Article

Welfare States’ Social Investment Strategies and the Emergence of Dutch Experiments on a Minimum Income Guarantee

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Abstract

The focus in welfare state support in the Netherlands has been shifted from workfare and activation policies to social investment strategies. The discourse on basic income and the related municipal experiments highlights this shift. We address the inspiration found in basic income and behavioural economic and motivational psychological theoretical insights for the design of the experiments and for new avenues of minimum income protection and providing participation opportunities for the disadvantaged. The emerging new paradigm also implies a shift in the cultural values and principles on which welfare state policies are implicitly founded. This means that in these endeavours particular social values are put more upfront, such as personal autonomy (capacitating people by providing opportunities and therewith ‘free choice’) and trust (activating people by putting trust in their self-management capacities) which in day-to-day policy practice means more tailor-made, demand-oriented integrated mediation and coaching while rewarding people instead of penalising them.

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... In conjunction with this newfound attention, pilot projects have been conducted in various developed democracies, including Finland (De Wispelaere et al., 2018) and the United States (Baker et al., 2020). The debate surrounding UBI has also featured prominently in the Netherlands: after an initial wave of attention in the early 1980s (Groot and van der Veen, 2000), a second discussion erupted in the period 2014-2016 (see Bregman, 2014), culminating in a number of experiments with unconditional social assistance (Groot et al., 2019;van der Veen, 2019). ...
... The method is designed specifically to combine the analysis of frames and actors, by connecting actors based on how strongly they agree or disagree across various arguments. It allows us to measure substantive positions for individual participants, and cluster participants based on the similarity of Groot et al., 2019). Twitter is also a particularly political medium, with many politicians attending and contributing to discussions. ...
... In response to the attention for UBI and the call for experimenting with such policy, a dozen Dutch municipalities initiated experiments with unconditional social assistance. It seems the public enthusiasm for UBI came at the right time: the decentralization of social assistance benefits from the national to the municipal level came with financial struggles, and some municipal councils doubted the effectiveness of activating incentives (Groot et al., 2019). While these experiments were "inspired" by the UBI discussion (p. ...
Article
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Universal Basic Income (UBI) found its way back to media and policy agendas, presented as an alternative to the social investment policies omnipresent in Europe. In spite of the apparent appeal, however, UBI faces a discursive and political stalemate that seems hard to overcome. In an attempt to understand this tension, we explore the discursive coalitions surrounding UBI in a debate on Dutch Twitter. We use discourse network analysis to (a) cluster discussants endorsing similar positions and (b) see which political elites endorse these positions. We find that the known schism between the liberal and egalitarian interpretations of UBI is driven by ambivalence towards its redistributive implications. Moreover, we observe a turn towards social investment frames amongst UBI advocates, who centrally argue that UBI is activating and deregulating social security. This change in framing, however, seems to have little visible impact on elite coalition formation. Green-left elites remain overrepresented amongst proponents, while liberal and conservatives are opposed, and the socialist party remains divided on the issue. Thus, while the implementation of a ‘full’ UBI seems blocked by redistributive concerns, the social investment turn may be the political compromise that explains the popular appeal and political success of UBI inspired experiments.
... This insight is based on the evidence that scarcity and stress due to poverty reduce people's cognitive resources (Mani et al. 2013). If fulfilling conditions for social assistance take up a large part of people's already strained cognitive resources, there is little room for important and cognitively challenging tasks such as retraining for another job, maintaining a social network or actively looking for paid work (Groot et al. 2019). ...
... Third, psychological motivation theory suggests that extrinsic stimuli can crowd out intrinsic motivation (Frey and Jegen 2001). According to this theory, intrinsic motivation can be enhanced by giving people a choice over an activity, rather than having a small set of predetermined alternatives which are employed as means of control (Groot et al. 2019). ...
... Under the Netherlands' decentralized model, the municipalities were given large degrees of freedom to implement the Act. Most importantly, while benefit levels are nationally determined by indexing payments to minimum wages, municipalities have the power to decide which participation requirements are required and how they should be enforced (Groot et al. 2019). There was large variation in the municipalities' orientation. ...
... In 2015, the Dutch national government passed a law allowing municipalities to vary some social assistance regulations in order to test policy effectiveness. The city council of the 10th largest city in the country, Nijmegen, decided to do so and included political and social trust as outcome (Betkó, 2018;Betkó et al., 2019;Groot et al., 2019). In a randomized control trial setting, two alternatives for the standard control-and-sanction-focused regulations were introduced. ...
... This regime is a last resort for people without an income or other means under condition that recipients try to find paid employment. The last few decades, the Dutch welfare system moved from a hybrid corporatist/social-democratic model towards a liberal model, whereby policy reforms were less based on collective solidarity, but on instituting a selective model involving privatization, individual responsibility and conditionality (Delsen, 2016), based on workfare and 'stick and carrot'-approaches (Groot et al., 2019). The current system of social assistance has a large number of obligations for recipients as well as fines for those who do not comply. ...
... The discussion on the topic started with the call of a political party which wanted to replace the Participation Act with a local basic income (Ranshuijsen & Westerveld, 2015) though this aim got quickly replaced by a more unconditional form of social assistance, due to demands by the Ministry as well as the local political reality (Betkó, 2018). In the literature, the Nijmegen social assistance experiment, as well as similar experiments in other Dutch cities, is seen as part of a global wave of universal basic income experiments (Delsen, 2019;De Wispelaere & Yemtsov, 2019;Groot et al., 2019;McFarland, 2017). Details on the treatments follow below, where we discuss expected effects. ...
Article
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While there is a substantive literature on the link between welfare states and individuals’ trust, little is known about the micro-linkage of the conditionality of welfare as a driver of trust. This study presents a unique randomized social experiment investigating this link. Recipients of the regular Dutch social assistance policy are compared to recipients of two alternative schemes inspired by the basic income and based on a more trusting and unconditional approach, testing the main reciprocity argument in the literature: a trusting government will harvest trust from welfare recipients in return. Particularly trust in local government – the level at which the experiment was implemented – increases among recipients of the alternative treatments. Subsequently, we innovatively theorize and test rigorously which mediating mechanisms might explain this increase. Policy evaluation, social integration, and psychological well-being are studied in this respect. Of these, the only underlying mechanism proven to mediate the treatment effect in local political trust, is citizens’ satisfaction with policy.
... Research shows that (financial) scarcity and stress due to poverty reduce people's cognitive resources (Mani et al., 2013). If financial scarcity and fulfilling social assistance obligations take up a large part of people's cognitive resources, there is little room for important and cognitively challenging tasks, such as retraining for another job, maintaining the social network or actively looking for paid work (Groot et al., 2019). ...
... Reciprocity means that individuals reward good treatment or the receipt of trust (an investment in social relationships) by, for example, making an extra effort (positive reciprocity) while doing the opposite if they are treated badly or treated on the basis of mistrust (negative reciprocity) (Fehr and Schmidt, 2003). Findings from experimental economy also show that, in exchange for the trust they receive, people are extra motivated and do their best for their task, thus rewarding those who trust them (Groot et al., 2019). So, trust is believed to lead to feelings of positive reciprocity and therefore to sustained commitment and increased productivity (Bohnet et al., 2001). ...
... The third insight comes from psychological motivation theory, suggesting that extrinsic stimuli can crowd out intrinsic motivation (Frey and Jegen, 2001). Intrinsic motivation can be enhanced by offering an activity as a choice rather than a means of control (Groot et al., 2019). Self-determination theory (Deci and Ryan, 1985) states that intrinsically motivated people demonstrate greater effectiveness and persistence in their behavior and improved wellbeing. ...
Book
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This Liber Amicorum for Wim van Oorschot is published at the occasion of his retirement as Professor of Social Policy at the Centre for Sociological Research, KU Leuven (Belgium). It is a collection of chapters written by his former and current students and colleagues. The different chapters cover a broad array of societally relevant topics but are all -each in their own unique way- related to Wim van Oorschot’s academic oeuvre. The first part of the book reflects on Wim’s remarkable career and his contributions to the social policy discipline. In the second part, different types of social policies, as well as their causes and consequences are analysed. The third part focuses on popular attitudes towards such social policies. Taken together, the book demonstrates the impressive width and depth of Wim’s academic work, which will continue to inspire many researchers in the years to come.
... Nevertheless, for various reasons, a UBI has never actually been implemented as a radical alternative to the Dutch welfare state (Vanderborght, 2004). Most recently, some municipalities have initiated what are termed 'trust experiments', which relieve social assistance recipients from all work-related duties (Groot, Muffels, & Verlaat, 2019). Because these municipal experiments are unconditional, as a UBI would be, they are often also called 'basic income experiments', even though they are restricted to the recipients of meanstested social assistance (van der Veen, 2019; Widerquist, 2018). ...
... Inspired by the revival of the UBI concept and as a reaction to the strictness of the Tegenprestatie, a number of Dutch cities started to use the possibilities offered by the Participation Act to experiment with policy instruments doing the exact opposite; that is, freeing social assistance recipients from work-related duties. These municipalities implemented so-called 'trust experiments', with the explicit aim to study their effects on recipients' labour market participation, health and wellbeing (Groot, Muffels, & Verlaat, 2019;van der Veen, 2019;Widerquist, 2018). The main idea behind these experiments is that trusting people is a much stronger stimulus to (re)integrate welfare recipients (and citizens more generally) into the broader society than the enforcement of reciprocal work duties. ...
... The main idea behind these experiments is that trusting people is a much stronger stimulus to (re)integrate welfare recipients (and citizens more generally) into the broader society than the enforcement of reciprocal work duties. Although these municipal experiments are restricted to the recipients of means-tested social assistance, it is argued that they are the closest real-world approximation of a basic income scheme in the Netherlands, because they grant fully unconditional benefits to able-bodied people, irrespective of their work willingness (Groot et al., 2019;van der Veen, 2019). 4 Further, a trust experiment was recently initiated in the city of Tilburg, where we carried out our indepth interviews. ...
Article
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The article focuses on one of the core but controversial features of a universal basic income (UBI): its unconditionality. Using qualitative in-depth interviews collected in the Dutch municipality of Tilburg in 2018–2019, we examine the arguments underlying popular opinions about a UBI and work conditionality. The analysis suggests that these arguments can be interpreted from two theoretical perspectives. On the one hand, respondents make frequent use of deservingness criteria referring to the characteristics of welfare recipients, such as their need and work willingness. On the other hand, they justify their opinions using arguments related to the characteristics of welfare schemes, such as their administrative and financial feasibility. Our findings offer important insights concerning political actors who support (or oppose) the real-world implementation of a UBI.
... As in other similar programmes (Castro Baker et al., 2020;Groot et al., 2019;Kangas et al., 2020;Yoo et al., 2019), the B-MINCOME pilot also altered the relationship between the social fabric and public administrations. The evaluation of the community participation policy, for example, highlighted the importance of the bonds created between the participants and the social workers involved in the pilot. ...
Article
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Between 2017 and 2019, Barcelona was one of the first European cities to implement a basic income experiment, the B-MINCOME pilot, aimed at reducing poverty and social exclusion in a low-income area of the city. A new cash grant was designed along with a package of active policies. Four modalities of participation were then established depending on two criteria: whether attending these policies was mandatory or not, and whether participants’ additional income altered the amount of the grant or was instead net added on top. The context which initially moulded the pilot is firstly explained. Then, the cash schema and the active policies are described followed by an explanation of its experimental design. The main results at individual, community and institutional levels formerly released in the official reports are now integrated and jointly addressed. Finally, conclusions discuss some issues raised by the pilot’s results in light of the findings gathered in other similar basic income experiments.
... The platform is also particularly relevant to study the debate surrounding UBI policy in the Netherlands: Dutch Twitter uniquely hosted multiple viral discussions of UBI in the period 2014-2016. The online attention led political elites to engage with UBIespecially on the municipal leveland facilitated the setup of experiments with unconditional social assistance (for an extensive discussion see Groot et al., 2019). Moreover, the range of arguments discussed on Twitter is likely to be broad. ...
Article
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Universal Basic Income (UBI) reached political agendas as a proposal to radically reform welfare systems, followed by scholarly interest in its public legitimacy. While surveys find UBI support to be mostly redistribution-driven, the discussion in science and media suggests a more nuanced understanding. To comprehensively grasp the public response to UBI policy, this article explores the controversies surrounding UBI policy through a content analysis of Dutch tweets. In addition to identifying established controversies, our analysis points to two avenues for the study of UBI legitimacy. First, a multidimensional measure of UBI support should include redistributive, conditionality, and efficiency aspects. Second, dissatisfaction with targeted activation policy and ‘post-productivist’ attitudes should receive greater attention as drivers of UBI support. Overall, we find the pressure to reform welfare is more than the promise of a ‘free lunch’: it is anchored in fundamental critiques of economic and welfare institutions.
... While benefit levels are nationally 'set in stone' by indexing payments to minimum wages (Groot et al., 2019: Francesco Laruffa, Michael McGann and Mary P. Murphy 282), municipalities retain the power to determine participation requirements. Hence while the Participation Act enshrined stronger participation obligations, each municipality was responsible for determining what these requirements would be and how strictly they would be enforced (Groot et al., 2019). Many municipalities pursued a workfarist orientation based on strict monitoring and sanctions. ...
Article
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We revise Atkinson’s concept of a ‘participation income’ (PI), repositioning it as a form of green conditional basic income that is anchored in a capabilities-oriented eco-social policy framework. This framework combines the capability approach with an ‘ethics of care’ to re-shape the focus of social policy on individuals’ capability to ‘take care of the world’, thus shifting the emphasis from economic production to social reproduction and environmental reparation. In developing this proposal, we seek to address key questions about the feasibility of implementing PI schemes: including their administrative complexity and the criticism that a PI constitutes either an arbitrary and confusing, or invasive and stigmatising, form of basic income. To address these concerns, we argue for an enabling approach to incentivising participation whereby participation pathways are co-created with citizens on the basis of opportunities they recognise as meaningful rather than enforced through strict monitoring and sanctions.
... 86 See cpb (2016). Policy experiments in the Netherlands and elsewhere have sought to measure the effectiveness of interventions; see for example Knoef and Van Ours (2016) and Groot et al. (2019). Koning (2011) argues that it remains difficult to measure and stabilize the factors determining effectiveness. ...
Chapter
Full-text available
Good work is crucial for our well-being but is under pressure from the application of new technologies, the use of flexible employment contracts and the intensification of work. In this book we have argued that achieving better work – good work for everyone who can and wants to work – is a crucial mission for policymakers, employers and labour organizations. In this final chapter we advance recommendations for how the government and other stakeholders can promote better work for more people.
... 86 See cpb (2016). Policy experiments in the Netherlands and elsewhere have sought to measure the effectiveness of interventions; see for example Knoef and Van Ours (2016) and Groot et al. (2019). Koning (2011) argues that it remains difficult to measure and stabilize the factors determining effectiveness. ...
Chapter
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This chapter focuses on part-time work as well as other ingredients necessary to improve control in life including paid leave, good childcare, care for the elderly and workers’ ability to determine their own working hours. How are new technogies, flexible contracts and the intensification of work affecting people's own control in life?
... 86 See cpb (2016). Policy experiments in the Netherlands and elsewhere have sought to measure the effectiveness of interventions; see for example Knoef and Van Ours (2016) and Groot et al. (2019). Koning (2011) argues that it remains difficult to measure and stabilize the factors determining effectiveness. ...
Chapter
Full-text available
Despite successive Dutch governments emphasizing “jobs, jobs, jobs”, thousands of people who want to work have no jobs at all, never mind good jobs. Are new technologies, flexible contracts and the intensification of work helping or hindering vulnerable groups to stay in work - in good work in particular? This chaper seeks to answer these questions while analysing what is already being done to provide good work for all. Is the changing labour market opening new opportunities? We address the automation, flexibilization and intensification of work and discuss the need for active labour market policies.
... 86 See cpb (2016). Policy experiments in the Netherlands and elsewhere have sought to measure the effectiveness of interventions; see for example Knoef and Van Ours (2016) and Groot et al. (2019). Koning (2011) argues that it remains difficult to measure and stabilize the factors determining effectiveness. ...
Chapter
Full-text available
Compared to their counterparts in most European countries, Dutch workers enjoy more control over their work. Yet burnout is on the rise. Almost half of all workers report they they lack sufficient autonomy. Are more people losing control over their work, or does this problem only affect specific groups concealed below the surface of the overall averages? This chaper explores these questions and examines how the automation, flexibilization and intensification of labour may affect people’s control over work.
... 86 See cpb (2016). Policy experiments in the Netherlands and elsewhere have sought to measure the effectiveness of interventions; see for example Knoef and Van Ours (2016) and Groot et al. (2019). Koning (2011) argues that it remains difficult to measure and stabilize the factors determining effectiveness. ...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter draws on the extant scientific literature on the importance of having a job, in particular the importance of having good work. Above all, it seeks to pinpoint what good work entails. We discuss the functions of paid work and the consequences of unemployment for individuals and societies. We then turn to what economists, sociologists and psychologists have written about good work. From this literature we distil three core characteristics of good work, which also align with survey findings about what people in the Netherlands expect from their jobs. We then discuss why good work is so important for individuals, companies, the economy and society.
... 86 See cpb (2016). Policy experiments in the Netherlands and elsewhere have sought to measure the effectiveness of interventions; see for example Knoef and Van Ours (2016) and Groot et al. (2019). Koning (2011) argues that it remains difficult to measure and stabilize the factors determining effectiveness. ...
Book
Full-text available
This is an Open Access book. How can we make work better? It is an important question, one that the Dutch government, employers’ organizations and trade unions have been grappling with. People work to make money. But work also inspires self-respect, shapes our identity and gives us a sense of belonging – especially when the work we do is good. Good work is essential to prosperity in the broadest sense: to the quality of life we experience as individuals, to the economy and to society as a whole. Work in the Netherlands could be better. In Better Work. The automation, flexibilization and intensification of work, the Netherlands Scientific Council for Government Policy offers nine recommendations to help all workers gain more control over their money, their work and their lives – the three basic conditions of good work. While the primary responsibility for good work lies with employers, the government can help through legislation and regulations, supervision and subsidies, and through its tenders.
... Local governments are increasingly using 'trust experiments' that waive job search requirements, compliance obligations and sanctions normally imposed on the unemployed; in favour of unconditional trust in the efforts and initiatives of the unemployed (Groot, Muffels, and Verlaat 2019). Proponents of trust experiments argue that relieving the unemployed of stresses surrounding Benefit Eligibility Requirements (BERs) enhances their ensuing labour market outcomes. ...
Article
Full-text available
Benefit eligibility requirements intend to incentivize the unemployed to find work more quickly. Our results, in an Australian context, suggest that those subjected to benefit eligibility requirements, despite searching at least as hard, take longer to find employment. Moreover, they spend less time in employment in the first twelve months and, if employed, have jobs with lower wages and fewer hours compared to otherwise similar unemployed without benefit eligibility requirements. Our findings are consistent with cognitive theories that emphasize that benefit eligibility requirements externalize job search motivation and increase stress, both of which reduce employment search effectiveness.
... The 2015 Participation Act further tightened welfare legislation but also gave municipalities the opportunity to experiment with social policy innovation for up to two years. Dissatisfied with the new regulations, municipalities quickly capitalized on this experimentation clause, asking their respective local universities to deliver an evidence-based assessment of potential alternatives (see Bollain et al., 2019;Groot et al., 2019 for further details). ...
Article
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Organizations in various countries have launched large-scale randomized field experiments to evaluate the empirical effects of basic income. Surprisingly, scholars have paid only scarce attention to the way basic income experiments are actually run. To address this shortcoming, I present three case studies of basic income experiments in the Netherlands, Spain, and the United States. I ask: Why do experiments’ designs only remotely resemble the ‘paradigmatic’ model of basic income they are in fact interested in – universal, unconditional, individual payments, no means tests, and no work requirements? Interviewed researchers identify three types of constraints that prevent basic income experiments from successfully testing basic income – politics, money, and the law – which I explain through the mechanism of ‘boundary work’ between science and politics. I conclude by cautioning against overstated expectations about the policy impact of both current and future basic income experiments.
... A recent basic income experiment conducted in various municipalities in the Netherlands investigated the impact of work-related requirements, among which was the duty to participate in thin MWPs, on the behaviour of social assistance recipients. This experiment revealed no statistically significant correlation between the changes of moving to the regular labour market between social assistance recipients who were and who were not subjected to these requirements (CBS, 2020; also see Groot et al, 2019). More generally there is no evidence that thin MWPs effectively move social assistance recipients to regular employment (for an overview see Penninsi and Baker Collins, 2017 andRafass, 2017). ...
Article
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This article explores the extent to which mandatory work programmes (MWPs) which oblige social assistance recipients to perform work activities in order to improve or develop basic work skills, can be considered in conformity with the human right to work. Drawing on qualitative research in three municipalities in the Netherlands, the findings indicate that overall, the work in the MWPs infringed the right to work. However, part of the MWP participants were able to realise the right to work to the extent that participation in an MWP enhanced their dignity, self-respect and their opportunities for self-development.
... Dentro del arsenal de políticas públicas se encuentran diferentes modalidades de ingreso ciudadano (Groot, Muffels y Verlaat, 2019). Transferir ingresos a la población es una forma de seguridad social, sin tener que mediar trámites burocráticos, días de espera para demostrar su desempleo, la autorización de un funcionario o visto bueno del presupuesto para programas de emergencia, etc. Una ventaja adicional es que el beneficio lo recibe directamente la persona para cubrir sus necesidades y las de su familia, sin depender de las gestiones de una empresa o de algún tipo de negociación con el patrón. ...
Chapter
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El objetivo del capítulo fue documentar la evolución económica de la recesión de 2020 para abrir la discusión sobre cómo mitigar los efectos de la recesión y, en esa medida, acelerar el ritmo de recuperación. Nuestra investigación contribuye al conocimiento económico, a nivel subnacional, del impacto y evolución de una recesión a gran escala. Adicionalmente, en un amplio anexo se ofrece evidencia territorial para la formulación de políticas públicas locales dirigidas a mitigar los efectos negativos y procurar mantener un cierto nivel de bienestar durante las convulsiones que causan las recesiones.
... So, we see a paradigm shift in social policy in the Netherlands from workfare and activation to a social investment and capacitating approach. This paradigm shift has not yet been implemented in actual policy practices (Hemerijck, 2013(Hemerijck, , 2017 but has led to a sense of urgency especially at the level of municipalities culminating in the launch of local experiments which have similarities with basic income approaches to social policy (Groot, Muffels, & Verlaat, 2019). ...
Article
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This thematic issue aims to shed light on the connections between institutions (and related forms of organisation) and social inclusion and exclusion. In this editorial we briefly introduce the concepts, summarise the various articles and provide some general conclusions.
... So, we see a paradigm shift in social policy in the Netherlands from workfare and activation to a social investment and capacitating approach. This paradigm shift has not yet been implemented in actual policy practices (Hemerijck, 2013(Hemerijck, , 2017 but has led to a sense of urgency especially at the level of municipalities culminating in the launch of local experiments which have similarities with basic income approaches to social policy (Groot, Muffels, & Verlaat, 2019). ...
Article
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This qualitative study aims to explore the valuable functionings—things that people consider to be important—of the older long-term unemployed and their ability to achieve valued outcomes. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 20 long-term unemployed people aged 45 and over. Participants were included through purposeful sampling. The theoretical frameworks of the latent deprivation theory and the capability approach were used to develop an interpretive analysis. Nine valuable functionings were identified: social contact, feeling appreciated, structure, feeling useful, meaningfulness, autonomy, financial resources, paid work, and being active. These valuable functionings were partly accessible through the activities that people performed, varying from physically active and physically passive activities to informal work. The functionings of meaningfulness, autonomy, financial resources, and paid work seemed to be difficult to achieve. We identified three groups. The first consisted of people whose work status changed when they entered the benefit system; for them paid work was still a valuable functioning, and they experienced the most difficulties in achieving valued outcomes. The second group also experienced a change in work status once they started to receive benefits, but those people adapted to their new situation by attributing greater value to other functionings. The third group had no change in work status, e.g., housewives who had applied for a benefit because they were not able to make ends meet after a divorce. This group did not experience a loss of functionings due to unemployment, nor did they try to achieve other functionings. The results of this study indicate a need for a more personalized, tailor-made approach, with an emphasis on an individual’s valued outcomes instead of on rules and obligations.
Article
In the period from 1st October 2017 to 31st December 2019, the Dutch government allowed several municipalities to carry out so-called ‘basic income experiments’, ‘trust’ experiments, or ‘experiments low in regulation’. These experiments focused on giving exemptions on obligations attached to social benefits, allowing people to keep extra earnings on top of their social assistance benefits, and providing more guidance in finding work. In this paper, I critically evaluate the extent to which these experiments have had an effect on social policy in the Netherlands in both the short and long run. For municipalities, the main goal of these experiments was to examine whether an approach focused on trust and intrinsic motivation would lead to increased labour market participation and higher wellbeing. The national government approved the experiments; but in its evaluation, it focused solely on the outflow to work in line with the existing workfare approach. In the short run, the effects of the experiments appeared disappointing for those with the ambition of fundamentally reforming the social security system. However, in the struggle for framing and interpretation, advocates of a different social policy approach obtained success in the long run. Although the Participation Act was not initially amended, the recent coalition agreement of the new Government does propose a change related to the outcomes of the experiment; and in recent party manifestos, there are more far-reaching proposals to change social policy in the direction of a universal basic income.
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Following a group of 2,973 Australian unemployed job seekers over time, we confirm predictions from Self-Determination Theory, Conservation of Resources Theory and Scarcity Theory that the presence of financial hardship during job search adversely affects job search quality and subsequently job search effectiveness (measured one year later). We show the importance in labor market research of controlling for a range of confounding factors including the impact of financial hardship on job search intensity. The implemented controls allow more precise inferences of the effect of financial hardship on job search quality/effectiveness, than so far achieved in this emerging body of literature.
Article
Is a social investment strategy compatible with the provision of an unconditional basic income? Prima facie, these two scenarios look like incongruent policy alternatives. While social investment – an influential policy paradigm at the level of the European Union – aims at promoting public services and maximum labour market participation, basic income is paid in cash and has sometimes been presented as the key component of a post-work future. In this article, we explore this apparent incongruence and show that these two visions for welfare reform are not necessarily incompatible. We argue that they may share a number of substantial points of agreement, and indeed may reinforce one another according to a logic of institutional complementarity. In particular, we claim that a partial basic income (i.e., a modest unconditional income guarantee, whose amount would be insufficient if one lives alone) could enhance or complement the key functions of a social-democratic version of the social investment strategy. By doing so, we conclude that the integration of a basic income into a social investment package could contribute to overcoming criticisms of the social investment agenda. At the same time, it could rescue basic income from the numerous critics who see it as an unrealistic policy proposal.
Chapter
This chapter discusses different aspects related to the decision to conduct UBI experiments. We start by asking to what extent moral and instrumental arguments are used to justify implementing these kinds of experiments and basic income-related policies. Although these two arguments mostly work together when experimenting, the second section of this chapter argues that scientists and politicians in charge of rolling out these experiments or implementing these kinds of policies differ in their respective logic and procedures, and these differences inevitably affect the design, implementation, and evaluation of basic income experiments and related programs. However, the decision to implement a basic income experiment is not solely explained by these different scientific and political decisions. The third section of the chapter addresses the role of the political scenario and the actual political debate in explaining when, how, and in what manner an experiment or a policy is about to be implemented, or on the contrary, why it is rejected. Moreover, the structure, logic, and functioning of the welfare regime model and of existing social policies also frame the discussion around the (in)convenience of implementing a basic income experiment or rolling out a similar in-cash policy. Finally, our last section explores the hypothesis that UBI experiments’ features are more due to political reasons than scientific ones.
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The economic and social debate has been intensifying globally as a result of concerns about the increase in poverty in the world and the progressive separation between rich and poor. There is an urgent need to find ways and alternatives that can be tested and put into practice. This is an exploratory study on the perception of the Portuguese regarding Unconditional Basic Income or Universal Basic Income (UBI). UBI has defenders and opponents, both parties with convincing arguments about its practical applicability, however, conclusions cannot be reached without experience in the field and convincing results. Likewise, the idea should not be abandoned without understanding its real applicability, as its success could be important for the future development of the world. Studies on the UBI are still in their infancy. Therefore, Portugal’s contribution to the enrichment of knowledge within the topics of “the future of work” and “work of the future” and, more specifically, about UBI, is seen as urgent. In this context, we prepared and analysed a survey, having obtained 273 valid responses. The results of the qualitative analysis on which this study focuses allow us to infer that there are still many flaws in the management and leadership of human resources and, among other aspects, that, in general, the respondents would prefer to work even though they might eventually receive a UBI.
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This article provides the findings of a quantitative and qualitative study of participants from the prematurely cancelled Ontario Basic Income Pilot in the Hamilton region. We compare our evidence with those of other large-scale experiments from the high-income countries between 1968 and 2019 to place OBIP’s findings in the context of evidence from randomized control experiments with similar policy conditions to Ontario’s. Our study identified a small decline in labour market participation, but improvements on a variety of quality-of-life measurements. We hypothesize that OBIPs comparatively positive results on general well-being can be attributed to its: i) generous benefit rates relative to social assistance rates; ii) 50 percent take back rate; and iii) unconditionality; iv) broad well-being/welfare design.
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Contemporary models of welfare capitalism have frequently been critiqued about their fit-for-purpose in provisioning for people's basic needs including care, and longer-term ecological sustainability. The Covid-19 pandemic has also exposed the need for better institutions and a new welfare architecture. We argue a post-productivist eco-social state can deliver sustainable well-being and meet basic needs. Arguing Universal Basic Services are an essential building block and prerequisite for a de-commodified welfare state, we focus on examining the form of income support that might best complement UBS. The article develops, from the perspective of feminist arguments and the capabilities approach, a case for Participation Income. This, we argue, can be aligned with targeted policy goals, particularly reward for and redistribution of human and ecological care or reproduction and other forms of socially valued participation. It may also, in the short term, be more administratively practical and politically feasible than universal basic income.
Article
Samenvatting Welke handelings- en interventiestrategieën van gemeenten dragen bij aan perspectief op werk en een verbetering van het welbevinden en vertrouwen van mensen in de bijstand? Zes gemeenten – Groningen, Utrecht, Tilburg, Wageningen, Deventer en Nijmegen – hebben de afgelopen jaren (van 1 oktober 2017 tot 31 december 2019) unieke randomised controlled trials uitgevoerd in de bijstand. De volgende (combinatie van) interventies zijn onderzocht: ontheffing van re-integratieverplichtingen, intensivering van begeleiding en vrijlating van bijverdiensten. Er is zowel gekeken naar uitstroom naar werk als naar baanzoekintensiteit, welbevinden, zelfredzaamheid en sociaal vertrouwen. De uitstroom naar werk is bij alle interventies niet lager dan de huidige aanpak, terwijl de uitstroom naar deeltijdwerk in sommige gemeenten hoger is. Vooral intensivering op maat en vrijlating kan uitstroom naar werk (minimaal in deeltijd) vergroten. Voor wat betreft de effecten op baanzoekintensiteit, zelfredzaamheid, welbevinden en vertrouwen, is het beeld diffuus. We vinden kleine en soms ook positieve effecten, vooral voor zelfredzaamheid en vertrouwen, maar het beeld is niet eenduidig. De kleine aantallen deelnemers in de experimenten maken het lastig statistisch significante effecten te vinden.
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In dit boek vragen bijstandsonderzoekers zich af of hoe rechtvaardig de bijstand ruim vijftig jaar later is. Worden mensen in de bijstand rechtvaardig behandeld? Ervaren bijstandsgerechtigden de bijstand nog steeds als een recht? Hoe ervaren zij de tegenprestatie en de ‘activering’? En hoe kijken uitvoerende klantmanagers hier tegenaan?
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In the Netherlands, many groups are sidelined regarding their labor market opportunities, i.e., youth, low-educated individuals, ethnic minorities, and partially disabled individuals, particularly in times of economic downturn. Due to increased labor market dualization, access to better jobs is reserved only for those who have mastered professional skills. The public support rapidly brings the unemployed back to work but is criticized for its negligible and sometimes even adverse long-term impacts for vulnerable workers. Explanations point to the limited supportive and skills-upgrading services in this general approach along with the unemployed' unrepaired deficit in the desired skills, making these groups continuously prone to nonstandard employment and unemployment. More inclusive efforts might support these vulnerable workers to secure jobs more adequately, which appears to be more topical than ever, e.g., the COVID-19 crisis on unemployment. The Philips Employment Scheme (Philips Werkgelegenheidsplan [WGP] in Dutch) offers vulnerable unemployed workers one-to-two years of work experience with (in)formal training to move participants into jobs externally. Participants are employed, seen from the outside, in regular employment. In contrast, people on public support might remain long-term unemployed and have increased risks of nonstandard employment. The literature teaches us that such programs pay off in the long run only but have little impact on short notice. However, the WGP already proved to be effective on short notice, making it an interesting case for study. This dissertation observed the extent to which this company-based work-experience program better supports low-educated and inadequately-skilled workers to return to the labor market and to build up high levels of employment security in sustainable jobs with proper wage matches over their future careers than public activation programs based on workfare principles that lack these human capital and work-experience investments? Earlier studies on ALMPs limited their observation periods to one-to-five years later. In contrast, the Statistic Netherlands' register data used for this dissertation made it possible to study the long-term impact of the WGP up to ten years later. The long-term effect of the WGP is determined by comparing the labor market outcomes of its former participants (1999-2014) with a comprehensive matched control group, sharing a large number of pre-treatment covariates as participants before the intervention, but public activation entitlement instead. Findings show that WGP participants have 8% more employment security for over ten years than control units. Still, the different studies conducted in this dissertation show substantial variation in the impact of WGP participation among these studied groups. More investment opportunities would improve vulnerable unemployed' chances to regain sustainable employment, as the WGP does with its more tailored approach. Other large companies might start similar tailor-made initiatives to improve the career opportunities of the disadvantaged, particularly in industries and regions that forecast declines in qualified personnel. This dissertation provides an argument for encouraging other employers to take up their responsibilities as well, and to invest in work experience and training for all their employees, but also urges the Dutch government to increase the budget on formal training for the unemployed. Closer collaboration between public authorities and the business sector might forward vulnerable workers' careers, notably from a long-term perspective.
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Nieuwe technologie, de toename van flexibel werk en de intensivering van werk kunnen grote gevolgen hebben voor de kwaliteit van werk. De Wetenschappelijke Raad voor het Regeringsbeleid (WRR) adviseert bedrijven, instellingen, sociale partners en de overheid in te zetten op goed werk voor iedereen die wil en kan werken. Goed werk is essentieel voor de brede welvaart in ons land: voor de economie en voor de sociale samenhang.
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The chapter discusses the history, design and first empirical findings of Dutch local RCT (Randomised Controlled Trial) experiments with participation income which are currently implemented in 11 cities. The emergence of these local experiments can be viewed as reflecting an ongoing shift in Dutch social policy from a classical ‘stick and carrot’ or workfare approach of social welfare, to a social investment and capacitating approach. The empirical analyses discuss the methodology and outcomes on job search, employment chances and work capabilities, and the health and well-being of some 1500 participants using survey and municipal administrative data. We perform LCA (Latent Class Analysis) to provide a profile of the participants of the experiments and estimate (binary logit regression) their exit probabilities into paid work. In the end we formulate some expectations and conclusions about the meaning and effects of these participation income experiments in the Netherlands for people’s employment, health and well-being situation, and their wider implications for social policy, notably with a view to a social investment and capacitating approach.
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It is well documented that it is important to take selection effects into account when analysing social experiments. A Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT) design usually prevents selection bias, but not when participation is voluntary. Despite the abundance of literature on the existence of selection bias, few studies provide in-depth insights on how these selection effects take place in practice, and what causes different groups to be over—or under-represented. Nijmegen is one of a number of Dutch municipalities that conduct an experiment with the social assistance system, loosely inspired by the Universal Basic Income (UBI). Participants receive their allowance with less conditions, and get the opportunity to earn additional income. In this chapter, selection effects are tested, using registry data of participants and all non-participants in the population. In addition, qualitative data are used to interpret the selection effects we find. Several characteristics turned out to increase or decrease participation: education, country of origin, being single, having an exemption of the obligation to work, and part-time work providing additional income. Further, we propose that stress is an important deterrent for people to participate in an experiment like this, even when the experiment is aimed at (among others) stress reduction, like the one in Nijmegen.
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This article will situate public debates about – and experiments in features of – basic income within European countries in the context of welfare state crisis and change. Treating access to basic income security as a policy problem, I argue basic income policy debate highlights the need for multi-level and multifactorial analysis of public governance capacity as a key factor in driving the relationship of basic income with welfare state transformation. Drawing on the cases within this themed section, I attempt to tease out what comparatively are long-run conditions for basic income within state and society, and what are the political and institutional trade-offs at the current juncture. Exploring contributing determinants of governance corrosion and adaptation of public economic security structures under globalisation contributes to deepen our understanding of contemporary patterns of institutional change.
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The study at hand is the result of the Europäische Akademie’s project group ‘European Social Policy’, in which experts coming from different European countries and representing various disciplines – economics, law,, sociology, political science, philosophy – worked for more than two years on the multifarious aspects of the topic, providing a thorough analysis and a series of comprehensive recommendations for policy making. In the light of the recent enlargement of the European Union, the ever contended issue of a European social policy gets of increasingly pressing importance. The differences between member states are widening, the international competition grows within the Union as well as between the EU and its global competitors, the further economic integration restrains the scope of national decision-making. These developments aggravate the tension between the pressures national welfare systems face and the distribution of competences between the national and the supra-national level of governance in matters of social policy. The twofold question arising from this situation is on the one hand how European, and on the other how social European social policy should be in the decades to come.‘Enabling Social Europe’ is an attempt to answer the question in both regards. Firstly, by assessing the role a European policy should play taking into account both the potentialities and limitation of the ‘European social model’ as a normative framework as well as the relations between economic and social policies and the future challenges of the European welfare systems. Secondly, by advocating the paradigm of the ‘enabling welfare state’ as a new (social investment) perspective for social policy aimed at raising the personal autonomy, individual responsibility and social inclusion of people. Based on Sen's capability approach it also holds a plea for a capacitating policy enabling people to manage and balance their life courses in a better way.
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This book seeks to gain a better understanding of the paradoxical relationship between the alleged need of European labour markets to become more flexible and the way in which national policies pursue this aim without jeopardising existing high standards of income and employment security. Special interest is devoted to the way in which countries opt for different policy routes to cope with the aim of balancing flexibility and security goals in their respective labour market and social protection policies. The contributions in this book all try to unveil the particular changes or transitions occurring in the various labour markets, to learn about their medium and longer term effects and the role of institutions and policies to cushion the adverse consequences of these changes. By studying some 'best practices' in Denmark, Canada and Australia they also draw some important lessons about the reasons why national policies might either fail or better cope with the challenges Europe face today.
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Every day, we make decisions on topics ranging from personal investments to schools for our children to the meals we eat to the causes we champion. Unfortunately, we often choose poorly. The reason, the authors explain, is that, being human, we all are susceptible to various biases that can lead us to blunder. Our mistakes make us poorer and less healthy; we often make bad decisions involving education, personal finance, health care, mortgages and credit cards, the family, and even the planet itself. Thaler and Sunstein invite us to enter an alternative world, one that takes our humanness as a given. They show that by knowing how people think, we can design choice environments that make it easier for people to choose what is best for themselves, their families, and their society. Using colorful examples from the most important aspects of life, Thaler and Sunstein demonstrate how thoughtful "choice architecture" can be established to nudge us in beneficial directions without restricting freedom of choice. Nudge offers a unique new take-from neither the left nor the right-on many hot-button issues, for individuals and governments alike. This is one of the most engaging and provocative books to come along in many years. © 2008 by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein. All rights reserved.
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In this chapter we propose to launch a basic income experiment. The limitations of a real life experiment are entirely different from the limitations of economic models. There is a wide gap between what can be concluded from the existing literature concerning labour supply responses to non-labour income or from economic models and the information which is required to assess the economic (un)feasibility of such major reforms of social security as basic income or negative income tax schemes. Based on the extensively discussed New Jersey negative income tax experiments and the lessons drawn for any new experiment to be held in the future, the proposed experiment includes only those groups for which a basic income can be simulated relatively simply and without many costs and from which substantial and - taking the basic income discussion into consideration – relevant behavioural reactions can be expected. The insights obtained from the study of changes in behaviour of experimentals may thus constitute a complementary source of information compared to that obtained from economic models on the viability of basic income.
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The concepts of self-regulation and autonomy are examined within an organizational framework. We begin by retracing the historical origins of the organizational viewpoint in early debates within the field of biology between vitalists and reductionists, from which the construct of self-regulation emerged. We then consider human autonomy as an evolved behavioral, developmental, and experiential phenomenon that operates at both neurobiological and psychological levels and requires very specific supports within higher order social organizations. We contrast autonomy or true self-regulation with controlling regulation (a nonautonomous form of intentional behavior) in phenomenological and functional terms, and we relate the forms of regulation to the developmental processes of intrinsic motivation and internalization. Subsequently, we describe how self-regulation versus control may be characterized by distinct neurobiological underpinnings, and we speculate about some of the adaptive advantages that may underlie the evolution of autonomy. Throughout, we argue that disturbances of autonomy, which have both biological and psychological etiologies, are central to many forms of psychopathology and social alienation.
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Most economic models are based on the self-interest hypothesis that assumes that all people are exclusively motivated by their material self-interest. In recent years experimental economists have gathered overwhelming evidence that systematically refutes the self-interest hypothesis and suggests that many people are strongly motivated by concerns for fairness and reciprocity. Moreover, several theoretical papers have been written showing that the observed phenomena can be explained in a rigorous and tractable manner. These theories in turn induced a new wave of experimental research offering additional exciting insights into the nature of preferences and into the relative performance of competing theories of fairness. The purpose of this paper is to review these recent developments, to point out open questions, and to suggest avenues for future research.
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At least six different Universal Basic Income (UBI) experiments are underway or planned right now in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Finland, and Kenya. Several more countries are considering conducting experiments. Yet, there seems to be more interest simply in having UBI experiments than in exactly what we want to learn from them. Although experiments can produce a lot of relevant data about UBI, they are crucially limited in their ability to enlighten our understanding of the big questions that bear on the discussion of whether to implement UBI as a national or regional policy. And, past experience shows that results of UBI experiments are particularly vulnerable misunderstanding, sensationalism, and spin. This book examines the difficulties of conducting a UBI experiment and reporting the results in ways that successfully improve public understanding of the probable effects of a national UBI. The book makes recommendations how researchers, reporters, citizens, and policymakers can avoid these problems and get the most out of UBI experiments.
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I: Background.- 1. An Introduction.- 2. Conceptualizations of Intrinsic Motivation and Self-Determination.- II: Self-Determination Theory.- 3. Cognitive Evaluation Theory: Perceived Causality and Perceived Competence.- 4. Cognitive Evaluation Theory: Interpersonal Communication and Intrapersonal Regulation.- 5. Toward an Organismic Integration Theory: Motivation and Development.- 6. Causality Orientations Theory: Personality Influences on Motivation.- III: Alternative Approaches.- 7. Operant and Attributional Theories.- 8. Information-Processing Theories.- IV: Applications and Implications.- 9. Education.- 10. Psychotherapy.- 11. Work.- 12. Sports.- References.- Author Index.
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Chapter 1. Basic Income Confronted with Some Popular Ideas of Justice 1. Introduction 2. Self-reliance 3. Reciprocity: not only the truly lazy 4. Basic income and the work ethic Summary and conclusions Chapter 2. Compensatory Justice and Basic Income 1. Introduction 2. The economist's view on compensatory justice 3. The objective approach to compensatory justice 4. The balancing approach to compensatory justice 5. The conditions of compensatory justice: the role of the social security system 5.1. Compensatory justice and conditional social security 5.2. Compensatory justice and basic income 6. Compensatory justice and parasitism Summary and conclusions Appendix Chapter 3. Basic Income, Un(der)employment and Jobs Shortage 1. Introduction 2. Hamminga's thought experiment 3. The Labour Rights Scheme 3.1. Uniform productivity levels 3.2. Non-uniform productivity 4. The equivalent basic income scheme 4.1. Uniform productivity levels 4.2. Non-uniform productivity 5. Welfare policy and economic up- and downturns 6. Parasitism and exploitation 7. (Un)employment rents Summary and conclusions Appendix Chapter 4. Why Launch a Basic Income Experiment? 1. Introduction 2. The limitations of theoretical models and empirical research 3. Basic income versus negative income tax 4. The New Jersey income-maintenance experiment 4.1. The design of the New Jersey experiment4.2. The operations, surveys, and administration 5. Lessons drawn from the New Jersey experiments 6. Design of a new basic income experiment 6.1. Social assistance recipients 6.2. Workers 6.3. Prospective entrepreneurs 6.4. The cost of the experiment 6.5. Effects of a basic income to be researched Summary and conclusions Chapter 5. First Steps towards a Basic Income 1. Introduction 2. The impossibility theorem: A basic income is either too low to be socially acceptable or too high to be economically feasible 3. A partial basic income 4. An alternative route 5. Part-time workers 6. A differential basic income Summary and conclusions Conclusion References Author Index
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The poor often behave in less capable ways, which can further perpetuate poverty. We hypothesize that poverty directly impedes cognitive function and present two studies that test this hypothesis. First, we experimentally induced thoughts about finances and found that this reduces cognitive performance among poor but not in well-off participants. Second, we examined the cognitive function of farmers over the planting cycle. We found that the same farmer shows diminished cognitive performance before harvest, when poor, as compared with after harvest, when rich. This cannot be explained by differences in time available, nutrition, or work effort. Nor can it be explained with stress: Although farmers do show more stress before harvest, that does not account for diminished cognitive performance. Instead, it appears that poverty itself reduces cognitive capacity. We suggest that this is because poverty-related concerns consume mental resources, leaving less for other tasks. These data provide a previously unexamined perspective and help explain a spectrum of behaviors among the poor. We discuss some implications for poverty policy.
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Persistent unemployment is recognised as one of the main mechanisms of social and political exclusion. The Dynamics of Full Employment provides a new and fresh approach to the question of full employment in contemporary society. It offers an internationally comparative, interdisciplinary approach to the dynamics of full employment and views the labour market not only as an economic institution, but as a social one.
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This exceedingly simple idea has a surprisingly diverse pedigree. In the course of the last two centuries, it has been independently thought up under a variety of names-"territorial dividend" and "state bonus," for example, "demogrant" and "citizen's wage," "universal benefit" and "basic income"-in most cases without much success. In the late sixties and early seventies, it enjoyed a sudden popularity in the United States and was even put forward by a presidential candi-date, but it was soon shelved and just about forgotten. In the last two decades, however, it has gradually become the subject of an unprece-dented and fast expanding public discussion throughout the European Union. Some see it as a crucial remedy for many social ills, including unemployment and poverty. Others denounce it as a crazy, economi-cally flawed, ethically objectionable proposal, to be forgotten as soon as possible, to be dumped once and for all into the dustbin of the history of ideas. To shed light on this debate, I start off saying more about what basic income is and what it is not, and about what distinguishes it from existing guaranteed income schemes. On this background, it
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In this paper, we assess spillover effects of Social Assistance (SA) decentralization in the Netherlands, in particular towards (a centrally administered) Disability Insurance scheme (DI). DI enrolment has increased strongly since the decentralization of SA. Many economists and policymakers believe that fiscal decentralization, the decentralization of government expenditures to local governments, enhances public sector efficiency. Vertical externalities – i.e. spillovers between local and central government – may however undo part of this advantage. In this paper, we assess spillover effects of Social Assistance (SA) decentralization in the Netherlands, in particular towards (a centrally administered) Disability Insurance scheme (DI). DI enrolment strongly increased since the decentralization of SA. We find that the sensitivity of local DI enrolment with respect to the stock of local SA recipients has increased over time, given that we control for both observed and unobserved disability risk factors. IV estimates show that, since the decentralization of SA, at least one third of DI inflow was diverted from SA.
Article
The Motivation Crowding Effect suggests that external intervention via monetary incentives or punishments may undermine, and under different identifiable conditions strengthen, intrinsic motivation. As of today, the theoretical possibility of motivation crowding has been the main subject of discussion among economists. This study demonstrates that the effect is also of empirical relevance. There exist a large number of studies, offering empirical evidence in support of the existence of crowding–out and crowding–in. The study is based on circumstantial evidence, laboratory studies by both psychologists and economists, as well as field research by econometric studies. The pieces of evidence presented refer to a wide variety of areas of the economy and society and have been collected for many different countries and periods of time. Crowding effects thus are an empirically relevant phenomenon, which can, in specific cases, even dominate the traditional relative price effect.
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Changing Welfare States is major new examination of the wave of social reform that has swept across Europe over the past two decades. In a comparative fashion, it analyses reform trajectories and political destinations in an era of rapid economic, social, and political restructuring, including the critically important dimension of European integration. The book argues that the overall scope of social reform across the member states of the European Union varies widely. In some cases welfare state change has been accompanied by deep social conflicts, while in other instances unpopular social reforms received broad consent from opposition parties, trade unions and employer organizations. The analysis reveals trajectories of welfare reform in many countries that are more proactive and reconstructive than is often argued in academic research and the media. Alongside welfare retrenchments, there have been deliberate attempts to rebuild social programs and institutions to accommodate policy repertoires to the new economic and social realities of the 21st century in many advanced European welfare states. Welfare state change is work in progress, leading to patchwork mixes of old and new policies and institutions, on the lookout, perhaps, for greater coherence. Unsurprisingly, that search process remains incomplete, resulting from the institutionally bounded and contingent adaptation to new social realities.
The Real Worlds of Welfare Capitalism traces how individuals fare over time in each of the three principal types of welfare state. Through a unique analysis of panel data from Germany, the Netherlands and the US, tracking individuals’ socio-economic fate over fully ten years, Goodin, Headey, Muffels and Dirven explore issues of economic growth and efficiency, of poverty and inequality, of social integration and social autonomy. It is common to talk of the inevitability of tradeoffs between these goals. However, in this book the authors contend that the social democratic welfare regime, represented here by the Netherlands, equals or exceeds the performance of the corporatist German regime and the liberal US regime across all these social and economic objectives. They thus argue that, whatever one’s priorities, the social democratic welfare regime is uniquely well-suited to realizing them.
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Amartya Sen addresses the question why he is disinclined to provide a fixed list of capabilities to go with his general capability approach. Capability assessment can be used for different purposes (varying from poverty evaluation to the assessment of human rights or of human development), and public reasoning and discussion are necessary for selecting relevant capabilities and weighing them against each other in each context. It would be a mistake to build a mausoleum for a “fixed and final” list of capabilities usable for every purpose and unaffected by the progress of understanding of the social role and importance of different capabilities.
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Most contracts, whether between voters and politicians or between house owners and contractors, are incomplete. "More law," it typically is assumed, increases the likelihood of contract performance by increasing the probability of enforcement and/or the cost of breach. This paper studies a contractual relationship where the first mover has to decide whether she wants to enter a contract without knowing whether the second mover will perform. We analyze how contract enforceability affects individual performance for exogenous preferences. Then we apply a dynamic model of preference adaptation and find that economic incentives have a non-monotonic impact on behavior. Individuals perform a contract when enforcement is strong or weak but not with medium enforcement probabilities: Trustworthiness is "crowded in" with weak and "crowded out" with medium enforcement. In a laboratory experiment we test our model's implications and find support for the crowding prediction. Our finding is in line with the recent work on the role of contract enforcement and trust in formerly Communist countries.
Overview of current basic income related experiments
  • K Mcfarland
McFarland, K. (2017) 'Overview of current basic income related experiments', BIEN Network Report, October.
Berghman's social security definition: challenging the goals and values of welfare states
  • R Muffels
Muffels, R. (2014) 'Berghman's social security definition: challenging the goals and values of welfare states', in W. Oorschot, H. Peeter and K. Boos (eds.), Invisible Social Security Revisited. Essays in Honour of Jos Berghman, Tielt: Lannoo Publishers, 109-26.
Scarcity - The True Cost of Not Having Enough
  • S Mullainathan
  • E Shafir
Mullainathan, S. and Shafir, E. (2013) Scarcity -The True Cost of Not Having Enough. London: Penguin Books.
The Welfare State Reader
  • C Pierson
  • F G Castles
  • I K Naumann
Pierson, C., Castles, F.G. and Naumann, I. K. (2014) The Welfare State Reader, Cambridge: Polity Press.
The impact of social investment reforms on income and activation in the Netherlands
  • M Soentken
  • F Van Hooren
  • D Rice
Soentken, M., van Hooren, F. and Rice, D. (2017) 'The impact of social investment reforms on income and activation in the Netherlands', in A. Hemerijck (ed.), The Uses of Social Investment, OUP Oxford, Kindle Edition, 475.