufficient to guarantee integrated participative service delivery. This article aims to unravel the most important elements required to create a participative governance model that fuses horizontal intra-relationships between public officials and departments and vertical interactions between public and private networks. The research methodology entailed a critical desktop document analysis of books, articles, regulatory policy and strategy documents. Network governance was conceptually and contextually analysed through unobtrusive research methods. It served as a possible analytical model for democratic governance, where citizens take centre stage in participative decision-making. The findings provide both a description and a contextualisation of the themes that emerged from the research. The article highlights that the network governance model could help South Africa move forward from a dated, elitist democracy based on a dependency model, to a participative democracy model, where communities and government work together. The article concludes that South Africa can only realise the National Development Plans (NDPs) 2030 goals (to maximise people's development, strengthen governance networks and enhance state's capacity to provide adequate public services) by drawing on partnerships within a network governance framework.

Abstract

The article addresses the need to identify and quantify the external costs of air pollution on the health of the population, especially children. The subjects of evaluation are the respiratory illnesses acute nasopharyngitis and acute bronchitis, both of which have very high incidence in connection with air pollution. The aim of this paper is to estimate the cost of morbidity and to determine the amount of additional social costs of airway morbidity among children aged 0–15 years in Ostrava city, one of the most polluted cities in Europe, compared to the incidence of these diseases in the whole Czech Republic. Estimation of social costs is based on the Cost-Of-Illness approach, in which the total value is made up of the costs actually incurred in treating illness and in loss of productivity. Using this approach, additional costs related to the treatment of illnesses were calculated at approximately €20 million per year, which represents approximately 0.4% of Ostrava's regional gross domestic product (GDP).

Abstract

The paper focuses on the main features of corporate volunteering in companies from the Sverdlovsk region (Russian Federation), with a population surpassing 4.5 million inhabitants. Corporate volunteering is analyzed in the context of the trend characteristic for the post-Soviet space. The article systematizes approaches to the definition and study of this phenomenon, implemented by researchers from different countries. The main goal of the article is to identify the specific features of corporate volunteering in a large Russian region, considered typical for industrial territories in post-Soviet areas, seen through the social value that local communities attribute to corporate volunteering. The paper is based on the results of a public opinion poll and structured interviews, carried out in the Sverdlovsk region, where there is a concentration of enterprises of “hard” industries. The responses obtained in the poll were further subjected to analysis using statistical methods. The data are supplemented with information collected through the qualitative interviews. Interviewed experts are the top managers of enterprises and the deputy directors for HR, GR, or social issues. The study shows that in Russian industrial cities, where large enterprises are the main employers for most residents, many questions on the implementation of social policy fall under the responsibility of these enterprises, and not of the local government. Researchers argue that corporate volunteering is not widespread in the large Russian regions. It most often develops within the framework of event planning and environmental projects, managed by enterprises in cooperation with social and cultural institutions of local communities and not with the non-profit sector. The traditions of the organization of mass social work formed during the socialist period are still deeply rooted in enterprises, and managers rarely identify volunteering as a new managerial tool, thus being untangled from the global trend of promoting corporate volunteerism as a means of building corporate culture.

Abstract

This paper deals with the principle of subsidiarity in asylum law. It exposes some of the most important ‘push’ factors that have been considered by the European Union (EU) as arguments for the centralisation of asylum law. Through the application of an economic approach, this text examines the need for harmonization of asylum standards to reach the goal established in Article 5 of the Treaty on European Union. An economic methodology is used to investigate the application of the subsidiarity principle by considering some of the most important economic criteria for both centralisation and decentralisation, and by applying the findings to the asylum law. Specifically, this paper considers the Tiebout model, the problem of the ‘race to the bottom’, the reduction of transaction costs, and the importance of the protection of refugee human rights. These theories are commonly used in the cases of a specific issue with a transboundary nature, which produces [negative] international externalities. In addition, they reflect the significance of equal conditions within the EU Member States as well as the role of the EU as a sui generis organisation protecting human rights. It should be noted that this paper does not deal with the basic normative question of whether or not refugees deserve protection, but it aims to expose the advantages and disadvantages of an EU asylum policy. In its conclusion, the paper discusses the advantages of a centralised EU policy that also allows, within certain conditions, some type of competition between the Member States.

Abstract

In this article, we aim to explain international differences in socio-demographic structure of population among people around retirement age. We further test if transition into retirement is an important factor for obesity. Using Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) data, we first document that the Czech Republic has a significant and increasing trend in body mass index (BMI) and obesity (BMI > 29.99) for both men and women aged 50–70 years compared to other countries. Men have much higher level of BMI in comparison to many other European countries, whereas BMI of women is comparable to Estonia and Slovenia. However, we show a little evidence that underlying structure of Czech population with respect to education, occupation, health, age, and so on may explain increasing trend as well as higher level of obesity when compared to other European countries. Furthermore, we show that the transition into retirement is not associated with an increase in BMI. Using fixed effect model, we found that the obesity is directly related to increasing trend in obesity already before entering the retirement.

Abstract

In this article, we aim to explain international differences in socio-demographic structure of population among people around retirement age. We further test if transition into retirement is an important factor for obesity. Using Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) data, we first document that the Czech Republic has a significant and increasing trend in body mass index (BMI) and obesity (BMI > 29.99) for both men and women aged 50–70 years compared to other countries. Men have much higher level of BMI in comparison to many other European countries, whereas BMI of women is comparable to Estonia and Slovenia. However, we show a little evidence that underlying structure of Czech population with respect to education, occupation, health, age, and so on may explain increasing trend as well as higher level of obesity when compared to other European countries. Furthermore, we show that the transition into retirement is not associated with an increase in BMI. Using fixed effect model, we found that the obesity is directly related to increasing trend in obesity already before entering the retirement.