A Welfare State for Whom? the Impact of Social Investment Reforms on Income and Activation in the Netherlands

Wednesday, July 8, 2015
S07 (13 rue de l'Université)
Menno Soentken , Political Science, VU-University Amsterdam
Franca van Hooren , VU University of Amsterdam
Deborah Rice , Department of Social Sciences, University Oldenburg
There is an ongoing debate about the impact of social investment policies on the income and opportunities of new social risk groups (NSR) in society. This paper engages with this debate through an in-depth analysis of the position of two NSR groups, early-school leavers and single parents, in the Netherlands. We apply a multi-method approach by looking for each risk group at macro level policy changes, income simulations and activation strategies of case workers at the local level. We find that policy changes have benefited the activity rates of both NSR groups. At the same time, however, looking at the income development it seems that there is a growing divergence in income between those who manage to find employment and those who remain work-poor, pointing to the importance of finding work in the Dutch welfare state. Yet, the Dutch welfare state facilitates work-poor groups to (re)-enter the labour market by providing social investment activation trajectories at the municipal level. Recent budget cuts brings this social investment approach however in jeopardy.
  • Draft Dutch chapter, June 2015.docx (123.0 kB)