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Public and private welfare activity in the United Kingdom, 1979 to 1999

Smithies, Rachel (2005) Public and private welfare activity in the United Kingdom, 1979 to 1999. CASEpaper, CASE/93. Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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Identification Number: CASE/93


This paper analyses the shifting balance between public sector and private sector welfare provision in the United Kingdom over the past two decades. Five sectors – education, health, personal social services, housing, and income maintenance and social security – are examined over three time points, 1979/80, 1995/96, and 1999/2000. Burchardt’s (1997) typology is used to classify welfare activities according to who funds them, who provides them, and who decides on the provider and/or amount of service. It is found that shifts in the composition of welfare activity have been relatively small and gradual: around half of all welfare activity, dropping from 52 percent to 49 percent, is entirely public; around a quarter, rising from 24 percent to 29 percent, is entirely private; and the remainder involves a mixture of both sectors. Within the latter group, there was a notable increase over time in the contracting-out of public services, which rose from 6 percent to 10 percent of all welfare activity.

Item Type: Monograph (Discussion Paper)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2005 Rachel Smithies
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Sets: Collections > Economists Online
Research centres and groups > Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion (CASE)
Date Deposited: 01 Jul 2008 12:20
Last Modified: 22 Jul 2014 08:45

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