Active labour market policy and social investment: a changing relationship

Giuliano Bonoli

in Towards A Social Investment Welfare State?

Published by Policy Press

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9781847429247
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447305613 | DOI:
Active labour market policy and social investment: a changing relationship

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This chapter examines the different types of ALMPs that have been in use in Europe since the 1950s from the point of view of the social investment perspective. It argues that ALMPs is too broad a category to be used without further specification, and develops a typology of four different types of ALMPs: incentive reinforcement, employment assistance, occupation and human capital investment. These are discussed and examined through ALMP expenditure profiles and policy trajectories in selected countries. The chapter shows that the orientation of ALMP changes over time, and follows the overall economic and labour market context. It identifies three periods: the 1950s and 1960s, when labour shortage prompted countries to develop ALMP systems geared toward retraining jobless people; from the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s, when ALMP tended to become alternatives to market employment; and the mid-1990s to the late 2000s, when the main orientation of policy was activation, i.e. a mix of negative and positive incentives for jobless people to enter mostly low-skill employment in the service sector. The chapter concludes that social-investment-oriented programmes have a stronger representation in the earliest phase, while the later phase is more ambivalent in relation to this perspective.

Keywords: labour market policy; activation; incentive reinforcements; employment assistance; human capital investments; social investment

Chapter.  9013 words.  Illustrated.

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