Procedures, Fairness and Efficiency

  • Albert Weale
Part of the Studies in Social Policy book series


Let us suppose that we have a government whose institutional arrangements are in accord with the principles we have laid out. It secures the minimal autonomy for persons to pursue their projects by preventing the occurrence of poverty amonst citizens, both when they are in work and when they are not. It secures equality of educational opportunity to each member of a new generation by ensuring that each receives an education that satisfies some minimum standards of intellectual and social competence. Above the two minima of income and education the government promotes social welfare, with an appropriate degree of equality, by suitably adjusting rates in the tax-transfer system and by specific provision for some commodities, like medical care and legal advice, to ensure that they are more equally distributed than the ability to pay for them. Moreover the government provides these benefits as of right, thus giving beneficiaries the power to control administrative action. Granted that all these conditions have been fulfilled, can we say that the government is operating with a set of rules or principles that completely determine a fair allocation of resources?


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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    This section and the next draw upon, and modify, Albert Weale, ‘Procedural Fairness and Rationing the Social Services’ in Noel Timms (ed.). Social Welfare: Why and How? (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1980) pp. 233–57.Google Scholar
  2. The model of the sort of social welfare agency presupposed in the text is of the bureaucratic sort, described for example in Harold L. Wilensky and Charles N. Lebeaux, Industrial Society and Social Welfare (New York: Free Press, 1965) ch. 10.Google Scholar
  3. 2.
    See Jonathan Bradshaw, The Family Fund (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1980). A similar arrangement, with a government body allocating funds to a charitable body, was initiated in Saskatchewan in 1920, when municipalities allocated monies to the Anti-TB League for the care of those suffering from tuberculosis.Google Scholar
  4. See Malcolm G. Taylor, Health Insurance and Canadian Public Policy (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1978) p. 73.Google Scholar
  5. 3.
    For a description of these practices see Anthony S. Hall, The Point of Entry (London: Allen & Unwin, 1974).Google Scholar
  6. 4.
    E. James and N. Timms, ‘Charging for Local Social Services’, Public Administration, XL (1962) pp. 407–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 5.
    For a further discussion of this equity condition, see Albert Weale, Equality and Social Policy (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1978) pp. 19–29 and the references there cited.Google Scholar
  8. 6.
    N. Lewis, ‘Council House Allocation: Problems of Discretion and Control’, Public Administration, LIV (1976) pp. 147–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 7.
    Compare Brian Barry, Political Argument (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1965) pp. 102–3,Google Scholar
  10. and J. R. Lucas, The Principles of Politics (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1966) pp. 106–12, 132.Google Scholar
  11. 8.
    See Hall, The Point of Entry, pp. 17–19; R. A. Parker, ‘Social Administration and Scarcity: The Problem of Rationing’, Social Work, XXIV 2 (1967) pp. 9–14,Google Scholar
  12. reprinted in Eric Butterworth and Robert Holman, Social Welfare in Modern Britain (Glasgow: Fontana, 1975) pp. 204–12;Google Scholar
  13. A. M. Rees, ‘Access to the Personal Health and Welfare Services’, Social and Economic Administration, VI 1 (1972) pp. 34–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 9.
    Alan Maynard, Experiment With Choice in Education (London: IEA, 1975) p. 28.Google Scholar
  15. 10.
    J. F. Childress, ‘Who Shall Live When Not All Can Live?’ in R. M. Veatch and R. Branson, Ethics and Health Policy (Cambridge, Mass.: Ballinger, 1976) pp. 205–10.Google Scholar
  16. 11.
    Compare B. Schaffer, The Administrative Factor (London: Frank Cass, 1973) p. 287.Google Scholar
  17. 12.
    See J. A. Roth, Timetables (New York: Bobbs-Merrill, 1963).Google Scholar
  18. 13.
    It is easy, however, to overestimate the deterrent effects of charges. For a discussion see Ken Judge and James Matthews, Charging for Social Care (London: Allen & Unwin, 1980).Google Scholar
  19. 14.
    Schaffer, The Administrative Factor, p. 294.Google Scholar
  20. 15.
    H. B. Acton, The Morals of Markets (London: Longman, 1971) pp. 70–1.Google Scholar
  21. 16.
    See Alan Williams and Robert Anderson, Efficiency in the Social Services (Oxford: Blackwell, 1975).Google Scholar
  22. 17.
    Bleddyn Davies and Martin Knapp, Old People’s Home and the Production of Welfare (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1981) pp. 7, 181.Google Scholar
  23. 18.
    For a good example see Lowden Wingo and Alan Evans, Public Economics and the Quality of Life (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1977).Google Scholar
  24. 19.
    Compare Judge and Matthews, Charging for Social Care, pp. 52–63.Google Scholar
  25. 20.
    Compare Mike Reddin, ‘Universality Versus Selectivity’, Political Quarterly, XL 1 (1969) pp. 12–22. See also his useful report to the National Economic and Social Council of the Irish government, published in National Economic and Social Council, Universality and Selectivity: Strategies in Social Policy, Report No. 36 (Dublin: Stationary Office, n.d. probably 1977).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 21.
    See Bleddyn Davies, Universality, Selectivity and Effectiveness in Social Policy (London: Heinemann, 1978) pp. 218–21.Google Scholar
  27. 22.
    Burton Weisbrod, ‘Collective Action and the Distribution of Income: A Conceptual Approach’ in The Analysis and Evaluation of Public Expenditures: The PPB System’, a compendium of papers submitted to the Joint Economic Committee, Washington, DC: Congress of the United States, vol. 1, reprinted in Reprint Series, 34, Institute for Research on Poverty, University of Wisconsin, pp. 177–97, from which references are taken.Google Scholar
  28. 23.
    Compare Weisbrod, ‘Collective Action and the Distribution of Income’.Google Scholar
  29. 24.
    As I note in the final chapter, it is a striking feature of some ‘consociational’ democracies that there is no national system of education.Google Scholar
  30. 25.
    Davies, Universality, Selectivity and Effectiveness in Social Policy, chs 4 and 5. See also the evidence discussed in Joel F. Handler and Ellen J. Hollingsworth, The ‘Deserving Poor’: A Study of Welfare Administration (Chicago: Markham, 1971) ch. 7.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Albert Weale 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Albert Weale
    • 1
  1. 1.Social Policy Research UnitUniversity of YorkUK

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