Workfare Schemes as a Tool For Preventing the Further Impoverishment of the Rural Poor

Open access

Abstract

This article examines workfare schemes in rural Hungary and their contribution to relieving rural poverty. It does so on the basis of an analysis of European Union statistics and a series of semi-structured interviews which were conducted in 2013-2015 as part of a larger project investigating the contemporary state of rural Hungary. The paper comprises four sections: following a short description of the methodology, regional disparities and deprivation in rural areas are introduced with the help of a typology on deprivation and Eurostat data, thus providing evidence for European comparison. Following this, the main findings of our extensive qualitative research into workfare policies in rural Hungary are introduced and discussed on the basis of related legislation4. The article finds that workfare schemes in the rural sector are unique to Central and Eastern Europe, and are especially favoured in Hungary; it also discovers that economists are correct in assessing that said workfare schemes create few new jobs. Nevertheless, they are ‘better than nothing’, and have become embedded in rural society, where they are appreciated by beneficiaries and local officials alike. They necessarily make a paternalistic distinction between the deserving and undeserving poor, and the more commercially-oriented schemes raise issues of market distortion.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Asztalos Morell I. 2014. Workfare with a human face? Innovative utilizations of public work in rural municipalities in Hungary. Metszetek 3(4). Available at: http://metszetek.unideb.hu/files/201404_01_asztalos_morell_ildiko.pdf.

  • Blanchard O. & Wolfers J. 2000. The role of shocks and institutions in the rise of European unemployment: the aggregate evidence. The Economic Journal 110 (March) pp. 1-33. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1468-0297.00518.

  • Blažek J. & Netrdová P. 2011. Regional unemployment impacts of the global financial crisis in the new member states of the EU in Central and Eastern Europe. European Urban and Regional Studies 19(1) pp. 42-61. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0969776411428650.

  • Brodkin E. Z. & Flemming L. 2013. Changing Boundaries: The Policies of Workfare in the U.S. and Europe. Poverty and Public Policy 5(1) pp. 37-47. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pop4.14.

  • Card D. Kluve J & Weber A. 2010. Active Labour Market Policy Evaluations: a Meta-Analysis. The Economic Journal 120 F452-F477. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0297.2010.02387.x.

  • Commander S & Köllő J. 2008. The changing demand for skills: Evidence from the transition. Economics of Transition 16(2) pp. 199-221. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0351.2008.00303.x.

  • Connolly R. 2012. The Determinants of the Economic Crisis in Post-Socialist Europe. Europe-Asia Studies 64(1) pp. 35-67. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09668136.2012.635474.

  • Coutts K. & Gudgin G. 2015. The Macroeconomic Impact of Liberal Economic Policies in the UK Cambridge: Centre For Business Research Judge Business School University of Cambridge.

  • Cseres-Gergely Zs. & Molnár Gy. 2014. Közmunka segélyezés elsődleges és másodlagos munkaerőpiac (Workfare assistance primary and secondary labour markets). Avaliable at: http://www.tarki.hu/adatbank-h/kutjel/pdf/b331.pdf.

  • Csoba J. & Nagy Z.É. 2011. A magyarországi képzési bértámogatási és közfoglalkoztatási programok hatásvizsgálata [An examination of the effects of Hungary’s training wage-support and public works programmes]. In: K. Fazekas & G. Kézdi (eds.) Munkaerő-piaci Tükör 2011 [Labour market mirror 2011] Budapest MTA KTI OFA. Available at: http://econ.core.hu/file/download/mt_2011_hu/egyben.pdf.

  • European Commission 2015. Country Report Hungary 2015: European Commission. SWD 36 final/2. Brussels. Available at: http://ec.europa.eu/europe2020/pdf/csr2015/cr2015_hungary_eu.pdf.

  • Handler J.F. 2004. Social Citizenship and Workfare in the United States and Western Europe: The Paradox of Inclusion Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/cbo9780511522338.

  • Koltai L. 2015. A közfoglalkoztatást szervezők és a közfoglalkoztatottak értékei [The values of the organisers and beneficiaries of public works schemes]. In: K. Fazekas & J. Varga (eds.) Munkaerőpiaci tükör 2014 [Labour market mirror 2014]. Budapest MTA Közgazdaság- és Regionális Tudományi Kutatóközpont Közgazdaságtudományi Intézet pp. 100-110.

  • Kovai C. 2015. Önellátó függőség [Self-supporting dependence]. Közgazdaság- és Regionális Tudományi Kutatóközpont Regionális Kutatások Intézete. Manuscript.

  • Köllő J. Scharle Á. 2011. A közcélú foglalkoztatás kibővülésének hatása a tartós munkanélküliségre [The effect on long-term unemployment of the expansion of employment for communal goals]. In: K. Fazekas & Kézdi G. (eds.) Munkaerőpiaci Tükör 2011 [Labour market mirror 2011]. Budapest MTA KTI OFA. Available at: http://econ.core.hu/file/download/mt_2011_hu/egyben.pdf.

  • Maddison A. 2006. The World Economy Volumes 1 & 2 Paris: OECD Development Centre.

  • OECD 2014. OECD Economic Surveys Hungary. OECD Publishing. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/eco_surveys-hun-2014-en.

  • Myant M. Drahokoupil J. 2013. The Political Economy of Crisis Management in East – Central European Countries. Europe-Asia Studies 65(3) pp. 383-410. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09668136.2013.779460.

  • Nagy E. Timár J. Nagy G. & Velkey G. 2015. The everyday practices of the reproduction of peripherality and marginality in Hungary. In: T. Lang S. Henn K. Erlich & W. Sgibnev (eds.) New Geographies of Central and Eastern Europe Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan pp. 135-155.

  • Peck J. Tickell A. 2002. Neoliberalizing Space. Antipode 34(3) pp. 380-404. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-8330.00247.

  • Schwarcz Gy. 2014. Közfoglalkoztatás agrártermelésés és társadalmi inklúzió (Public works agricultural production and social inclusion) in Schiller K. & Tóth-Krizsa F. eds. Mwomboko. Köszöntő kötet Sárkány Mihály 70.születésnapjára [Mwomboko. A volume in recognition of Mihály Sárkány’s seventieth birthday]. Budapest Makat – ELTE BTK Néprajzi Intézet pp. 80−98.

  • Szikra D. 2014. Democracy and welfare in hard times: The social policy of the Orbán Government in Hungary between 2010 and 2014. Journal of European Social Policy 24(5) pp. 486-500. Available at: http://esp.sagepub.com/content/early/2014/09/10/0958928714545446 Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0958928714545446.

  • Smętkowski M. 2013. Regional Disparities in Central and Eastern European Countries: Trends Drivers and Prospects. Europe-Asia Studies 65(8) pp. 1529-1554. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09668136.2013.833038.

  • ‘Social Europe Current challenges and the way forward’ Annual Report of the Social Protection Committee (2013) http://EUEMPL_The_face_of_social_europe_V”_accessible.pdf.

  • Standing G. 2011. The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class London: Bloomsbury Academic.

  • Steger M.B. Roy R.K. 2010. Neoliberalism: a Very Short Introduction Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Swain N. 2011. A Post-Socialist Capitalism. Europe-Asia Studies 63(9) pp. 1671-1695. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09668136.2011.611653.

  • Váradi M. Kovács K. & Koós B. 2013. Az etnikus és nem etnikus szegénység mérséklését szolgáló szakpolitikai beavatkozások tapasztalatai vidéki térségekben [The experience of specialist interventions aimed at mitigating ethnic and nonethnic poverty] Zárótanulmány [Final Report]. Budapest MTA Közgazdaság- és Regionális Tudományi Kutatóközpont.

  • Vida A. Vidra Zs. 2015. „Ez is segély csak máshogy hívják” Helyi szegénypolitikák: segélyezési gyakorlatok és közmunka [“I too am poor but it is called something else.” Local poverty policies: poverty assistance practices and workfare]. In: T. Virág (ed.) Törésvonalak. Szegénység és etnicitás vidéki terekben [Fault lines poverty and ethnicity in rural areas] Budapest Argumentum pp. 69-90.

Search
Journal information
Impact Factor

IMPACT FACTOR 2018: 0.391
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 0.560

CiteScore 2018: 0.33

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.129
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.206

Cited By
Metrics
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 261 172 10
PDF Downloads 180 139 10