Unequal welfare, the present and future of social rights and benefits

10 Dec

foto_portadaGuillem López-Casasnovas

In El bienestar desigual (The Unequal Welfare), I analyze the deplorable state in which our welfare system nowadays finds itself. The title is not a pun, but an acknowledgement of the reality of a discontented citizenry, accustomed to expect more and more social protection.

The economic crisis brought about a certain degree of returning to the past. The lack of income growth and the consequent decrease in tax revenues, caused the customary levels of services with their new features that were taken for granted, to become financially unsustainable. Previously, social spending had been growing even above revenues, the recession at least slowed down its growth.

The outrage caused by sharing the costs of the crisis, the growing inequality of its incipient departure and perception that little or nothing has been done to immunize the economy against another future pandemic, have focused citizen’s hate towards social spending cuts. Consequently, political circles and citizens protest against austerity without assessing what has been achieved and without questioning how it has been achieved, whether the same or less may be better and even more reasonable when faced with potential waste; all of these factors erode financial sustainability and nurture professional corporations who want to be able to decide as self-employed and be charged as employees. Continue reading

Angus Deaton: the Nobel laureate concerned about health inequalities

22 Oct

Sense títolAnna García-Altés, @annagaal, Head of the Catalan Health System Observatory

Last week, on Monday, we found out that the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics to Angus Deaton a 69 years old Scottish laureate. 

Dr. Deaton, qualified in mathematics, did his PhD at Cambridge University, but has developed his academic career at Princeton University. The committee granted him the award for his work in consumption analysis, poverty and welfare and their applications in microeconomics, macroeconomics and development economics, which has influenced both the politics (and policy-makers) and the scientific community.

deaton A

One of his main achievements has been the development of a system used to estimate the demand for various goods, which is currently the standard tool for measuring the effects of the economic policy, in order to build price indices and to compare the welfare levels of different countries and different timeframes. He also undertook various studies linking consumption and income whilst his most recent work is assessing welfare and poverty mainly -but not exclusively- in the developing countries. In addition to his research subjects, Dr. Deaton’s work is also remarkable for the breadth of methodological approaches used, from theoretical models to the use of econometric methods, mainly household surveys (which is one of his areas of expertise); his knowledge of the data quality commonly available and his careful construction of accurate measurement results. Continue reading