Session A2: Poverty reduction, social investment and redistribution

Session organisers: Natascha Van Mechelen (Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp) & Franca Van Hooren (University of Amsterdam)





In response to the substantial economic, social, demographic and cultural change that has unfolded in Europe over the past thirty years, countries have changed their systems of social protection. As income replacement policies have been curtailed, activation and active labor market policies and measures to help reconcile work and family life have expanded significantly, though in different degrees in different countries. Moreover, within countries, not all social groups have benefited equally from social investment policies due to the inherent fragmentation of social protection systems. This session will look at the evolution of social policy at the level of individual households. It draws mainly on the results of a research project funded by the Dutch Institute GAK. The scope extends to a broad range of social risks (unemployment, disability, lone parenthood, low education,…) and a wide set of policy fields (social security, social assistance, taxation, social services, leave schemes,…). The focus is on five rich, highly open, small, and developed democracies (Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands and Sweden).  We will also draw attention to the social effectiveness of the shift of policy emphasis from social protection to social promotion in terms of social inclusion, especially in the field of work and income.