This article investigates how processes of welfare reform are reflective of different policy styles in the UK and the US. It seeks to assess the extent to which the British and US welfare reform trajectories post-2010 reflected conventional wisdoms regarding the distinctive characteristics of the US and UK policy styles. In particular, it examines whether the traditional vision of a sharp contrast between a rigid, adversarial and conflict-driven style in the US versus a flexible, consensus-driven policy style in the UK is still useful for characterising recent reform trajectories in both countries. The empirical analysis shows that the traditional opposition between a highly politicised, rigid and rule-bound regulatory style in the US versus a flexible, Whitehall-dominated regulatory process with little room for parliamentary scrutiny and legal challenges in the UK remains broadly accurate. In the UK, the Conservative-led Coalition Governments post-2010 could ignore resistance to cumulative, essentially punitive welfare reform changes in the context of hardening public attitudes towards welfare recipients by adopting a package of regulations with very little parliamentary scrutiny and limited judicial review. In the US, administrative waivers, whereby a federal administrative agency waives statutory requirements, have become major policy instruments to try and implement policy change, but the use of sub-regulatory guidance has become open to political and legal challenge.
|Number of pages||28|
|Journal||Journal of Social Security Law|
|Publication status||Published - 11 Nov 2020|
Bibliographical noteThis is a pre-copyedited, author-produced version of an article accepted for publication in Journal of Social Security Law following peer review. The definitive published version is available online on Westlaw UK.
- Comparative law
- Law reform
- social welfare
- social policy
- United States