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Poverty Relief in a Mixed Economy

Theory of and Evidence for the (Changing) Role of Public and Nonprofit Actors in Coping with Income Poverty

Karin Heitzmann

This study examines, both conceptually and empirically, the welfare mix in the activity field of poverty relief and specific shifts of this mix, i.e. changes towards privatization and marketization. In the first part of the study, the meanings of the concepts ‘welfare mix’, ‘privatization’ and ‘marketization’ are disentangled and the concepts are connected. Based on this conceptual framework, the second part of the study assesses the welfare mix in poverty relief and recent changes thereof empirically. The empirical part focuses on Austria. There, mainly two types of organizational actors, namely public agencies and nonprofits, provide poverty alleviation. Thus, only the roles and contributions of these two types of providers are examined.

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PART B: EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE 107

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Part B: Empirical evidence III. The mixed economy of poverty relief in Austria -- and recent changes thereof This chapter aims to answer the empirical research question guiding this study: In how far does a conceptual framework that organizes and links the concepts ‘welfare mix’, ‘privatization’ and ‘marketization’ help in illus- trating both (i) the characteristics of the current ‘welfare mix’ as well as (ii) recent shifts thereof that qualify as ‘privatization’ and/or ‘marketization’ in an empirical investigation? As discussed in the introduction, Austria has been selected as the geographical focus for this exercise. But given the dominant role of public actors and nonprofits in the provision of pov- erty relief in Austria, only their contributions are considered in this study. Since sketching the welfare mix and changes thereof requires empirical data, the conceptual framework, in addition to guiding the execution of this exercise, is also tested as to its appropriateness in completing the empirical investigation. The framework is particularly apt if it meets sev- eral requirements. For example, it must ensure the possibility to opera- tionalize the concepts elaborated in the theoretical part of this book. Moreover, data needs must be deductible from the indicators chosen for operationalization, and data sources must be available. Section 1 there- fore explains the research approach adopted. Section 2 presents the in- formation collected in order to illustrate the prevalent welfare mix in pov- erty alleviation in Austria. Section 3 proceeds to scrutinize recent changes that may qualify as privatization and/or marketization of...

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