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Roads and barriers towards social investments: comparing labour market and family policy reforms in Europe and East Asia

Fleckenstein, Timo ORCID: 0000-0002-0154-7644 and Lee, Soohyun Christine (2019) Roads and barriers towards social investments: comparing labour market and family policy reforms in Europe and East Asia. Policy and Society. ISSN 1449-4035

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Identification Number: 10.1080/14494035.2019.1688617


Across the OECD world, social investment policies are on the rise, which Hemerijck describes as a ‘quiet paradigm revolution’. Whilst Nordic countries are typically considered the pioneers in social investment policies, we observe that latecomer countries of not only Europe but also East Asia have made considerable efforts to catch-up with Northern European frontrunners. The rise of social investment policies, especially the expansion of family policy presents an important dimension of the recent transformation of advanced welfare capitalism, which despite the prominence of retrenchment cannot be reduced to welfare state regress. However, we observe great cross-national variation in the speed and scope of family policy expansion. Unlike family policy, labour market policy did not experience a similar social investment turn, but is instead rather characterised by retrenchment with declining efforts to improve the employability of the unemployed and labour market outsiders. In this article, we examine the ‘uneven’ social investment turn in advanced welfare capitalism and argue that family and labour market policies, and their very different outcomes, are underpinned by very different political dynamics, rather than by ‘a politics of social investment’. Not only comparing family and labour market policy but also comparing across countries within each policy domain, we analyse the roads and barriers towards greater social investments.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2019 The Authors
Divisions: Social Policy
Subjects: H Social Sciences
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Date Deposited: 07 Jan 2020 12:15
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2024 20:03

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