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Social investment: A guiding principle for welfare state adjustment after the crisis?

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  • Thomas Leoni

    () (Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO))

Abstract

Abstract The European welfare states have undergone a significant amount of change over the last decades. In light of the unresolved tensions resulting from changed macroeconomic conditions, the emergence of new social risks as well as from the consequences of the Great Recession and its aftershocks, more adjustments are needed. The present paper investigates the current outlook on welfare state change, retracing its socio-economic drivers and the salient steps that were undertaken to reform welfare states in the last decades. Since the outbreak of the crisis, calls to adopt a social investment perspective on welfare state reform intensified, both in the academic field and at the EU policy-level. Ample space is therefore devoted to the discussion of this perspective, its conceptual basis, and implementation. For a number of reasons, social investment seems the most appropriate approach to frame the objectives that contemporary welfare states have to pursue and to devise a consistent set of policies. The objections which have been moved against the social investment perspective have however to be taken seriously. Moreover, current developments indicate diverging trends across EU Member States, with lack of progress in those countries which are most in need of a social investment strategy. To become an effective policy paradigm, the social investment perspective thus needs a stronger anchoring within the EU architecture and more co-ordinated commitment from Member States.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Leoni, 2016. "Social investment: A guiding principle for welfare state adjustment after the crisis?," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 43(4), pages 831-858, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:empiri:v:43:y:2016:i:4:d:10.1007_s10663-016-9348-0
    DOI: 10.1007/s10663-016-9348-0
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Michael Böheim & Harald Oberhofer, 2016. "Special Issue: Challenges for Europe 2050: Selected papers of the EUROFRAME Conference 2015 and the WWWforEurope Project," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 43(4), pages 657-660, November.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Welfare state; Social investment; New social risks;

    JEL classification:

    • H5 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies
    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty

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