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Activation Policies in Germany: From Status Protection to Basic Income Support

In: Bringing the Jobless into Work?


  • W. Eichhorst

    (Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA))

  • M. Grienberger-Zingerle

    (The Bavarian Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs)

  • R. Konle-Seidl

    (Institute of Employment Research (IAB))


Although Germany has a long-standing reputation as a passive welfare state with elaborate schemes of status-protecting income replacement through social insurance in case of unemployment and a full-blown system of active labour market policies, all benefit systems had formal elements of activation and work requirement – but they had not been enforced systematically. In recent years, however, reforms of active and passive labour market policy were implemented in Germany in order to create a more activating labour market and social policy regime through awakening dormant activation principles. Changing the system of unemployment insurance benefits and basic income support as well as the repertoire of active labour market policy instruments and making benefit receipt more conditional upon job search and acceptance of job offers was a major issue on the political agenda. The reform of the benefit system also involved a major overhaul of the governance of labour market policy and has far-reaching implications for the logic of the German welfare state. All these reforms generated considerable public attention and interest from foreign observers. Yet, it remains to be seen to what extent activation is really implemented in practice and if the desired economic and societal objectives of activation could be achieved through the reforms adopted.

Suggested Citation

  • W. Eichhorst & M. Grienberger-Zingerle & R. Konle-Seidl, 2008. "Activation Policies in Germany: From Status Protection to Basic Income Support," Springer Books, in: Werner Eichhorst & Otto Kaufmann & Regina Konle-Seidl (ed.), Bringing the Jobless into Work?, pages 17-67, Springer.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:sprchp:978-3-540-77435-8_2
    DOI: 10.1007/978-3-540-77435-8_2

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Konle-Seidl, Regina, 2005. "Arbeitsvermittlung zwischen Zentralisierung, Kommunalisierung und Privatisierung," Wirtschaftsdienst – Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftspolitik (1949 - 2007), ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, vol. 85(9), pages 575-581.
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    5. Konle-Seidl, Regina & Lang, Kristina, 2006. "Von der Reduzierung zur Mobilisierung des Arbeitskräftepotenzials : Ansätze zur Integration von inaktiven und arbeitslosen Sozialleistungsbeziehern im internationalen Vergleich," IAB-Forschungsbericht 200615, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
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    10. Wolfgang Streeck, 2001. "High Equality, Low Activity: The Contribution of the Social Welfare System to the Stability of the German Collective Bargaining Regime," EUI-RSCAS Working Papers 6, European University Institute (EUI), Robert Schuman Centre of Advanced Studies (RSCAS).
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    More about this item


    Labour Market; Unemployment Benefit; Social Assistance; Unemployment Insurance; Labour Market Policy;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J68 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Public Policy


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