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The Consolidation of a Semi-Formal Welfare Regime in Turkey

Toprakkiran, Nihan (2017) The Consolidation of a Semi-Formal Welfare Regime in Turkey. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Welfare reform in middle income countries, where formal institutions conventionally have an exclusionary character and informal institutions are central to social welfare, has been marked by a drastic rise of means-tested social assistance schemes. This dissertation analyses, with an empirical focus on Turkey, the potential of these schemes to expand social rights by creating new formal entitlements for previously excluded groups. The number and the scope of social assistance schemes in Turkey have shown a remarkable increase, especially after the 2001 economic crisis, accompanied by significant institutionalisation. Yet, we argue that whilst social assistance has grown distinctively and become an integral part of the emerging welfare regime, certain characteristics of the previous regime were ultimately reproduced within new institutions due to the content of current schemes and the institutional structure of implementation. These include the association of mainstream welfare institutions with social insurance, the ambiguous role of the state towards the excluded parts of the society, the reliance on family relations and informal employment, and the prevalence of paternalist or clientelist motivations. Consequently, the potential of social assistance to extend formalised rights to the entire population was undermined, and the outcome has been the consolidation of a semi-formal welfare regime. To substantiate this argument, the dissertation develops a historical institutionalist framework and examines the elements of institutional change and continuity as well as the processes of change. Our three empirical chapters then focus on the development of legal, organisational, ideational and political bases of social assistance; trends in policy outcomes from the perspectives of decommodification, commodification, defamilialisation and declientelisation; and the functioning of social assistance through semi-autonomous foundations at the local level. Empirically, we build our argument on a comprehensive evidence base including a wide range of policy documents and qualitative interviews. Theoretically, we discuss the implications of our findings for the literatures on welfare regimes and institutionalism, stressing the importance of implementation structures, the co-existence of institutional change and continuity, and the suggestion of a semi-formal regime type.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > Politics (York)
Depositing User: Ms Nihan Toprakkiran
Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2017 15:54
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2017 15:54
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/18264

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