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Activation as a Socio-Economic and Legal Concept: Laboratorium the Netherlands

Chapter

As a famous expression by Johan Cruijff — European soccer player of the century and Dutch icon — goes, “each con has its pro.” In the case of welfare for the Netherlands, the con was what was called ‘The Dutch disease.’ The pro was that the disease prompted the Dutch government to engage in creative new employment policies and, more relevant for this book, an early switch from rather passive modes to what came to be known as activation policies. As a result, the Netherlands have achieved a forerunner position amongst continental European countries as ‘activating-welfare-state’ in activation policy as well as in the legal conceptualisation of activation.

This chapter is organised as follows. In the next paragraph the general principles and aims of activation will be discussed as well as the legal notion and conceptualization of activation, including the legal framework of activation. The third paragraph goes into the design of the benefit regimes for unemployed, disabled and welfare recipients and deals with changes in benefits, benefit conditionality and eligibility requirements. Paragraph 4 deals with the change in governance and the actual implementation of activation. As the content and organisation of the activation policies of the unemployed and disabled is delegated to the UWV and for those on welfare to the municipalities respectively, we will report on the developments in design and implementation for municipalities and UWV separately. To highlight the organization of activation by the UWV agency for unemployed and disabled we focus on one element, being the relationship between reintegration by tender and by personal budget. For the municipalities, we present the case of Work First and some info on a case study from three northern municipalities. Municipalities regard their Work First strategy as most successful in prevention of benefit and return to regular work. This part is based on a recent benchmark research using 49 municipal Work First projects (Sol et al. 2007). In this research project some very powerful success determinants in terms of design and organisation of activation could be determined. The legal perspective of implementation will be reflected by issues of applying “sanctioning law” and the emerging approaches of “activating contract law”. In order to draw near an assessment outcomes of activation are highlighted (paragraph 5), followed by concluding remarks on activation in law in policy.

Keywords

Labour Market Activation Policy Social Assistance Unemployment Insurance Employment Service 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Hugo Sinzheimer InstituteUniversity of AmsterdamNetherlands
  2. 2.German Federal (Social) Insurance AuthorityBonn
  3. 3.The Hanze University GroningenNetherlands
  4. 4.Hanze University of Applied Sciences in GroningenThe Netherlands

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