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Glass half empty or glass half full? The outcomes of social investment and policy complementarity in changing EU welfare states

Labour&welfare Lunch seminar
21 June 2017, h. 12.30-14.00

Speaker: Stefano Ronchi (University of Cologne)
Discussant: Fabio Bulfone (European University Institute)

SPS Seminar Room (Room 215, II Floor,  Passione side)
Dipartimento di Scienze sociali e politiche
Via Conservatorio 7, Milano

Abstract
The economic crisis has cast a shadow on the future of the European Social Model. In order to give it new momentum the European Commission has endorsed a "social investment strategy", which seeks to reconcile the social and economic goals of EU welfare states at the crisis stress test. Member States are called to invest in supply-side social policies, with the aim of enhancing citizens' chances within the labour market rather than solely protecting them once out of work. Today’s EU is however extremely heterogeneous in terms of established welfare institutions and social fabrics: not all Member States provide a favourable ground for social investment. Austerity makes things even harder, further constraining the fiscal space available for welfare recalibration. The road to social investment wished by the Commission is in fact steeper than it seems: even when financially viable at all, social investment-oriented policies could reap different outcomes in different national contexts and policy mixes. My doctoral project – a monograph entitled "Which roads to social investment? The European Social Model in the time of the crisis" – aims to assess the extent to which EU welfare states are in fact taking different roads to welfare recalibration, a fully-fledged turn to social investment being just the best-case scenario. Both country-level policy efforts and micro-level outcomes are taken into account. Through multilevel modelling based on EU-SILC data (longitudinal databases 2004-2013) and selected policy indicators, this work-in-progress chapter seeks to assess: (1) whether budgetary efforts put on social investment-oriented policies are in fact connected to the wished economic and social outcomes, (2) whether this depends on the given policy mix found in different countries, and (3) whether the effect of social investment is observable both between countries (do more social investment-oriented welfare states perform better?) and over time (does increasing social investment within a country lead to improved outcomes?).


I Labour & Welfare Lunch seminar nascono da un'iniziativa di un gruppo di assegnisti del Dipartimento di Scienze sociali e politiche per offrire a giovani ricercatori che si occupano di tematiche legate al mercato del lavoro, alle politiche sociali e di welfare, e alle relazioni industriali uno spazio di discussione e di scambio in cui presentare i propri lavori.

16 giugno 2017
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