Handbook of European Social Policy
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Handbook of European Social Policy

Edited by Patricia Kennett and Noemi Lendvai-Bainton

This Handbook will comprise of 29 original pieces from key contributors to the field of European social policy. It is intended to capture the ‘state of the art’ in European social policy and to generate and contribute to debates on the the future of European social policy in the 21st Century. It will be a comprehensive and authoritative resource for research and teaching covering themes and policy areas including social exclusion, pensions, education, children and family, as well as mobility and migration, multiculturalism, and climate change.
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Chapter 11: Continental welfare states in transition: the incomplete social investment turn

Anton Hemerijck

Abstract

This chapter provides an overview of cumulative sequential policy shifts towards a social investment approach in five continental European welfare regimes: Germany, France, Austria, the Netherlands and Belgium. It traces changes in passive and active labour market policies, and childhood education and care and family policy, including parental leave provision. For most of the 1980s and 1990s, continental welfare states held on to employment-related social insurance provision, and insider-biased labour market regulation, thereby constraining employment opportunities and capacitating supports for women, youngsters and the low skilled. Since the late 1990s, however, social investment policy innovation gradually gained currency on the European mainland. After tracing the complex ways in which continental male-breadwinner social contracts have been redrafted in a rather uneven social investment direction, the conclusion tries to answer the question of whether the continental social investment change will carry the day in the austerity-biased aftermath of the Eurocrisis.

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