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Getting People into Work: What (if Anything) Can Justify Mandatory Activation of Welfare Recipients?

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  • Anders Molander
  • Gaute Torsvik

Abstract

So-called activation policies aiming at bringing jobless people into work have been a central component of welfare reforms across OECD countries during the last decades. Such policies combine restrictive and enabling programs, but their characteristic feature is that also enabling programs are mandatory, and non-compliers are sanctioned. There are four main arguments that can be used to defend mandatory activation of benefit recipients. We label them efficiency, sustainability, paternalism, and justice. Each argument is analyzed in turn and according to a strict scheme. First we clarify which standards it invokes. Thereafter we evaluate each argument according to its own standards Finally we introduce competing normative concerns that have to be taken into account. In the conclusion we discuss possible constellations of arguments that make up the normative space for activation policies.

Suggested Citation

  • Anders Molander & Gaute Torsvik, 2013. "Getting People into Work: What (if Anything) Can Justify Mandatory Activation of Welfare Recipients?," CESifo Working Paper Series 4317, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4317
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Roberto Iacono, 2017. "Minimum income schemes in Europe: is there a trade-off with activation policies?," IZA Journal of European Labor Studies, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 6(1), pages 1-15, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    work-welfare; social transfers; labour productivity; screening;

    JEL classification:

    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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