Macquarie University
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The politics of the new welfare state: social tax expenditures and the second tier of Australian welfare

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posted on 2022-03-28, 14:38 authored by Adam Stebbing
"Classifying Australia as a 'targeted' welfare state overlooks the rising significance of social tax expenditures (STEs). As tax provisions that offer selective welfare benefits, STEs are increasingly relevant to Australian welfare because of their large scale, inequity and rapid growth. This thesis incorporates STEs into our understanding of the Australian welfare state by situating them within its institutional framework and explaining their political development. [The thesis explores] the relevance of STEs by analysing two case studies - the tax expenditures for private health insurance and superannuation. Both cases are difficult to understand as 'evidence-based' policies because they are inequitable and expensive... My analysis of the political development of STEs shows how they have emerged as core second-tier institutions through two 'overlapping processes' that coincided with the winding back of the wage-earner model. STEs have grown as both an indirect consequence of developing new wage-earner institutions and a means of meeting new demands for social provision in a policy environment hostile to extending social expenditures." -- abstract.


Table of Contents

Introduction - A targeted welfare state -- ch. 1 - Fiscal welfare and the welfare state -- ch. 2 - Explaining the emergence of the second tier -- Case study I: The private health insurance tax rebate. ch. 3 - Value for public money? -- ch. 4 - The struggle over health insurance -- Case study II: The superannuation tax concessions. ch. 5 - The devil's in the detail -- ch. 6 - 'From little things big things grow' -- ch. 7 - A response to population ageing? -- Conclusion - The dual welfare state -- References.


Bibliography: pages 273-299 Submitted in (partial) fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Sociology, 2011.

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Sociology

Department, Centre or School

Department of Sociology

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Shaun Wilson

Additional Supervisor 1

Michael Fine

Additional Supervisor 2

Benjamin Spies-Butcher


Copyright Adam Stebbing 2011. Copyright disclaimer:






1 online resource (xi, 299 pages, bound) illustrations

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