Computerizing the welfare state: An international comparison of computerization in social security

Adler, Michael and Henman, Paul (2005) Computerizing the welfare state: An international comparison of computerization in social security. Information, Communication & Society, 8 3: 315-342. doi:10.1080/13691180500259137

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Author Adler, Michael
Henman, Paul
Title Computerizing the welfare state: An international comparison of computerization in social security
Journal name Information, Communication & Society   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1369-118X
1468-4462
Publication date 2005
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/13691180500259137
Volume 8
Issue 3
Start page 315
End page 342
Total pages 28
Editor B. Wellman
B.Loader
W. Dutton
Place of publication London
Publisher Routledge
Collection year 2005
Language eng
Subject C1
370602 Sociology and Social Studies of Science and Technology
750799 International relations not elsewhere classified
Abstract Although computer technology is central to the operation of the modern welfare state, there has been little analysis of its role or of the factors shaping the way in which it is used. Using data generated by expert informants from 13 OECD countries, this paper provides an indicative comparison of the aims of computerization in national social security systems over a 15-year period from 1985 to 2000. The paper seeks to identify and explain patterns in the data and outlines and examines four hypotheses. Building on social constructivist accounts of technology, the first three hypotheses attribute variations in the aims of computerization to different welfare state regimes, forms of capitalism, and structures of public administration. The fourth hypothesis, which plays down the importance of social factors, assumes that computerization is adopted as a means of improving operational efficiency and generating expenditure savings. The findings suggest that, in all 13 countries, computerization was adopted in the expectation that it would lead to increased productivity and higher standards of performance, thus providing most support for the fourth hypothesis. However, variations between countries suggest that the sociopolitical values associated with different welfare state regimes have also had some effect in shaping the ways in which computer technology has been used in national social security systems.
Keyword computerization
social security
welfare regimes
forms of capitalism
public administration regimes
social shaping of technology
Q-Index Code C1

 
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Created: Wed, 15 Aug 2007, 07:47:26 EST