The chapter provides an overview of the debates on social services, a key component of both the service sector and the welfare state, highlighting the different socioeconomic underpinnings of these activities and proposing a number of analytical tools. In the first section, social services are positioned within the contemporary discussion about the service economy, the welfare state, social and territorial cohesion, as well as the post-Keynesian restructuring process. The specificities and key social and economic implications of these activities are stressed. In the second section, the importance of a time- and space-sensitive approach to analysing changes and understanding the great variety of national and regional restructuring trajectories is emphasised, and the notions of welfare ‘regimes’ and ‘models’ are reviewed. In the third section, the main restructuring trends at work since the 1980s and the effects of the 2008 financial crisis are ‘unpacked’, highlighting their key features and socio-economic implications and identifying relevant analytical dimensions. The importance of the ‘vertical’ division of authority within the state and of the ‘horizontal’ division of responsibility among providers is discussed, stressing the need to distinguish among the main ‘functions’ involved in delivering public social services: regulation, funding, coordination, production.
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Stefania Sabatinelli and Michela Semprebon
Public responsibility for social policies in Europe has been extensively ‘re-scaled’ in the last decades, both upwards, from the national state towards the EU, and downwards, towards the local level. In this complex process, ambivalent traits and impacts are emerging: on the one side re-scaling may be associated with more participatory, place-specific and effective processes and programmes; on the other it may entail blame avoidance, opacity and reduction in accountability. Moreover, re-scaling processes are not uniform: they take different forms in different national contexts and – within each context – in different policy fields. This chapter tackles the ambivalences of the varying patterns of change in the vertical division of responsibility and their implications for the delivery of social services. It explores the room for manoeuvre available to local bodies for pursuing quality, efficiency and innovation; the emerging forms of local governance; and the spaces for citizens’ participation and empowerment. All these aspects ultimately affect territorial and social cohesion and equal opportunities for accessing welfare resources in each country. The analysis is based on case studies produced within the COST Action IS1102 SO.S. COHESION – Social services, welfare states and places, referring to three policy fields: early childhood education and care, long-term care, and the social inclusion of migrants and Roma. The chapter is organized in three sections: in the first, the theoretical debate on re-scaling processes is briefly recalled to frame the trajectories observed in European welfare systems; in the second, the possible repercussions of changes in the vertical division of responsibility are discussed, taking into consideration the case studies; in the third, some conclusions are drawn, highlighting critical policy issues.
Daniel Béland and Klaus Petersen
This chapter explores the role of ideas and language in the development of social programmes in Europe and beyond. The first part of the chapter offers a concise and critical overview of the existing literature on ideas and policy change; the second part draws attention on the understudied role of policy language and concepts, which is part of a new, cutting-edge agenda for ideational research. Overall, the chapter points to the impact of historical and transnational processes on policy change and, more specifically, on the development of the ideas and social policy nexus in Europe and elsewhere around the world
Noemi Lendvai-Bainton and Patricia Kennett
Jani Erola and Elina Kilpi-Jakonen
The aim of this volume is to advance the theoretical and empirical case for compensation as a general mechanism influencing intergenerational social inequality. The volume brings together research on different aspects and types of compensation and covers a number of countries representing different kinds of institutional configurations. This chapter introduces the theoretical basis for compensation and discusses how the study of compensation may give further insights into general processes of intergenerational social inequality. The authors contrast compensation with other mechanisms of resource transfer, namely straightforward accumulation and the multiplication of advantages. They then go further into the different types of compensation and illustrate the kinds of cases in which compensatory processes should be at work. They also discuss how institutions are expected to influence compensation. Finally, they summarize the findings of the empirical chapters that follow and evaluate the extent to which the findings give support for a general theory of compensation, and what the implications are for policy and future research.
Chapter 1 (by Greve) sets the scene for the book by examining the various definitions of the concepts of evaluation and best evidence and looks at the different models involved. He then presents an overview of the content of the book, which is divided into three parts: I: What Evaluation Is and Examples of Methods, focusing on the definition of evaluation and the different methods; II: Evaluation and Policy, with a focus on evaluation and policy-making; and Part III: Evaluation of Concrete Social Policy Areas, which looks at the present state of the art within different central welfare policies. The chapter ends with a discussion on the book’s limitations.