A New Politics for the Social Investment Perspective

Jane Jenson

in The Politics of the New Welfare State

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199645244
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745119 | DOI:
A New Politics for the Social Investment Perspective

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The last decade of the 20th century was marked by significant innovation in social policy, involving a move away from both the Keynesian welfare state and the standard neo-liberalism of the 1980s. The label of the ‘social investment perspective’ captures this congeries of ideas about the objectives, areas of intervention and instruments. The development of the perspective reflects the pre-eminence of ministries of finance and the extension of their instruments directly into the broad social policy domain. Two examples drawn from widely differing welfare regimes illustrate this point; in Britain and Sweden ministries of finance built on their authority acquired during the neoliberal decades to promote social investment. These actors puzzled through the design of tax-based and income-contingent policy instruments that partially replaced longstanding ones such as unemployment insurance and family allowances. They often learned from international organisations that were promoting particular objectives and instruments.

Keywords: social investment; welfare reform; social learning; Britain; Sweden

Chapter.  10592 words. 

Subjects: Political Economy

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