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The Responsiveness of Social Policies in Europe: The Netherlands in Comparative Perspective
 9781447305774

Table of contents :
The responsiveness of social policies in Europe
Contents
List of figures and tables
About the authors
Preface
1. Introduction
Responsive social policies and ‘the Great Recession’
The concept of responsiveness
Preview
2. Responsive policies in contested welfare states?
Introduction
Trust in social policies
Congruence with citizens’ beliefs
Conclusion: developments in support of the welfare state
3. A framework for analysing policy responsiveness
Introduction
Policy change in different shapes and sizes
Background to policy changes: pressure from the environment
The internal background to policy changes
How much responsiveness can a policy endure?
Analytical framework
4. The responsiveness of social assistance policies
Introduction
Classifying social assistance regimes in Europe
The evolution of social assistance policies in the Netherlands
The responsiveness of social assistance policies: a comparative perspective
5. The responsiveness of labour migration policies
Introduction
European trends in labour migration policy
Labour migration policy in the Netherlands
The responsiveness and labour migration policy: a comparative perspective
6. The responsiveness of sheltered work policies
Introduction
European trends and differences in disability policies
European trends and differences in sheltered work
Evolution of sheltered work policies in the Netherlands
The responsiveness of sheltered work policy: a comparative perspective
7. Conclusions: the responsiveness of social policies in three domains
Introduction
A comparison between the three cases
Policy responsiveness at the European level
Explaining the responsiveness of social policy: conclusions
The design of responsive social policy: lessons for resilience
References
Index

Citation preview

The

responsiveness of social policies in Europe Netherlands in comparative perspective The

Menno Fenger, Martijn van der Steen and Lieske van der Torre

The responsiveness of social policies in Europe The Netherlands in comparative perspective Menno Fenger, Martijn van der Steen and Lieske van der Torre

First published in Great Britain in 2013 by Policy Press North America office: University of Bristol Policy Press 6th Floor c/o The University of Chicago Press Howard House 1427 East 60th Street Queen’s Avenue Chicago, IL 60637, USA Clifton t: +1 773 702 7700 Bristol BS8 1SD f: +1 773-702-9756 UK [email protected] t: +44 (0)117 331 5020 www.press.uchicago.edu f: +44 (0)117 331 5367 [email protected] www.policypress.co.uk © Policy Press 2013 British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data A catalog record for this book has been requested ISBN 978 1 44730 576 7 hardcover The right of Menno Fenger, Martijn van der Steen and Lieske van der Torre to be identified as authors of this work has been asserted by them in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved: no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without the prior permission of Policy Press. The statements and opinions contained within this publication are solely those of the authors and not of the University of Bristol or Policy Press. The University of Bristol and Policy Press disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any material published in this publication. Policy Press works to counter discrimination on grounds of gender, race, disability, age and sexuality. Cover design by Policy Press Front cover: image kindly supplied by Nicolas Raymond, www.freestock.ca Printed and bound in Great Britain by CPI Group(UK) Ltd, Croydon, CR0 4YY

Contents List of figures and tables v About the authors vii Preface ix

one Introduction two

Responsive policies in contested welfare states?

three A framework for analysing policy responsiveness

1 9 31

four

The responsiveness of social assistance policies

65

five

The responsiveness of labour migration policies

95

six

The responsiveness of sheltered work policies

135

seven Conclusions: the responsiveness of social policies in three domains

173

References 211 Index 229

iii

List of figures and tables Figures 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 2.10 2.11 3.1 3.2 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5

Development of opinions on the welfare state 10 Trust in social security 13 Trust in civil servants 14 Trust in parliament 15 Support for income equality 21 Support for rivalry 22 Opinions about hard work versus luck 23 Support for government responsibility 24 Support for old age benefits 25 Opinions about government’s role in reducing inequality 26 Opinions about benefit fraud 27 Responsiveness and three logics 61 Analytical model 64 The number of social assistance benefits 73 Policy changes in social assistance policies 76 Social assistance in the media 80 Development of poverty 88 EU-countries’ labour migration policy for low-skilled workers in the period 2007-2011 100 EU-countries’ labour migration policy for high-skilled workers in the period 2007-2011 101 Total number of articles each year related to the AEA 123 Number of newspaper articles about legal labour migration (black line) and illegal labour (grey line) 124 Changes in integration and compensation scores 140 The number of newspaper articles about the SWA 150 Schematic overview of the developments of the SWA in the period 1996–2010 164 The responsiveness triangle of European sheltered work policies 167 Employment rates by disability status 169

Tables 2.1 3.1

Explanations for welfare state support Fertility rates in the European Union

17 43

v

The responsiveness of social policies in Europe 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 7.1 7.2

vi

Policy changes in social assistance policies 75 The articles by theme 81 Citizens’ opinions about social assistance 84 Age groups in social assistance policies 86 Expenditure on social protection (% GDP) 92 Categories of EU countries’ labour migration policies in the period 2007–2011 102 Formal policy changes in the AEA in the period 1995–2010 119 Preferences towards immigration in the Netherlands (European Values Studies, 2008) 120 Socioeconomic facts of the Netherlands 126 An overview of variation in focus and types of employment programmes 139 Scores on the integration policy dimension of the sheltered employment programme 142 Formal changes to the SWA 1995–2009 148 Number of articles per category per year 151 The SWA in the election programmes of the Christian, Social and Liberal Democrats from 1994 to 2010 152 Opinions on the position of disabled people 156 Profile of SWA employees in the period from the end of 2002 to the end of 2009 159 Comparison of the cases in the Netherlands 183 General trends in Europe 187

About the authors Menno Fenger studied public administration and organisational sciences at the Catholic University Nijmegen. He finished his PhD on the implementation of social policies in 2001. From 2000 to 2006 he worked as assistant professor at the Department of Public Administration, Erasmus University Rotterdam. In 2006, he was a visiting scholar at the Centre for European Studies, Harvard University. From 2006 to 2008 he was a senior policy adviser at the Dutch Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment. In 2008, he returned to the Department of Public Administration, Erasmus University. He has published numerous articles and chapters on policy dynamics in the area of social policies. In 2010, he was leading a research project on the legitimacy of social policies for the Dutch Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment. He currently is member of the editorial board of the Journal of International and Comparative Social Policy and co-editor of Social Policy Review. Moreover, he is the overall project manager of the INSPIRES research programme, an EU-FP7 funded research programme about labour market resilience in Europe. Martijn van der Steen joined the Netherlands School for Public Administration (NSOB) in 2002, where he is co-dean and deputy director and director of NSOB’s Think Tank. He studied public administration and history at Erasmus University Rotterdam and was trained as a management consultant at Dutch firm Twijnstra Gudde. His research interests include network management, the use of forecasting and scenarios in policy making and public sector strategy, and the relationship between the media and government. Martijn received a PhD from Tilburg University for a study on the use of futures-narratives in the political debate about ageing. He contributes to many of the NSOB’s research projects with a focus on strategic management, the co-production of public services and the relation between knowledge and policy. He is dean of NSOB’s regulation and compliance programme, the policy analysis programme and of several leadership development programmes. He has published in international academic journals, in national academic journals, has published various books and is a columnist for the monthly magazine of the civil service in the Netherlands. Lieske van der Torre studied public administration and art and culture studies at Erasmus University Rotterdam. She holds Master’s degrees in cultural economics and cultural entrepreneurship (2006) and in policy and politics (2008). Currently, Lieske is working as a vii

The responsiveness of social policies in Europe

PhD student at Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Department of Public Administration. Her PhD research focuses on the strategies, implementation practice and results of Dutch sheltered work companies. She has published several articles and book chapters on sheltered work policies and the management of hybrid organisations.

viii

Preface Want. Disease. Ignorance. Squalor. Idleness. These were the five evil giants of society which Sir William Beveridge ambitiously intended to slay with his vision of the future welfare state. Since then, his ideas – and those of many other ‘founders’ of the welfare state – have relieved the hardship of many Europeans who suffer from unemployment, illness or other social hazards. But in our current time, the solutions that modern welfare states offer for the ‘evil giants’ are increasingly considered as part of the problem themselves. Support for social policies is said to be declining.The fragmented, complex and bureaucratic machineries that deliver support are increasingly considered ineffective and inefficient. According to some, generous benefits create rather than solve idleness. And the interests of those who depend on or work in social security systems block all efforts to change them. In this book we analyse in depth the trajectories of institutional change in three domains of the welfare state: social assistance, labour migration and sheltered work. In doing so, we shed new light on the way these policies have adjusted to changes in their environments.The core theme of this book is responsiveness: the idea that the institutions of the modern welfare state have to fit in with the socioeconomic environment and public preferences. How, when and why social policies are responsive, is the issue that we will discuss in detail in this book. This book is indirectly rooted in a research project on the legitimacy of the welfare state commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment (see Fenger et al, 2011). Roughly stated, the research hypothesis in that project was that the lack of responsiveness of social policies explained the diminishing support for the welfare state in the Netherlands and in other European countries. While we could only tentatively reject this hypothesis in the context of that project, it did offer a lot of theoretical, methodological and empirical insights in the issue of responsiveness. In this volume we have tried to transfer these theoretical, methodological and empirical insights to a European level. A large proportion of the information in these chapters builds upon the interviews, expert meetings and document analysis that we conducted for the Dutch research project. We would like to thank all the people who dedicated their time to participate in this research. Many people have made valuable contributions to this book. First of all, our co-researchers in the ‘legitimacy’ project (see Fenger et al, 2011) should be acknowledged for the invaluable part they played: Paul Frissen,Victor Bekkers, Sandra Groeneveld and Marieke de Wal. Paul’s ix

The responsiveness of social policies in Europe

advice on the design of the research project, his guidance during the implementation and his input to the final chapter have been of great value.Victor made important insights to the theoretical chapters and the final chapter. Chapter Two builds upon Sandra Groeneveld’s first drafts, and Marieke contributed significantly to the first drafts of Chapter Five. Willem Trommel, Mark Hertogh and other members of the supervising committee from the Ministry of Social Affairs offered valuable advice on the design of the research project. Eva Berkhuijsen and Peter van de Poest Clement have been a great support to us throughout the research project. We would, in addition, like to thank Mark van Twist for his advice both in relation to this book and more broadly. At Erasmus University Rotterdam, Weys Qaran and René Karens have provided important assistance in drafting the final manuscript. At the Netherlands School of Public Administration (NSOB), Arno van Wijk’s contribution to the final version of Chapter Five has been indispensable. Finally, we would like to thank all the others who, knowingly or unknowingly, contributed to the academic climate that enabled the production of this book. The list is almost endless, but we would like to mention in particular Irmi Dekker, Saskia Wiersma, Hera Tseng and Kees van Paridon.

x

one

Introduction Responsive social policies and ‘the Great Recession’ The 2007–2012 global economic crisis, even referred to by some as ‘the Great Recession’ (see Grusky et  al, 2011), formed an exciting challenge for European welfare states. Firmly rooted in institutions that have evolved since the start of the 20th century and been transformed by almost three decades of austerity, the European welfare states will undoubtedly again undergo significant changes in response to the challenges of this recession (see also Hemerijck, 2009). But even before the crisis, welfare states in many European countries were already under pressure. Not only concerns about financial sustainability, but many other factors also have contributed to the ongoing debate about the design and implementation of welfare policies in Europe and beyond. We will give four examples of these factors. First, the relationship between government and its citizens is under quite some pressure these days. If the outcomes of polls, the results of elections and the public’s responses in written and electronic media to the government’s conduct in many European countries are anything to go by, one would even be inclined to think that the breach of trust between citizens and public administration is a fact. Morlino (2009), for instance, spoke of a process of ‘delegitimisation’ of the specific institutions in modern societies. These tensions between government and citizens extend to virtually every policy area, including social policies. Second, the policy performance of modern day welfare states is often contested. For one thing, preservation of the arrangements of the welfare state demands great sacrifices from its citizens. A large proportion of collective finances is expended on these arrangements. Citizens thus spend a large part of their gross income paying for the welfare state. At the same time, the welfare state offers its citizens historically unprecedented protection against the risks of illness, old age, disability and unemployment, among other things. Citizens have never had so little to worry about regarding their income in case of illness, unemployment or old age as experienced in the Western societies of today. Still, there are in public debate the recurring questions 1

The responsiveness of social policies in Europe

of whether the welfare state is doing enough, or perhaps too much, whether it is effective, not too expensive, or in fact throttling social dynamics. Moreover, the persistence of social exclusion, poverty and unemployment casts doubt on the ability of modern welfare states to actually solve the social risks they were created to address. Third, modern welfare states allegedly trigger passive behaviour or even fraud and abuse of benefits. According to some commentators, high benefit levels and stigmatisation create barriers to people on benefit returning to the labour market (see for instance Humphrys, 2011). In addition, overly easy access and lack of strict control and monitoring of clients create opportunities for some people to claim benefits to which they are not entitled. This is indeed a challenge for many welfare states, although the debate about massive fraud to some extent exaggerates the actual number of cases (see Fenger & Voorberg, 2012). This undermines even more the support for modern welfare states. Finally, citizens have become more individualistic, calculated and articulate, compared to the time when the central institutions of the welfare state were constructed. This has led to a growing divergence between public preferences and the way that citizens arrange their lives. In that same period, welfare states expanded to become complex systems of regulations that affect virtually all domains of daily life.That complexity is, first, the result of attempts to control and prevent social risks in modern societies. It is, second, a consequence of attempts to find an answer to the growing fragmentation and diversity in society. Third, the complexity of welfare states is partly caused by reflexivity: citizens modify their behaviour according to the arrangements of the welfare state. This calls for the creation of additional rules that are geared to these new behavioural patterns, triggering a vicious circle of ever growing complexity. These issues show clearly that welfare state development is not only an issue of financial sustainability. An abundance of changes in public preferences, political ideologies, socioeconomic conditions, societal and demographic characteristics and so on create challenges to which social policy systems may or may not respond. Due to their highly institutionalised character and the path dependent dynamics that follow from that, social policies are often thought of as neglecting relevant changes in their policy environment. In an extreme form, such systems might be diagnosed as ‘autistic’ policy systems (see Hogwood and Peters, 1987). How these systems can and should respond to the challenges of the current economic crisis is of course an important issue for those either practically or theoretically engaged in social policies. 2

Introduction

Recently, an emerging stream of literature that analyses incremental change has supplemented the existing literature that accentuates stability and continuity in highly institutionalised policy systems (see Streeck and Thelen, 2005; Streeck, 2009; Mahoney and Thelen, 2010; Widner, 2010). While this literature has contributed significantly to knowledge on the ways in which institutions evolve (Thelen, 2004), more insight is needed into the forces that drive institutional change. For instance Daniel Béland (2007: 20) calls for ‘more scholarship … on the relationship between institutional change and powerful economic, political and ideological forces … ’.This is what this book sets out to do: it explores the decor against which modern welfare states do or do not respond to important developments in their environment and analyses the processes through which these development are translated into the design and implementation of social policies in Europe.Therefore, the purpose of this book is to analyse and explain the responsiveness of social policies by comparing the institutional development of the policy domains of social assistance, labour market regulation and sheltered work over the last 15 years. The empirical base of this book is formed by an in-depth analysis of these policy fields in the Netherlands, but integrates this with a wider analysis of the development of these policies in other European countries.

The concept of responsiveness Under the influence of information and communication technology as well as globalisation, the social-economic context of social policy changes and it does so with increasing speed. The breakdown of religious and sociopolitical barriers, individualisation and fragmentation in our society have also rendered citizens’ beliefs dynamic and varied, in turn making their requirements of the welfare state more changeable and diverse. Many studies of the welfare state have illustrated that its institutions find it difficult to adapt to ever-changing beliefs or circumstances (see, for instance, Steinmo,Thelen, and Longstreth, 1992); Pierson, 1994, 2004; Immergut, 1998; Thelen, 2004; Streeck, 2009). Moreover, many authors – especially from an institutional perspective – argue that social policies may be regarded as highly institutionalised systems.Traditionally, the institutional perspective takes a strong stance in explaining institutional stability. Especially in highly institutionalised policy domains, path dependency and lock-in are assumed to contribute to the persistence and stability of policies and their institutions (see, for instance, Pierson, 2004; Streeck and Thelen, 2005).The ‘historically constructed set of institutional constraints and opportunities affects the 3

The responsiveness of social policies in Europe

behavior of political actors and interest groups in the policy process’ (Béland, 2007: 21). According to Boasson, highly institutionalised policy fields have three characteristics: (1) the regulative, normative and cognitive rules within the field are compatible and coherent; (2)  the organisations are connected to each other by a range of ties, whether socially or physically; (3) the cognitive structure is the most important structure that guides action (Boasson, 2006; see also Krasner, 1988). These characteristics limit the responsiveness of institutions to changes in the environment. Nonetheless institutional change does occur from time to time, as we know from many empirical examples, varying from the Hartz reforms in Germany (see Streeck and Trampusch, 2005) to the Welfare Reform Act 2012 in the UK (. In this book, we examine whether, and how, social policy has managed to adjust to changing social-economic and social-cultural circumstances and preferences. In order to examine these issues, we introduce the concept of responsiveness as an umbrella concept. The basic idea for conceptualising responsiveness stems from the idea that there needs to be a ‘goodness of fit’ between an institution and its environment. For the topic of this book – how and why do social policy systems respond to changes in the environment – this notion of fit is helpful. However, the range of external conditions to which the institution is supposed to ‘fit’ is seemingly endless. Therefore, our analysis is aimed at determining more precisely which parts of the seemingly endless range of external conditions determine institutional evolution. In this book, we define responsiveness as the degree of congruence between policy developments, socioeconomic developments and changes in the values of citizens and other relevant actors. One of the most prominent sources on the factors that drive institutional change is Christine Oliver (1992). She identified three major sources of pressure in institutionalised norms or practices: functional, political and social sources. Her work initially focused on issues of deinstitutionalisation but has also been applied to the general issue of institutional change more recently (see Scott, 2001; Dacin, Goodstein, and Scott, 2002). The first set of pressures – functional pressures – is connected to the performance of the institution itself. The second set of pressures is political pressures.These result from shifts in the interests and underlying power distributions of actors that have supported and legitimated existing institutional arrangements. Social pressures are the final set of pressures that Oliver distinguished.These are associated with the processes of differentiation in society, the emergence of heterogeneous, divergent or discordant beliefs and practices and 4

Introduction

changes in laws or social expectations (Dacin, Goodstein, and Scott, 2002: 47; see also Lax & Phillips, 2009; Howlett, 2009). Other authors have identified additional pressures on institutions, for instance by integrating institutional theories with theories of policy dynamics (see Buitelaar, Lagendijk, and Jacobs 2007; Schmidt, 2011) or with theories of policy learning and social constructivism (Cox, 1998; Cox, 2001; Choi and Kim, 2009). Partially based on Oliver, and inspired by many other authors, we have identified three different ‘logics’ that might affect the development of highly institutionalised policy domains: (1)  the logic of the socioeconomic and societal environment; (2) the logic of public preferences; and (3) the internal institutional logic of the policy domain. We will elaborate on these three contexts in Chapter Three. The introduction of responsiveness as an umbrella concept allows us to pay attention to the tensions in the balance between the preferences of citizens and stakeholders, social-economic developments and policy change, and their consequences for the design and implementation of social policies within and after the global financial crisis. A number of current political discussions – about, for instance, the adjustment of the pensionable age or the flexibility of labour market regulations – revolve around the questions of how these major policy systems can be adapted to changing circumstances while taking into account the preferences of citizens and stakeholders. Those preferences do, however, increasingly diverge in today’s societies; they are progressively less organised in fixed relationships and have proved to be progressively more changeable.This leaves not only the question of whether and how arrangements of the welfare state manage to adapt to changing preferences, but also what exactly those preferences are, how the arrangements can do justice to ever diverging preferences and whether it is even possible to do such justice to them with the arrangements of the modern day welfare state, even in an era of economic recession and significant budget cuts. The perspective that will be developed in this book connects the issue of responsiveness to that of resilience. As may have become clear from the previous sections, responsiveness is not only a matter of adjusting to changes in the external environment, but also involves the analysis and selection of the trends to which a response is desirable of inevitable. Moreover, the external conditions do not necessarily converge in a single direction. In fact, they hardly ever do so. For instance, the massive protests against an increase in the pensionable age for Norwegian offshore workers, clearly illustrate the clash between public preferences and socioeconomic reality, even resulting in a complete halt to oil and gas production in Norway in the summer of 2012. Numerous such examples of diverging development can be found in European welfare 5

The responsiveness of social policies in Europe

states, presenting policy makers with the challenge of how to balance these ‘unbalanceable’ trends in the design and implementation of social policies. The concept of resilience as borrowed from system theorists does justice to the relationship between governmental arrangements and context. In their view, resilience is a combination of absorbing, resisting and adapting (see Huitema et al, 2010). In our view, a responsive policy system is capable of dealing with social differences without taking a specific stance. This means that the process whereby a policy system is shaped should receive great attention. A responsive policy system demonstrates resilience. It does not directly react to each and every stimulus from the environment, but absorbs external disruptions and adapts where necessary.We do note a certain reservation here, though, for we believe that responsiveness is not aimed at finding the preference of the majority to which the policy should subsequently be adapted, but rather at dealing with these widely varying preferences, including the preferences of minorities. The process of policy formulation and implementation is, therefore, of great importance. If a policy system is to deal with widely divergent preferences and requirements, it will have to allow for these divergent preferences.

Preview The structure of this study is as follows. Chapter Two sketches the background against which the study is conducted, by exploring the issue of responsiveness in the social domain. Quantitative analyses of the existing data play an important role here. In Chapter Three, the outlook on responsiveness that is central to this book is introduced and clarified. In this chapter, we introduce the most important social developments that might influence the development of social policy based on an extensive literature review and interviews with scientists and prominent representatives of key institutions in the social-economic domain, such as the Social and Economic Council (SER), the Council for Work and Income (RWI) and the Scientific Council for Government Policy (WRR). In doing so, Chapter Three serves as a ‘guidebook’ for the way in which the policy analyses of the above-mentioned three policy areas takes place in Chapters Four, Five and Six. Chapters Four, Five and Six form the empirical core of this book. These chapters identify important developments and analyse the responsiveness of three social policy areas: social assistance policy, labour migration and the provision of sheltered work to occupationally disabled people. As stated earlier, the empirical analyses will comprise of broad overviews of European trends in these policy areas and an in-depth 6

Introduction

analysis of the developments in the Netherlands in these fields. The in-depth analysis of the Dutch cases allows for the identification of important trends and dilemmas in each policy field, which will be transferred back into the analysis of European trends. For each of these case studies, interviews were conducted with the main stakeholders, and important policy documents were analysed. Furthermore, extensive analyses were made of media reports, political debates and election programmes. A literature review has been the basis for the analysis of European trends in these policy domains. Chapter Seven draws the most important lessons from the analysis of responsiveness in the three social policy domains that we have investigated. These lessons relate to the possibilities and way in which social policies can and should respond to significant challenges in the policy environment. In an era of global crisis, these lessons may contribute to the design and implementation of resilient social policies.

7

two

Responsive policies in contested welfare states?

Introduction In the previous chapter we defined responsiveness as the degree of congruence between policy developments, socioeconomic developments and changes in values of citizens and relevant actors. An important element in this definition involves the level to which the institutions of the welfare state correspond with citizens’ opinions about the role and position of welfare states in modern economies. However, these opinions differ significantly over time and between nationalities. Figure 2.1 illustrates the dynamics of opinions on the welfare, based on an analysis of different opinions on social security. Although the data in this figure are outdated, it serves as a useful illustration of the dynamics in public opinions on the welfare state. If social policies are responsive, these ever-changing opinions may form an important impetus for change. These fluctuations in citizens’ opinions contrast strongly with the idea of social policies as highly institutionalised and therefore almost immobile systems. Ultimately, the incapacity to respond to changing opinions in society, that is, lack of responsiveness, may lead to a loss of support for social policies.To refine the central question that was raised in the previous chapter, this chapter focuses on the issue of citizens’ general opinions on welfare states. It evolves around the question of whether a loss of support can be observed in the social policy domain. If declining support is observed, then – given the central theme of this book – the next question will be to what extent this can be attributed to a lack of responsiveness. If no decline in support is to be found, than there is hardly any need to worry about lack of responsiveness either. Or conversely, finding ways to improve responsiveness may also contribute to regaining support for the welfare state, if this might be needed. With regard to the issue of welfare state support, two common opinions can be distinguished. Many will answer this question about whether there is decline in support for the welfare state in the affirmative: according to them, the welfare state is in crisis. While the 9

The responsiveness of social policies in Europe Figure 2.1: Development of opinions on the welfare state Swe97

30

Fr98 Swe99 Nth92 Fr99

Public social expenditures (% of GDP)

Ger97 Ger92 Swi00 Ger91 25

Ger99 Nor91 Aus94 Aus00 Nor97

It97 UK92Ger86 UK91 UK97 NZ98 Can97

Asl97

Asl91 US92 US91 US97 US99

15 US86

UK99

Nor99 Nth99

UK86Ire92

NZ92

20

It91It00

NZ99 Asl99 Ja99

Ire97

Ja97 Ire99 Asl87

10 –4.5

0 Social policy preferences (factor scores)

2.5

Source: Kenworthy, 2009: 728

population is supposed to still support the welfare state, the legitimacy of social policy has come under pressure due to the reforms of the 1980s and 1990s (Gelissen, 2000; Becker, 2005). The opposite is also claimed: due to our increasing wealth and individualisation, we are less inclined to support collective arrangements. The demands that social policy puts on collective resources would make them lose their legitimacy. Achterberg et  al (2010) claimed, however, that support for the welfare state is unabatedly high, precisely because the different arrangements have been adapted to changes in society over time. A recent study by Raven (2012) also demonstrates that there is popular support for neoliberal social policies, that is, welfare state reforms, in the Netherlands. Another study by the Netherlands Institute for Social Research found that the Dutch population considers the social system a strength (SCP 2010: 35) rather than a weakness (SCP 2010: 33) of the Netherlands. Continued support for the welfare state was also found in other studies (for example Van Oorschot, 2010). 10

Responsive policies in contested welfare states?

Existing studies do not provide us with an unambiguous answer to the question of how things are in relation to support for European welfare states.There are plenty, perhaps even too many, answers, but they do not result in a clear picture of what is going on.That is why, in this chapter, we subject support for social policies to a closer inspection in an attempt to construct a more unambiguous – or at least a coherent – picture of the relationship between citizens and the welfare state. In order to do so, we look at the way in which the preferences and beliefs of citizens about the welfare state and government in general have developed on the basis of large-scale existing data sets.We do not so much examine whether the government has adapted to changes in the preferences of citizens in the objective and material sense. That is the topic of Chapters Four, Five and Six, in which we analyse indepth the interaction between changing external condition and policy development in three domains: social assistance, incoming labour migration and sheltered work. This chapter concentrates on more general developments in citizens’ opinions about how government and its policies ‘should be’. We focus on the specific domain of ‘social policies’ and the related institutions. Given the definition and the available data we will focus on the important indicators that are generally associated with welfare state: trust, congruence with the beliefs of citizens, and satisfaction (see Hertogh & Weyers, 2007; Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, 2010). The international comparison is limited to some European countries that may be regarded as representative of the frequently used welfare types as proposed by Esping-Andersen (1990). Belgium, France and Germany represent the continental or corporatist type. Social security is properly developed here, but it is often connected to employees’ employment contracts. In welfare states of the Scandinavian type, the arrangements are more general and at a high level. Sweden and Denmark belong to this type. Great Britain comes under the Anglo-Saxon type, where the extent of social security and collective pensions is rather limited. Relatively extensive schemes for the employed can be found in Spain and Italy, but otherwise the social security system is frugal.The Netherlands is difficult to classify as one of Esping-Andersen’s welfare types; it is best situated between the Scandinavian and corporatist types. This chapter is structured as follows. First we focus on the concepts of trust and support. We analyse how trust in the welfare state and other public institutions has developed over time and in various European countries. Next we analyse citizens’ opinions on the role and tasks of social policies in society.These analyses use two large-scale (international) databases, namely the World Values Survey (WVS) and 11

The responsiveness of social policies in Europe

the European Social Survey (ESS). Fnally, we draw some lessons from the evolution of welfare state support and citizens’ opinions that enable us to relate these levels of support to issues of responsiveness.

Trust in social policies In this section we discuss trust in the government as the first indicator of support for the welfare state. The WVS and the ESS include indicators for different institutions as regards citizens’ level of trust. In the social-scientific literature, these indicators of trust in different institutions are often taken collectively as a standard for trust in the government. In the latest available run of the ESS, the 2006 edition, respondents were asked to indicate to what extent they trusted civil servants, unions, the cabinet, political parties, parliament, major companies and the European Union. Unfortunately, the level of trust in social security was not included in the most recent edition, but we do have information for 1990 and 1999. If we are to make any statements about the legitimacy of social policy, it is self-evident that we should first look at trust in social security, even if the available information is outdated. Trust in social security Figure 2.2 shows the part of the population that had a reasonably great or very great trust in social security for the Netherlands and eight other European countries. Approximately two thirds of the Dutch population had a reasonable or great trust in social security. In the Netherlands, the trust in social security more or less equalled the trust in Belgium, Denmark, France, and – in 1999 – Spain. In Italy and the UK, the trust in social security is far lower: approximately two-thirds of the population in those countries had a reasonable or great trust in social security. In Germany and Sweden, it was not even half. During the 1990s, the Dutch population’s trust in social security decreased somewhat, as was also the case in Denmark and France.The sharp decline of trust in Germany, and the great increase in Spain, is remarkable. The relationship with trust in other institutions As mentioned, the WVS does not offer any recent figures about trust in social security. It is, therefore, useful to ascertain to what extent trust in social security correlates with the trust that populations of the European 12

Responsive policies in contested welfare states? Figure 2.2:Trust in social security 1990

1999

80 70 60 50 % 40 30 20 10 0

m

lgiu

Be

ark

nm

De

nce

Fra

any

rm

Ge

ly

Ita

N

s

nd

rla

e eth

in

Spa

n in ede Brita Sw t a e Gr

Source: European Social Survey, 1990, 1999

countries had in other institutions in order to examine subsequently how this trust developed after 1999.Trust in social security correlated most strongly with trust in civil servants in the relevant country (r = 0.42), followed by the parliament (r = 0.34) and the government (r = 0.29). We will, therefore, have a closer look at the trust in these institutions, presuming safely from the above correlations that trust in social policies follows the general trend of trust in the other institutions. Figure 2.3 shows the part of the population that had a reasonably great or very great trust in civil servants.A comparison of trust in civil servants between the countries, made in 2006, revealed that the Netherlands and Germany had the lowest scores: approximately 30% of the populations had a reasonable to very great trust in civil servants.1 The trust in civil servants in the Netherlands during the periods of 1990–1999–2006 had, moreover, decreased considerably. In Germany, however, trust in civil servants increased by almost 7% in 1999 compared to 1990, but in 2006 it decreased by almost the same percentage. Sweden outranked all others: approximately two thirds of the population had a reasonable to very great trust in civil servants in 2006, followed by France, with 53.8% of the population having trust in public servants. Even though 1 There were no data available for Italy and Spain for 2006. That is why we used the data for 2005 and 2007, respectively. For Belgium and Denmark, no figures were available for 2005, 2006 or 2007.

13

The responsiveness of social policies in Europe Figure 2.3:Trust in civil servants 1990

1999

2006

70 60 50 %

40 30 20 10 0

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Source: European Social Survey (combined database) 1990, 1999, 2006

in France the trust in civil servants decreased initially from 49.2% (1999) to 45.9% (1990), it did increase in 2006. Unfortunately, there are no data available for 2006 for Belgium and Denmark. However, Figure 2.3 does demonstrate that in both countries public trust in civil servants rose from 42.3% to 46.3% (Belgium) and from 51.3% to 54.9% (Denmark). More notable is that a comparison of trust in civil servants over time in Great Britain is the most stable, with approximately 46% of the population having trust in civil servants. In Spain public trust increased almost 6% from 34.7% (1990) to 40.5% (1999) and 40.9% in 2006. Thus the data for Spain and Great Britain show that public trust in civil servants did not change (not notably in Spain) between 1999 and 2006. A comparative study by Van der Meer (2010), using ESS data on public trust in the parliament in 27 European countries in the period of 2002–2004–2006, shows a similar picture. Figure 2.4 shows that almost 44% of the population of the nine European countries had trust in their parliament (Van der Meer, 2010). In 2006, 52% of the Belgian population had trust in their parliament while there is no data available for the periods of 2002 and 2004. In that respect, Denmark actually scored the highest of all the countries included in our comparison during those years. In Denmark the average level of trust in the parliament was 64%, while Sweden comes in second with an average of approximately 53%. The scores for Germany are the lowest of all countries, followed by France, with average scores of approximately 14

Responsive policies in contested welfare states? Figure 2.4:Trust in parliament 2002

2004

2006

70 60 50 40 %

30 20 10 0

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any

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Ge

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in

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n

ede Sw

UK

Source: based on Van der Meer (2010) drawing on European Social Survey 2002–2006

26% (Germany) and 28% (France). It should be noted that the data for Germany form an average of the data for West Germany and East Germany combined, whereby almost 31% of the population of West Germany and 21% of the population of East Germany expressed their trust in German Parliament. The average scores for Italy (39%) and Spain (41%) are very similar, while the Netherlands (47%) and United Kingdom (46%) show similarities too. All in all, there are differences between countries and over time as far as public trust in government – the accumulated scores for trust in the institutions we discussed in this section – is concerned. The level of trust in government in Scandinavian countries seems to be higher than in other countries (Van der Meer, 2010). For example, Figures 2.3 and 2.4 show that the level of trust in parliament and civil servants in Denmark and Sweden is relatively high in comparison with other countries. In this vein, Rolef (2006) also demonstrates in her study that Denmark, Finland and Sweden score way above the average of EU-15 during the period of 1996–2005. The average scores for the continental countries are below the EU-15 average score and way below the scores of the Scandinavian countries. For example, in 1996 only 33% of the German population expressed their trust in their parliament, while in Denmark 64% of the population had trust in the parliament. The differences between Germany and Denmark in 2005 increased respectively to 35% and 74%. 15

The responsiveness of social policies in Europe

Declining trust in government? Even though many studies suggest that there is a popular support for welfare state reforms, it is critical to note that there is also an observed trend towards the decline of trust in government at the same time. As discussed in the previous section, Rolef (2006), for instance, studied public trust in parliament, inter alia, in 15 European countries by using data from the Europinion (Eurobarometer) and her study shows that average score for the EU-15 in the period of 1996–2005 is approximately 40%. However, the average score in the 15 European countries over time does show fluctuations in the periods between 1996 and 2005, in which a 10% decline of trust in government can be observed: 49% in 1996 and 39% in 2005 (Rolef, 2006). Based on the combination of trust scores (trust in social security, parliament, politics, civil servants and the like), we observe a reasonable decrease of this trust in governments over time. Almost all studies and surveys confirm this decline of trust in government (for example see Rolef, 2006; Van der Meer, 2010). And as we have seen in the introduction to this section, trust in government institutions is positively correlated with trust in social support. It is therefore interesting to see what the reasons are behind the declining trust in government. Various authors have tried to answer this question by exploring the reasons behind the diminishing trust in government both theoretically and empirically, and on the basis of quantitative and qualitative analyses of the existing data and literature reviews.They have made plausible cases for attributing that decrease to categories of different factors as shown in Table 2.1 (for example Van der Meer, 2010; Bovens and Wille, 2008; Rolef, 2006, Blomberg and Kroll, 1999; Bean & Papadakis, 1998; Jæger, 2006,2009; Kenworthy and McCall, 2007 and Kenworthy, 2009). As Table 2.1 shows, we can distinguish between general/theoretical and welfare state related factors concerning the phenomenon of decline in trust. Rolef (2006), drawing on Rose and Mishler (2001), argues that there are two theoretical traditions in explaining the phenomenon of decline in trust, namely, the cultural school and the institutional school. The authors of the cultural school of thought argue that (decline of) trust has its roots in exogenous sources, while the authors of the institutional school of thought argue that the level of trust emanates from endogenous trust in the political system, and both schools try to divide their explanatory factors into a macro level and a micro level, as shown in Table 2.1.

16

Responsive policies in contested welfare states?

Table 2.1: Explanations for welfare state support Domain General/ theoretical explanations

Authors Factors Rolef (2006) Cultural drawing on Mishler and Rose (2001)

Detail –– Macro level: trends in national traditions determine the level of trust –– Micro level: the experience in socialisation level of individuals determines the level of trust Institutional –– Macro level: functioning of government and its institutions determine the level of trust –– Micro level: individuals’ evaluations of government functioning conditioned by preferences and experiences such as position, personally experiencing consequences of corruption etc. Institutional –– Types of welfare state Social Listhaug & –– Marginalism type: support – policies/ Aalberg (1990); –– Universalism type: support + welfare Bean & Papadakis state related (1998); Blomberg Ideological –– Right wing parties vs. left wing explanations & Kroll (1999); parties Kenworthy –– Decreased electoral success (2009); and Jæger for left (2006, 2009). –– Support for neoliberal reforms Spatial –– Regional/local context –– Implementation of social policies at municipal level –– Municipality’s taxation right –– Municipality’s state of economy –– Implementation: public sector employees Historical –– Generously structured system Kenworthy vs. not or less generously (2009); structured systems/social Kenworthy & policies McCall (2008) –– Former regime type and Van der Meer (2010) Socio–– Social classes: self-interest of Rolef (2006); classes and their families Bean & Papadakis economic –– Class politics: influence by (1998); Jæger (2006,2009) representations, unions, etc. –– Middle class –– Transfer class: pensioners, elderly people, unemployed people –– Globalisation: EU, OECD, budget balance

17

The responsiveness of social policies in Europe

The welfare state related factors can be clustered in the following categor ies: ideological, institutional, histor ical/cultural and socioeconomic. The ideological factors convey, for instance, the left– right continuum, decreased unionisation, a trend toward decreased success for left wing parties, popular support for neoliberal policies and reforms and the like (for example Jæger, 2006,2009 and Raven, 2012). In this respect, the supporters of left wing parties support the welfare state the most, while support among the right wing parties’ constituency seems to be lower.At the same time the literature attributes the institutional factors mostly to the type of welfare states by using Esping-Andersen’s (1990) typology of social democrat, conservative and liberal welfare states to explain the (lack of) support for welfare states. In this vein, the assumption is that in social democratic – for example Scandinavian – countries there is more support for welfare state and social policies, in liberal democratic states – for example the United Kingdom – the least and in conservative democratic countries – for example Germany – somewhere in between.A third category is the socalled spatial factors which seem to play an important role in explaining trust in government or support for welfare state. The spatial factors concern the local context of a country or a group of countries as in Esping-Andersen’s typology of welfare states (see also Chapter One) and the like. There are also the historical factors which explain the extent to which countries have implemented more or less generously social policies in the past. It has been argued by authors such as Kenworthy (2009), Kenworthy & McCall (2008) and Van der Meer (2010) that if countries in the past have implemented policies generously, then, there is also most likely more support for the welfare state or social policies. The Scandinavian countries, for instance, have implemented social policies generously in the past, resulting in the fact that the populations of these countries also seem to trust their government more in comparison with other welfare states. Last but not least, various authors have emphasised the importance of socioeconomic factors (for example Bean & Papadakis, 1998; Rolef, 2006; and Jæger, 2006, 2009). Subsequently the majority of the literature divides socioeconomic factors into different social classes in which the rationality of each social class seems to determine the level trust that they put in the welfare state. The bottom line is that there are various factors that have been suggested in the literature which have also been applied empirically to explain the phenomenon of decline in trust. However, these factors are interrelated with each other and enhanced by one another. For example, it has been argued by authors such as Rolef (2006) and 18

Responsive policies in contested welfare states?

Bovens & Wille (2008) that the diminishing trust in the government is first and foremost the product of factors in the political system itself, such as a general feeling of discontent among the population. In this vein, discontent seems to be greater among originally left wing voters who, as of old, had a great trust in the government (ideological factors).This feeling of discontent seems to be enhanced by the popular support for welfare state reforms or neo-liberal social policies (for example Raven, 2012). This is also reflected in the electoral success of political parties whereby the success of left wing parties – that support generous and universalistic social policies –has decreased over time, while that of political parties in favour of more neo-liberal social policies has increased over time (for example Raven, 2012; and Jæger, 2006, 2009). In this respect Raven (2012) argues that the contemporary welfare state is different from the more generous welfare states of the 1970s. All in all, we do find major fluctuations over the course of time, and the years since 2002 show a major decline in trust. However, the question is to what extent this is actually related to the functioning of government in general and social policy in particular. Past research has not made clear what exactly clarifies trust in the government (Bouckaert & Van de Walle, 2003). Rolef (2006) and Van der Meer (2010) are among the few authors that attempted to do so by providing specific reasons rather than general factors. Rolef (2006) relates the decline in trust to (1) people’s expectations of institutions’ tasks; (2) individuals’ backgrounds; and (3) election systems and other factors.Van der Meer (2010) seems to agree with Rolef, as he suggests the following three variables to explain trust in government: level of corruption, the electoral system and former regime type. There are, however, still too few studies that try to explain the level of trust in the government in detail. Various studies have been conducted to explain this phenomenon, the vast majority of which either seem to come up with general, and yet similar, factors, or only try to explain one part of the story. In other words, in order to have something to go by when attempting to clarify trust in the government and social security, further research is necessary, and especially longitudinal studies that clarify this phenomenon over time and many countries. For the moment, we may conclude that the welfare state seems to become a more contested institution, although there are large variations in time and geography. These variations are associated with a wide variety of institutional, ideological and socioeconomic conditions.

19

The responsiveness of social policies in Europe

Congruence with citizens’ beliefs The issue of responsiveness, which is the key concept in this book, is not only associated with support for the welfare state. It is also about the appropriateness of the arrangements of the welfare state in relation to the beliefs and preferences of citizens: to what extent is the design of social policies congruent with whatever citizens believe and want. This should also be expressed in the acceptance or endorsement of the rules related to the arrangements of the welfare state. Of course, it is extremely hard to construct from answers on survey questionnaires an image of what citizens’ preferences for the content of social policies are. However, departing from the central question of this book, we can observe in the three cases in the following chapters to what extent the shifts in social policies in European countries follow the general trends that we identify in this chapter. In the final chapter, we reflect on this element of responsiveness. The data available to us comprise four operationalisations of beliefs about distributional issues in society and three about the role of the government in these.There is also an indicator of the endorsement of the rules of arrangement of the welfare state. These eight indicators in total are discussed. Beliefs about the distribution of prosperity The WVS included four items that related to the distribution of prosperity in a country. On each occasion, the respondents were presented with two statements: they had to indicate on a ten point scale whether they agreed more with the first or the second statement. The first statement pair was ‘Incomes should be more equally divided’ (score 1) versus ‘Greater differences in income should be utilised as an incentive’ (score 10). Figure 2.5 shows the average scores on the ten point scale. Figure 2.5 shows that only for four countries – France, Italy, the Netherlands and the UK – are data available for all three periods – 1990, 1999 and 2006. Thus we will focus mainly on these four countries, while we mention the notable scores for other countries. In 1990, France scored an average of 5.3 the lowest score in comparison with other three countries and second lowest overall, because only Spain scored lower than France with an average of 5. The United Kingdom scored highest of these four countries with 6.4, Denmark scored highest overall with 6.5, while Italy (5.9) and the Netherlands (6.1) scored somewhere in between.The scores for 1999 are notable in comparison 20

Responsive policies in contested welfare states? Figure 2.5: Support for income equality ‘Incomes should be more equally divided’ (score 1) versus ‘Greater differences in income should be utilised as an incentive’ (score 10) 1999

1990

2006

7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0

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n in ede rita B Sw eat Gr

Source: European World Values Survey (combined database) 1990, 1999, 2006

with 1990, because France scored the lowest overall (4.9) and the scores for the United Kingdom decreased from 6.4 to 5.6. The Netherlands scored highest with an average of 6.2 and was closely followed by Italy with an average score of 6. In 2006, once again France scored the lowest of these four countries with an average score of 5, whereas Italy scored 5.6 and the United Kingdom 5.7. By comparison, in 2006 the Netherlands scored highest of all countries – not just these four countries – with 6.1. However, Germany scored the lowest of all countries. In this respect, relatively speaking, the Dutch mostly believed that greater differences in income should be utilised as an incentive. Of course these figures only acquire meaning if we consider them against the background of the factual distribution of income in a country and the relevant governmental policy.A score registered between 5 and 6 means that the respondent endorsed the current situation in his or her country.The fact that the Dutch scored an average of slightly more than 6, would indicate that the Dutch population deemed it desirable for the government to take measures against an equalisation of income. The turn taken by the German population between 1990 (6.7 highest score overall) and 2006 (6.7 lowest score overall) is noticeable here, but is understandable in the light of income developments after the Berlin Wall fell: the greater differences in income increased the wish 21

The responsiveness of social policies in Europe

for equalisation. A closer examination of the figures for France, that scored either lowest or second lowest overall, reveals that the majority of the French population was in favour of an equalisation of income. In short, there was a greater variance in this issue over the course of time, but the average Dutch score remained more or less the same. It appears that a similar trend can only be observed in the United Kingdom. The second pair of statements was ‘Rivalry is good. It encourages people to work hard and develop new ideas’ (score 1) versus ‘Rivalry is harmful. It brings out the worst in people’ (score 10). Figure 2.6 presents the results for this. On average, the relevant Europeans supported the statement that ‘Rivalry is good’ more than that it is harmful, even though there were substantial differences between the countries. The Swedish appreciated rivalry the most (average score of 3.4), and the French the least (average score of 5). The Dutch scored in between those extremes. It should be said, though, that the variance among the Dutch population was relatively great. In other words, the opinions were rather divided. The third statement pair was ‘In the long term, hard work will yield a better life’ (score 1) versus ‘Hard work generally does not generate success – it is more a matter of luck and contacts’ (score 10). Figure 2.7 shows the average scores for this item. It should be mentioned that Figure 2.7 only includes data from 1990 and 2006.This is because there Figure 2.6: Support for rivalry ‘Rivalry is good. It encourages people to work hard and develop new ideas’ (score 1) versus ‘Rivalry is harmful. It brings out the worst in people’ (score 10) 2006

1999

1990 6 5 4 3 2 1 0

m

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Ne

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Source: European World Values Survey (combined database) 1990, 1999, 2006

22

Responsive policies in contested welfare states? Figure 2.7: Opinions about hard work versus luck ‘In the long term, hard work will yield a better life’ (score 1) versus ‘Hard work generally does not generate success – it is more a matter of luck and contacts’ (score 10) 1990

2006

1999

7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0

m

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N

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n tain ede Bri Sw t ea Gr

Source: European World Values Survey (combined database) 1990, 1999, 2006

are at present no data available for 1999. Moreover, for countries like Belgium and Denmark there are only data available from 1990, in which the Belgians (4.8 average score) endorsed that idea that in the long term ‘hard work will pay off ’ while the Danish respondents endorsed the idea that it is not hard work, but luck and good contacts that will determine a better life (6.1 average score). On average, the populations of the European countries agreed with the statement that hard work generates success in the long term – particularly in Spain and Great Britain. The Italian respondents were more sceptical about this issue than the other Europeans with average scores of 5 and 5.3. One could argue that the Italians, like the Dutch and French, shared more or less the same thought by seemingly endorsing the ‘hard work’ statement. The outcomes described above relate to a period during which the perspective of social security in countries like the Netherlands drastically changed: it was aimed more at the activation and responsibility of the citizens themselves, and less at providing income security. Some findings appear to underline this policy: the Dutch regarded greater differences in income as an incentive, or at least, they did on average. Overall, however, the variance between the nine European countries was not too great. In this vein, the United Kingdom shows some similarities with the Netherlands. The Italians also preferred greater 23

The responsiveness of social policies in Europe

income differences in comparison with other countries.The European populations concerned disagree on the issue of ‘rivalry’. At the same time, Europeans were sceptical about the degree to which you can achieve something by hard work with an average score of above six. Beliefs about the role of government The WVS also contained an item on the role of government in the distribution of wealth. This item was ‘People should take more responsibility to take care of themselves’ (score 1) versus ‘The government should take more responsibility to ensure that everyone gets what they need’ (score 10). It appears from Figure 2.8 that great differences existed between the countries. Again the outcomes of this survey question should be interpreted against the background of the situation in the country concerned. It was the Germans, Spanish, and Italians who most believed that the government should take more responsibility to ensure that everyone gets what they need. The average scores on this survey item were the highest for these countries.The Netherlands ranked more or less in the theoretical middle with a score of 5.7 in 2006, whereas the average was Figure 2.8: Support for government responsibility ‘People should take more responsibility to take care of themselves’ (score 1) versus ‘The government should take more responsibility to ensure that everyone gets what they need’ (score 10) 1999

1990

7

2006

6 5 4 3 2 1 0

ium

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Source: European World Values Survey (combined database) 1990, 1999, 2006

24

Responsive policies in contested welfare states?

below 5 in the 1990s. In most of the European countries, the beliefs of the population underwent a shift after 2000: they were more inclined to believe that the government should take more responsibility – perhaps in response to neo-liberal governmental policy. In Sweden, a country with a strong welfare state, the average score was the lowest in all the years reviewed. The population of that country was the least of the opinion that the government should take more responsibility – probably because the government’s presence is already strongly felt there. Two other indicators of beliefs about the role of government in the distribution of wealth can be found in the ESS. In the first place, respondents were asked who they felt should be primarily responsible for providing a sufficient living standard for people in their old age. Respondents could express their opinion on a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 meant that it was ‘primarily the responsibility of the individual’ and 10 that is was ‘primarily the responsibility of the government’. Figure 2.9 shows the average scores of the different European countries in 2006. On average, Germany and Denmark scored the lowest, whereas Belgium, Spain, France and Sweden scored on average more than 6. In other words, the populations of the latter four countries more often believed financial care in old age to be a responsibility of the government than the populations in the first two. The average Dutch score of 5.7 lay in the middle, incidentally a position that corresponds Figure 2.9: Support for old age benefits Providing people with a sufficient living standard in old age is primarily the responsibility of the individual (1) or the government (10) 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0

m

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B eat Gr

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Source: European Social Survey, 2006

25

The responsiveness of social policies in Europe Figure 2.10: Opinions about government’s role in reducing inequality The government should take measures to reduce the differences in income – percentage of (full) agreement 2008

2006

2004

2002

90 80 70 60 %

50 40 30 20 10 0

m

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tain

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Source: European Social Survey (combined database 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2008)

to the structure of the Dutch pension system, that also holds the exact middle spot between the other countries mentioned. Second, the ESS presented respondents with the question as to whether the government should take measures to reduce differences in income, where score 1 indicated that they fully agreed and score 5 that they entirely disagreed. Figure 2.10 shows the percentage of the population that fully agreed or entirely disagreed with this statement for each country. The figure reveals that the French and Spanish were most often of the opinion that the government should take measures to reduce differences in income.Around 80% of these populations held this belief. In Denmark, by contrast, only around 40% of the population (fully) agreed with this statement, which may be partly explained by the equable distribution of income in this country.That makes the fact that a relative large proportion of Swedes agreed with this statement all the more noticeable. Of the European countries, the Dutch population again held a middle spot: between 50 and 60% of the Dutch population agreed with this statement in recent years. Acceptance of the rules of the arrangements of the welfare state Finally, the WVS included an indicator of the acceptance of the rules of the arrangements of the welfare state. Respondents were presented with 26

Responsive policies in contested welfare states?

the question of whether applying for social benefits to which you are not entitled was never justified (score 1) or always justified (score 10) or something in between.These data are presented in Figure 2.11.The Netherlands had the greatest percentage of respondents that found that it was never justifiable if you apply for a social benefit to which you are not entitled (81.4% in 2006). In France, the 2006 percentage was merely 41.3 (figures not shown here). Figure 2.11 shows the average scores for this item. These also reveal that France had the highest score on average: even though the French population believed, on average, that it was not justified to apply for social benefits to which you were not entitled, they were less adamant.The Dutch, together with the Italians and Swedes, were most decided in their opinion that it is not justified to wrongfully apply for social benefits.The average score in 2006 was, however, somewhat higher, which indicates that their decisiveness had declined a little.We suspect that this correlates with the declining trust in government in the same period: a decline in trust in the government expresses willingness to adhere to the rules (Marien & Hooghe, 2011). In this section, we have discussed several survey items that are related to citizens’ beliefs about the distribution of wealth.When we look back at the figures, the variance between countries and the changeability over time is the most striking.That variance between countries was also found in earlier studies. Blekesaune & Quadagno (2003) showed that the Figure 2.11: Opinions about benefit fraud Applying for social security to which you have no right is never justified (score 1) or always justified (score 10) or something in between 1999

1990

7

2006

6 5 4 3 2 1 0

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Source: European World Values Survey (combined database) 1990, 1999, 2006

27

The responsiveness of social policies in Europe

national level is important in the formation of the population’s attitudes towards social policy, often even more so than individual differences within countries. However, the literature remains unclear as to which characteristics at the national level are decisive in explaining the beliefs of the population. Larsen (2008) demonstrated by means of an analysis of the data of the 1990 WVS that the welfare state type has the greatest explanatory power, at least where the population’s beliefs about social policy aimed at poverty and unemployment are concerned. It should be noted though that the limited number of cases do not permit an assessment of the influence of different country specific characteristics in one model. More important, however, is the fact that behind every welfare state type is a range of characteristics. Moreover, the data do not allow us to examine causality: institutional arrangements and public opinion are mutually responsive.

Conclusion: developments in support of the welfare state Which conclusions may we now draw as regards public opinion in relation to social policy on the basis of the available quantitative research? In this chapter, we have focused on trust in the government and social security and on the public preferences of citizens. A hypothesis that has been frequently described and confirmed in research is that trust explains support for policy (see, for instance, Marien & Hooghe, 2011). Edlund (2006), on the other hand, demonstrated that the relation between trust in the government and beliefs about the role of the government in the distribution of wealth are weak and do not always take the direction that we would expect. Trust can explain opinions, but beliefs about the role of the government and the principles of distribution in society can, in turn, have a wide range of influences on that trust. As mentioned earlier, trust in social security may come under pressure if a strong welfare state enjoys preference at times of neo-liberal policy, but also when social policy is considered to be making inroads to collective resources anyway (see Edlund, 2006; Achterberg et al, 2010). All in all, this chapter has showed that there are still a great many question marks when it comes to the development of support for the welfare state and the relation between support and congruence of opinions about core values. Moreover, the issue remains as to what extent these can be attributed to the conduct of the government itself. It would seem that citizens are not consistent and stable over the course of time where their beliefs about the government are concerned – and 28

Responsive policies in contested welfare states?

perhaps not only over the course of time, but also possibly even per situation and according to the question asked.The figures show that the idea that a consistent, coherent and – to a certain extent – cognisable core of citizens’ beliefs about the government may and should be found, perhaps needs to be put into perspective the most. If we are to grasp and understand the responsiveness of social policy, the available quantitative studies will not take us any further.Apart from the fact that they would force us to limit the social perspective on responsiveness, the data provide too little insight into the processes and tensions related to the issues of responsiveness. In order to gain insight into the role of the different stakeholders, processes, mechanisms and tension, indepth qualitative research is needed. That is the reason why we have decided to conduct an in-depth analysis of three cases in the social policy domain. In the next three chapters we will analyse in detail the degree to which the policy arrangements are ‘appropriate’ to the preferences of citizens and stakeholders, as well as the social-economic and social-cultural developments that exert an influence on legitimacy.

29

three

A framework for analysing policy responsiveness

Introduction In the previous chapter we showed how citizens’ support for the welfare state differs from individual to individual and fluctuates over time. Based on that chapter, the idea of ‘fit’ between the design of social policies and citizens’ opinions seems almost an illusion: it has to take into account the sometimes conflicting aspects of legitimacy as well as the great variance in citizens’ beliefs. Still, we do not abandon our exploration into the backgrounds of responsive social policies. Initially, it seems to be self-evident in a representative, democratic system that policy provides an answer to social problems and can count on public support. However, a significant number of comparative studies into reforms in the welfare state have conclusively demonstrated that historical factors, formal procedures, state tradition, policy legacies and the balance of power between politicians, administrators, interest groups and citizens – in addition to public preferences – have a major influence on the design of the welfare state’s institutions. The construction and structure of the institutions of the modern welfare state may, therefore, be regarded as historical coincidences. Once the welfare state’s arrangements and institutions have emerged, like all institutions they start to live their own lives; they develop their own dynamics (see Streeck and Thelen, 2005; Mahoney & Thelen, 2010). These specific dynamics are partly shaped by the reflexive nature of (modern) societies: citizens, businesses, interest groups and other actors adapt their behaviour to, and as a result of, the new institution, which thereby becomes more than just a regulation or organisation that has been created – and may also be terminated – at a random moment in time. At the same time, the dynamics appear because the environment changes, public preferences change and actors with power have an interest in the continuation, destruction or adaptation of the institution. It is amidst these dynamics that the institutions of contemporary European welfare states developed, and that they are now forced to formulate a response to the challenges 31

The responsiveness of social policies in Europe

of the current economic crisis. To make things worse, this response needs to include two elements that are almost incompatible: a contribution to the long-term financial sustainability of their governments and relief of the burdens for those affected by the economic crisis. The main question now is whether and how the conglomerate of social regulations, that in this day and age we refer to as the ‘welfare state’, manages to change along with the developments in contemporary societies and economies. Given the above, that is not any easy task.Van Gestel et al (2009), for instance, argued that change in social sectors is a complicated process. The problems are often intractable, since they are affected by many factors; a great number of actors have different objectives, and there is an often diffuse balance of power between private and public parties, in which no one is able to dominate the decision-making on their own. It can, furthermore, be said that the exact contours of the changes are often unclear, that the changing requirements for the different components of social policy that arise from them are diffuse and controversial, and that the power to change institutions lies with different groups with (very) wide ranging goals and interests. At the same time, it is evident that if social policy does not succeed in adapting to changing circumstances and preferences – in other words, when it is not responsive enough – its support and therefore sustainability will be challenged. When it comes to welfare state support, we need to separate the contents of the institutional arrangements of the welfare state from the issue of who is providing social security.Traditionally, in many European countries social security was provided for citizens by the charity of religious institutions of a voluntary nature. In both cases, civil society rather than the state was the principal actor. Many European states have had a very mixed and strong private system of social security for a long time, with ample room for the private initiatives of social organisations and religious institutions. In modern welfare states, many of these arrangements have been collectivised and nationalised, due to which the distance between citizens and social security institutions has widened greatly. These days, social security is – at least in the eyes of large groups of citizens – implemented by anonymous, unrecognisable and bureaucratic organisations.The question therefore is, what it would mean in terms of responsiveness if social security institutions were would be ‘of ’ citizens instead of ‘for’ citizens. Such ‘non-nationalised’ or ‘socialised’ institutions may perhaps provide answers to the variety and fluctuations in citizens’ opinions that came to the fore in Chapter Two. These are primarily normative questions, to which we will return in 32

A framework for analysing policy responsiveness

detail in Chapter Seven, using the empirical knowledge that we will acquire from the case studies. But not only are the preferences of citizens or interest groups rarely if ever identical, social, social-economic and cultural developments also rarely point in the same direction. Therefore, the normative question arises, to which preferences or which developments social policies should then be responsive? Or, put as an empirical question that can be answered within the context of this study, to which preferences or developments has the policy been responsive? And exactly how do policy systems select the developments that absolutely require responsiveness, and which development have they ignored? To answer these questions, in the next three chapters we will analyse the responsiveness of three social policy domains. An empirical analysis will help us find our way through the huge number of – sometimes conflicting – concepts and theoretical approaches. An empirical approach will allow us to track down and explain a lack, or abundance, of responsiveness in the cases. For the empirical analysis, we will use an analysis framework in which an important part of the literature about policy change and responsiveness is integrated, and that also does justice to the tensions and dilemmas that are connected with the issue of responsiveness. In this chapter, we will introduce and expound on that framework.

Policy change in different shapes and sizes In Chapter One, we defined responsiveness as the degree of congruence between policy development, social developments and changes in the value patterns of relevant actors. From the viewpoint of responsiveness, it is important to examine whether there is congruence between the developments that policy has undergone in a certain domain, the value patterns of the relevant actors and the social-economic and social-cultural differences. In order to analyse this responsiveness in this study, we use a research approach that Elmore (1983) referred to as a combination of ‘forward mapping’ and ‘backward mapping’. On the one hand, we will make a detailed analysis of the policy developments in three domains and attempt to explain the changes we track down. This will be the backward mapping side of the study. Simultaneously, we will analyse the changes in public preferences, social-economic and social-cultural developments, and examine to what degree these changes affected policy. This will be the forward mapping aspect. A first step in the analysis framework is the analysis of the way in which policy has developed over time. Whoever pores over the 33

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literature about the stability and dynamics of policy is soon in danger of becoming entangled in a great variety of definitions, explanatory models and theoretical concepts. In this study, it is mainly important that we are able to ascertain the differences and similarities in the degree and direction of change in the three cases.That is why we start from a rather simple basic model of policy change that is based on the arrangement as proposed by Hogwood & Peters (1983; see also Bekkers, 2007). The following five degrees of policy change may be discerned: 1. Stability 2. Policy maintenance 3. Policy succession 4. Policy innovation 5. Policy termination. Stability of policy Although at first glance it is an academic issue, in the case of a comparative analysis it is important to emphasise that in many reports in the literature ‘no change’ is regarded as the standard option for policy systems that have been functioning for quite some time. Sabatier and Jenkins-Smith (1999) referred to such policy systems as ‘mature’› policy systems, in which the relationships have been crystallised and an institutional playing field has emerged that is focused on the relevant policy system. The players in this field balance each other out, so that without interventions from outside there will be no change in policy. Other authors have developed similar perspectives in which the established interests and solidified beliefs of the relevant actors balance one another out for a long period of time (see also, for instance, Baumgartner & Jones, 1993; Sabatier & Jenkins-Smith, 1999). Apart from the idea of balance, the idea of path dependency is also important for stability in a policy system to occur. In the literature on path dependency (see, for instance, Pierson, 2004; Streeck & Thelen, 2005), it is emphasised that the choice for certain solutions that are, historically, often rational, may be less rational in altered circumstances, but that the costs of change are so high that the suboptimal solution is still held onto.These costs concern, among other things, breaking with developed organisational routines, the dismantling of organisations and investments becoming obsolete. A classic example is the development of the QWERTY keyboard. In the first typewriters, the type bars to which the letters were moulded often became entangled. In order to reduce this risk, the most frequently used letter combinations were 34

A framework for analysing policy responsiveness

placed as far apart as possible. In the current electronic era typewriters are things of the past, but the QWERTY keyboard is still massively used, despite the potentially major efficiency gain that may be achieved with a more efficiently designed keyboard (see David, 1985).1 The interpretation of path dependency described above relies heavily on the economic approach to which transaction costs are central. In policy studies, path dependency is also emphatically related to the ‘solidified’ values and beliefs that are inherent in institutions. Policy makers, politicians and people involved interpret or ‘frame’ problems and developments on the basis of these solidified values and beliefs and also try to find solutions from this perspective. This, too, leads to path dependency. Path dependency can, therefore, be regarded as a limitation of the policy systems’ ability to be responsive.This does not necessarily have to be considered a negative thing: path dependency is, on the one hand, an important guarantee against too great a degree of volatility and efficiency loss and, on the other hand, it may lead to incapability to respond adequately to relevant developments. Policy maintenance With this type of policy change, the policy is merely marginally adapted to previous experiences with the policy or to altered circumstances.The changes are primarily aimed at a more accurate harmony or refinement of the instruments of the policy. The instruments themselves or the policy objectives are not under discussion. This type of policy change includes, for instance, adjustments in the amounts of benefits or the exact distribution of budgets. In this context, Hall (1993) spoke of the ‘first order’ of policy change, whereas Sabatier (1993) referred to the ‘secondary aspects’ of a policy. Pollitt and Bouckaert (2009) used the metaphor of a tortoise for this type of change process, meaning that the policy only moves very, very slowly and in a more or less straight line. Streeck and Thelen (2005) emphasised that the functioning of a policy can fundamentally change, even in the absence of visibly radical changes in that policy. This might be the case when, for instance, the effects of a policy measure alter as a result of changes in external conditions, while the rule remains the same. They referred to this type of change as ‘drift’. The domain of the host family child care domain offers a good example. Although host family child care was first intended as a 1   Although this example has given rise to the inevitable discussions about the value of path dependency. See, for instance, Leibowitz & Margolis (1990).

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The responsiveness of social policies in Europe

measure to encourage small-scale child care at home, it appeared that the scheme could also be interpreted in a way that voluntary care by grandparents could be subsidised in a tax friendly way.As a consequence, informal child care has now been formalised. A second type of change that may also be classified under this heading concerns the strategy of conversion. This occurs when rules remain the same formally, but are interpreted and applied in a new way in practice. An example within the domain of social policy is the socalled preventative redundancy assessment. The Centres for Work and Income had to approve dismissal applications by employers. In practice, it appeared that the centres approved the great majority of applications, which now means that the repressive redundancy system exists mainly on paper (see also Van Drongelen & Van Rijs, 2003). At this level of policy change, therefore, path dependency also plays an important role, not so much as a barrier against every form of policy change, but as an explanation for the fact that policy maintenance is a form of policy change that follows the same path taken by the policy system and thus confirms it. Policy succession With this type of policy change, the changes are in line with existing policy. The assumptions that lie at the bottom of the policy or the objectives of the policy are not under discussion. Examples of this type of change are widening of the target group, increasing enforcement, changes in the implementing organisation or the application of new instruments. Hall (1993) referred to this type of change as ‘second order’ policy changes. These changes can also be typified as changes in the ‘policy core’ (Sabatier, 1993). Aspects that, according to Sabatier & Jenkins-Smith (1993: 221), are part of this policy core are beliefs about the desired target group for the policy, the desired role of the government in this policy system and the policy instruments that are needed to realise the objectives of the policy.This form of change shows great similarity with the strategy that Streeck and Thelen referred to as ‘layering’: the addition of new rules to an existing institution. Despite the incremental and gradual nature by which this type of policy change takes place, Streeck & Thelen (2005) emphasised that these gradual processes of change can also result in fundamental changes (see also Mahoney & Thelen, 2010). Pollitt & Bouckaert (2009) underlined this aspect. They spoke of a process of gradual, but eventually potentially fundamental, change in this context, and used the metaphor of the stalactite for clarification. 36

A framework for analysing policy responsiveness

Policy innovation Hall (1993) referred to this type of policy change as a paradigm shift. In this policy change, the objectives of the policy and/or the assumptions on which the policy is based are fundamentally altered. The classic example given by Hall for this type of policy change – which he refers to as ‘third order’ – is the transition from an economic policy in the 1970s that was based on Keynesian principles to one that is more focused on the supply side. Streeck and Thelen (2005) called this type of policy change ‘displacement’ (replacement). Pollitt and Bouckaert (2009) spoke of a sudden, radical change and called this the change process of an ‘earthquake’. Hogwood & Peters (1983) argued that it is also a matter of policy innovation when the government enters new policy domains that arise from social developments. The issue of copyrights in cyberspace is a good example here. Characteristic of this type of change is usually also that changes in opinions do not limit themselves to a specific policy domain, but rather extend over multiple domains. In the domain of social policy, the concept of ‘participation’ is a good example of this. This involves a fundamentally altered belief about the role of labour in society, which ranges over a great variety of target groups: people who are occupationally disabled, unemployed and even those without employment who do not rely on benefits.2 Policy termination In this type of policy change, the policy is terminated. This may be because the policy was successful and the objectives were reached. It could also be that the policy is being terminated because it failed, or because it contravenes new laws and legislation (see Bekkers, 2007: 333). It is generally assumed that policy is hardly ever terminated, but rather adapted to accommodate for disappointing performance. In ‘t Veld already pointed this out in 1982 (see In ‘t Veld, 1982). Still, there are various examples, including in the domain of social policy. In many European countries, for instance, the government’s creation of additional jobs in the public sector has been terminated because these jobs turned out to develop into ‘dead-end jobs’: they did not serve as easy access to the regular labour market, rather people tended to get stuck in these jobs.

 The so-called non-benefit-entitled, in policy jargon.

2

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The responsiveness of social policies in Europe

Background to policy changes: pressure from the environment In the previous section, we discussed the different types of policy changes. For the analysis of the responsiveness of social policy it is, however, also important to know when policy changes occur, under which circumstances, and which factors enhance or obstruct responsiveness. At the abstract level, two approaches to policy change can be discerned in the literature (see Howlett, 2009; Jensen, 2009). The first primarily emphasises the continuity of existing policy. In this view, policy change in the social domain is a process of holding out the longest, in which path dependency and incremental change come first. It is true that welfare states can change, but mainly as a consequence of the processes of cumulative, gradual adaptation (see, for instance, Pierson, 2004;Thelen, 2004; Mahoney and Thelen, 2010).The second vision primarily underlines the non-continuous, abrupt and radical nature of policy changes, whether or not alternating with periods of stability. Policy change arises from power shifts, but more important is the idea that the attempts of those involved to maintain the old situation eventually prove to be unavailing. In this context, some authors have spoken of ‘critical junctures’ (for an overview, see Capoccia & Kelemen, 2007), and Baumgartner and Jones (1993) referred to ‘punctuated equilibriums’. According to Jensen (2009), institutional friction and vetoes will be able to arrest change for some time, but eventually there will be great outbursts of radical policy changes. It is, furthermore, the case that in situations with great institutional resistance, the changes will often be more severe and radical than in those with less institutional resistance (see also Jones and Baumgartner, 2005). The question of how processes of policy change progress is primarily an empirical one. A synthesis of both approaches, which may serve as a handle for an empirical analysis, can be found in Sabatier (1993). Sabatier provided an overview of the factors that can lead to policy changes, including a group of relatively stable factors, on the one hand, and a group of more dynamic external events, on the other.The stable factors may be interpreted as more or less fixed preconditions that cannot be a source of dynamics, but do influence the processes in the policy system. Under external events, he classified the environmental characteristics that actually can change and may, therefore, serve as an explanation for the occurrence of policy change. Included here by Sabatier were social-economic factors, public opinion, the governing administration and policy decisions in other policy domains. Both stable and dynamic factors form the context of a policy arena, in which groups 38

A framework for analysing policy responsiveness

of actors together add shape and content to the processes of policy formation and change. Important for the way in which Sabatier applied these factors is the insight that their influence is not deterministic. In some cases, changes in these factors do lead to policy change, but in other cases they do not. That is why an analysis of the influence of external factors should always be accompanied by an analysis of the internal factors, such as the beliefs and power of the parties involved in the policy system.This paragraph addresses the developments that exert influence on a specific policy system from the social environment.The next paragraph will look into the developments that occur within the policy system itself and that may lead to policy changes. Inspired by Sabatier, but specifically interpreted for the social domain, we distinguish four external factors that could potentially lead to policy change. This list is not exhaustive – based on the empirical analyses perhaps other groups will be added. For the analysis framework that we are developing and discussing in this chapter, the following four groups of factors act as heuristic for external developments that might lead to a reaction of a policy in the shape of a policy change: 1. Social-economic and social developments 2. Preferences of citizens 3. Attention from the media 4. Political-administrative developments. We will expound on these factors in the next part of this section. Social-economic and social developments Bookshelves, perhaps even entire libraries, can be filled with the work of authors who aimed to explain social-economic and social changes and analyse their consequences. It is, therefore, impossible to include in this study each and every one of the social-economic and social developments that might possibly be of influence on social policy. In this paragraph, we mention some important developments and tentatively argue what the consequences for social policy might be.This overview is, naturally, not exhaustive. In the chapters that describe the three cases, we expound on other developments that played an important role in the specific cases and whether or not they led to policy change. In a frequently quoted essay from 2000, Schnabel, Director of the Netherlands Institute for Social Research (2000), lists five future-determining processes and developments: individualisation, informalisation, computerisation, internationalisation and intensification. 39

The responsiveness of social policies in Europe

According to the memorandum presented by the Dutch Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, whose title translates as ‘New emphases in the domain of work and income’ (Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, 2004), the most important economic and social trends were the following: ageing, internationalisation, economic integration, technological progress, increasing heterogeneity of society, and affluent, articulate and demanding citizens. The most complete but not too obscure analysis was made by the Dutch Scientific Council for Governmental Policy (WRR) in the advisory report entitled in translation ‘The welfare state reconsidered’ (WRR, 2006).The Council made a distinction between external and internal challenges. As external challenges, the Council identified economic internationalisation and European integration. As internal challenges, the Council highlighted ageing and a decline in the birth rate, on the one hand, and social-cultural differentiation and individualisation, on the other. Despite the differences in terminology and emphases, the three above-mentioned publications reveal a great degree of consensus about important, general social and economic developments. In this study, we take the division made by the Scientific Council for Governmental Policy as our point of departure and briefly discuss the relevant developments. Economic internationalisation Open economies, like the Netherlands and Germany, have a strong international orientation and depend heavily on events in the global economy. This applies to trade in goods and services, production, financial capital and entrepreneurship, and also to information and technology.As of old, trading both within Europe and between Europe and other parts of the world is high. Under the influence of the new information and communication technologies and the new production methods and organisation formats that these helped facilitate, this international interdependence has grown substantially. According to the Dutch Scientific Council for Governmental Policy WRR (WRR 2006: 54), globalisation entered a new phase in the 1980s. After some decades of strong nation states, there then emerged increasing, cross-border competition in the capital, labour, goods and service markets. The strong increase in the number of international economic transactions and the rearrangement of the international production system may be explained by worldwide trade liberalisation, the quickening pace of technological progress, the drop in transport and communication costs, and the rise in incomes.Together, these led 40

A framework for analysing policy responsiveness

to far more mobile capital and labour production factors than ever before (see, for instance, Castells, 1996). This advancing process of economic internationalisation considerably restricts the scope for policy making for national governments and the social partners in labour market policy. The consequence may be that countries might have to be far more competitive when it comes to wages, taxes and (social) legislation. That is, if they want to keep their share in the international market for goods and services, stay an attractive place for business, and continue to generate sufficient jobs and revenues (WRR, 2006: 55). Incidentally, the empirical tenability of this assumption of a ‘race to the bottom’ has been the subject of fierce discussion for years, without it rendering a definitive answer. It seems that the available research does not support such a ‘race to the bottom’, however (see Koster, 2009). European integration The process of European integration that was started after the Second World War has not been without consequences for social policy.With the realisation of the internal market within the European Union, national economic borders have disappeared, and due to the introduction of European Monetary Union the instruments of national exchange rate and interest adjustments ceased to exist. On the grounds of the Stability and Growth Pact the national budget policy was finally restrained. We may therefore argue that part of the debate about the welfare state has shifted to European meeting halls. In a Europe with integrated markets, a properly working labour market and sound social protection are not only the business of national governments; cross-border interests also demand mutual policy coordination in nationally sensitive areas such as labour market policy and policy in respect of social security, pensions and the fight against poverty. As a joint framework for the social-economic future of Europe, the ‘Lisbon Agenda’ that was adopted by the European Council in 2000 has been an important focus point, although its success may be debated.Tangible results may be observed only in a limited number of social security domains. But the most important impact of Europeanisation lies not in the outcomes of the Lisbon process, but in the issue of cross-border European labour migration, particularly that of new EU member states. In the area of social security benefits policy, but even more clearly in the labour market policy domain, these countries’ entry to the EU has had explicit consequences for the labour market policies of other EU member states. We will discuss this in detail in Chapter Five. 41

The responsiveness of social policies in Europe

Ageing and the decline in the birth rate When it comes to demography, European societies have undergone major changes over the past 20 years. First, the composition of the population is changing as a result of the decline in the number of births and the increased lifespan. As a consequence, the population will in time decrease in number, which is something that has already started in some European countries (see Marlet & Van Woerkens, 2010). This will have far-reaching repercussions for social security. It is expected, for instance, that in 2050 there will be 4.1 people of pensionable age in the Netherlands to every ten employees; that is almost twice the current number of 2.2. This means that there will be fewer (working) people to pay social security contributions and taxes, and those smaller contributions are to be spent on more people, especially in the areas of health care and old age pensions. The decline in the birth rate will furthermore lead to structural labour shortages, which will in also have a noticeable impact on the care sector. However, the expectations are that shortages will also occur in other areas. Labour – or rather the lack thereof – might even prove to be a hampering factor for economic growth, according to some authors (WRR, 2006).Table 3.1 illustrates the declining birth rates in European countries, and highlights some remarkable differences between countries. Although we may observe a slight increase in fertility rates between 2003 and 2009, the EU‑27 average is still well below two, implying a projected decrease in population for the European Union which – although there is a high level of uncertainty – will probably start from 2050. Social-cultural differences and individualisation According to the Dutch Scientific Council for Governmental Policy (WRR, 2006: 67-70, ‘the citizen’ in modern countries has changed their appearance since the period during which the welfare state was first constructed. The life courses of citizens are more differentiated and less predictable, they are economically better off, better trained, more mobile, more individualist and articulated, and – across the board – they have also grown older. These new citizens are not only ‘external influences on’ the welfare state. They are just as much a product of it. After all, without compulsory education and schools this more highly educated and more articulate population would not have developed. The social security system has encouraged different family patterns and contributed to individualisation. The Council specifically discussed three changes: the changing role of labour 42

A framework for analysing policy responsiveness

Table 3.1: Fertility rates in the European Union EU-27 Belgium Bulgaria Czech Republic Denmark Germany Estonia Ireland Greece Spain France (1) Italy Cyprus Latvia Lithuania Luxembourg Hungary Malta Netherlands Austria Poland Portugal Romania Slovenia Slovakia Finland Sweden United Kingdom Iceland Liechtenstein Norway Switzerland Montenegro (2) Croatia FYR of Macedonia Turkey (2)

1960 : 2.54 2.31 2.09 2.57 : : 3.78 2.23 : 2.73 2.37 : : : 2.29 2.02 : 3.12 2.69 : 3.16 : : 3.04 2.72 : : : : : 2.44 : : : :

1970 : 2.25 2.17 1.92 1.95 : : 3.85 2.40 : 2.47 2.38 : : 2.40 1.97 1.98 : 2.57 2.29 : 3.01 : : 2.41 1.83 1.92 : 2.81 : 2.50 2.10 : : : :

1980 : 1.68 2.05 2.08 1.55 : : 3.21 2.23 2.20 1.95 1.64 : : 1.99 1.50 1.91 1.99 1.60 1.65 : 2.25 2.43 : 2.32 1.63 1.68 1.90 2.48 : 1.72 1.55 : : : :

1990 : 1.62 1.82 1.90 1.67 : 2.05 2.11 1.40 1.36 1.78 1.33 2.41 : 2.03 1.60 1.87 2.04 1.62 1.46 2.06 1.56 1.83 1.46 2.09 1.78 2.13 1.83 2.30 : 1.93 1.58 : : : :

2000 : 1.67 1.26 1.14 1.77 1.38 1.38 1.89 1.26 1.23 1.89 1.26 1.64 : 1.39 1.76 1.32 1.70 1.72 1.36 1.35 1.55 1.31 1.26 1.30 1.73 1.54 1.64 2.08 1.57 1.85 1.50 : : 1.88 :

2003 1.47 1.66 1.23 1.18 1.76 1.34 1.37 1.96 1.28 1.31 1.89 1.29 1.50 1.29 1.26 1.62 1.27 1.48 1.75 1.38 1.22 1.44 1.27 1.20 1.20 1.76 1.71 1.71 1.99 1.36 1.80 1.39 : 1.32 1.77 :

2009 1.59 1.84 1.57 1.49 1.84 1.36 1.62 2.07 1.52 1.40 2.00 1.41 1.51 1.31 1.55 1.59 1.32 1.43 1.79 1.39 1.40 1.32 1.38 1.53 1.41 1.86 1.94 1.94 2.23 1.71 1.98 1.50 1.77 1.49 1.52 2.10

Notes: (1) Excluding French overseas departments, up to and including 1990. (2) 2008 instead of 2009. Source: Eurostat (online data code: demo_frate)

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The responsiveness of social policies in Europe

in society, the emergence of the middle class and the process of individualisation. First, the role of labour in society has drastically changed. At the beginning of the 20th century, work was primarily a source of income. In this day and age, work has also become a mechanism for people to develop themselves and from which to derive their status. In the Netherlands, this dramatic change can be observed for both men and women. At the same time, labour is not the only social-cultural value in the Netherlands. The Dutch attach great value to time for care and family, and to leisure time (WRR, 2006). Second, the Netherlands has changed into a middle class society according to the Dutch Scientific Council for Governmental Policy. Distinction according to status has practically disappeared, and the differences between classes have become smaller. Since the end of the First World War, lower income groups have benefited more from the growth in wealth than their higher counterparts. Inequalities in income have also decreased, partly due to compulsory participation in pension funds. In 1939, capital gains only accounted for 21% of the Dutch national income. In 1977, it was only 4%. Wages have become increasingly important, as has money received from social security. Aside from this levelling, there are, incidentally, shifts in affluence and poverty between population groups. During the past 20 years, for instance, the risk of poverty in the Netherlands has shifted from older people to children and the families they grow up in. In addition, Bovens (2006) argued that educational levels have created a new class division in society. According to him, the Netherlands is on its way to becoming a meritocracy, where not only income and opportunities are determined by someone’s educational level, but also their social interactions and political participation. Third, the phenomenon of individualism can be considered as a social-cultural way of life. The social relationships in which many Europeans live have changed in nature: they have become broader and more variable. The traditional frameworks for social integration, such as church, army and neighbourhood, have lost part of their influence. Citizens enjoy more freedom to arrange their lives according to their own preferences and also have the resources to do so, especially in the countries of northwest Europe, although this is rapidly changing in other countries as well. From this perspective, the consequences of the large-scale immigration of groups of non-Western employees are also of major importance. It hardly needs explaining that, as a consequence of this immigration by mainly Turkish, Moroccan and other non-European 44

A framework for analysing policy responsiveness

migrants, cultural multiformity in European countries has increased. The backgrounds of these migrants and their relative contribution differ significantly and vary with the colonial history of the countries, but it may be safely stated that many European countries are now struggling with the social and cultural consequences of immigration. Preferences of citizens The preferences of citizens in democratic societies are usually taken to be an important factor in policy design. Both through formal representative democratic processes and by other means such as opinion polls, media reports, and participation and consultation in the decision making process, citizens actively influence policy. Brooks and Manza (2006) showed convincingly that there is a correlation between the design of social policy and the beliefs of the population about social policy. Hobolt and Klemmensen (2005) also demonstrated that there is a connection between the design of policy and the policy preferences of citizens, although they also showed that responsiveness varies over time and between countries.The latter underscores the importance of the quest for factors that influence responsiveness. Shifts in the preferences of citizens, whether or not in an organised group, may therefore also be an important source of policy changes in social policy – and where shifts in those preferences are not translated into policy, the policy might lose some of it legitimacy. There are, however, different factors that might hamper that translation. In the first place, it is by no means always clear what exactly ‘the citizen’ expects from the government, since citizens’ opinions vary widely, and increasingly so. In Chapter Two, we demonstrated that there is a strong and growing variance in the preferences of citizens where social policy is concerned. Frissen (2009: 213-214) took this a step further and considered democracy to be not an articulation of popular sovereignty, but of social plurality in the sovereignty of the state. According to him, political unity is a unity of differences.‘The population’ as a unity does not exist, he argued, and does not have a singular will. Especially in times when social-cultural barriers have broken down and individualisation and deideologisation are on the rise, these differences grow stronger. In other words, where responsiveness is concerned, policy should show a relation with whatever the population wants, but should also aim to unite those irreconcilable, multiform wishes. Second, it remains to be seen whether and how these diffuse and fragmented preferences of citizens manage to gain access to the policy arena. In the first place, much research into the processes of agenda 45

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setting has clearly revealed that not all citizens, or groups, have equal access to the policy agenda. Not all citizens are equally listened to, and not all are equally competent to have politicians and policy makers listen to their wishes and demands. Besides, the more messages the government receives, the greater the danger that access gets jammed. ‘Blocked agenda setting’ is, therefore, regarded as one of the important explanations for the rise of populist politicians throughout Europe: they succeed (or succeeded) in uniting weakly organised voices that had had limited political activity and gaining their support, and they use this unity to sound a very strong signal. In the third place, there are not only groups of citizens that struggle to be heard in policy processes, but also groups that do not feel the need to be heard. This may be because they agree with the policy – which is the group that is also referred to as the ‘silent majority’. Another group simply turned their backs on ‘the government and their politics’ – so decidedly that they no longer take the trouble to have their voice heard. Van De Brink (2002) described this group as the ‘resigned’ citizens.The existence of these groups thus increases the danger that the messages policy makers and politicians receive are merely a small part of the total collection of messages that the population wishes to send. One of our respondents put it as: «the loudest voices are heard the best». Fourth and finally, there is a complex pattern of feedback relations between the beliefs of citizens, the media and the policy system. Baumgartner and Jones (1993) demonstrated that where individual voices are not always heard, a noticeable interplay between media, citizens and policy may arise. They identified two types of feedback: positive and negative. Positive feedback amplifies the ‘system-disrupting’ sounds from the world outside; negative feedback quietens these voices. In summary, for this part of the analytical framework it can be concluded that changes in citizens› preferences in a representative democracy may be important motives for policy change, but there are quite a few barriers that hamper direct translation into policy. Furthermore, this entire chapter makes clear that quite a large number of other factors affect the way in which policy develops over time, so that we may not assume a simple monocausal relation between citizens› preferences and the policy content on those grounds either. Attention from the media Scientific literature increasingly acknowledges the role of the media in processes of policy change (see for instance Jones and Baumgartner, 46

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2005). There is broad consensus about the fact that the media play an increasingly important role in politics, administration and policy. Again, it is virtually impossible to provide a complete overview of developments in the media and their consequences for these areas. Given the scale of the subject of this study, the extent of this chapter does not allow for it. Two subjects specifically deserve attention. The first concerns the changing nature of the media and the consequences this might have for the relationship between citizens and government. Second, we consider the rise of new media and their influence on political and administrative issues. As regards the first subject,‘the media’ – a phrase which indeed does not do justice to the heterogeneity within this group – have three important characteristics. In the first place, their presence is increasingly felt. The number of news sources has grown extensively during the last decade. A variety of TV networks, radio stations, newspapers – paid for and free – and websites bombard citizens with ‘news’ and their interpretations of it. It is not unusual for the media to also ‘create’ news. Small incidents are blown up into items with news value. Mutual competition also plays a role in this.Whoever can ‘create’ news is a step ahead in the competition.The government is also clever in using it: an army of public relations (PR) officials, communication directors and spin doctors attempt to respond to media reports and influence those reports as well. They provide journalists with information and determine the content and framing of interviews with politicians. These processes mutually enhance one another (see Verhoeven, 2009). Second, the important role of the media changes the nature of their reports about politics and administration. Verhoeven (2009: 59) argued that the representation of politics as a rational, content specific debate is being mixed with emotional elements that we recognise from entertainment shows and other popular cultural manifestations. Citizens’ images of politics are increasingly shaped by infotainment and politainment. In an advisory report in 2003, the Dutch Council for Social Development (RMO) discussed the idea of media logic. A good example is the media’s tendency to look upon politics in terms of a ‘contest’, so-called ‘horse race’ reporting (RMO, 2003). This has, for example, also changed the nature of political debates around elections. Nowadays, TV debates take the form of fierce dialogues, in which refinement is lost but the image of the ‘winner’ or ‘loser’ comes to the fore even more pointedly. A third characteristic is that political decision making increasingly takes place through the media. Plenary meetings of parliament or 47

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ministers are not the occasions where decisions are taken, but rather the forerunners in TV debates, the trial balloons that are floated in newspapers by way of letters to the editor, and tweets on Twitter – see also the next segment – are the arenas where the actual decisions are made. Witteveen et al (1995) spoke of the ‘removal’ of politics. That removal encompasses not only a transfer from authority of national politics to the – much more technocratic – European level, but also from our governmental buildings to TV studios. Some authors, of whom Elchardus (2002) is a prominent representative, believe these are negative developments and consider the media as the primary instigators of social discontent and mistrust towards the political arena. According to him, we are living in a ‘drama democracy’ in which the media blow up incidents and disasters and lay the blame on the political system. Other authors, however, have seen the sunny side and argued that this enhances political involvement, as it lowers the threshold for politicians, facilitates collective action and makes politics more appealing (see Verhoeven, 2009).There is no hard empirical evidence to support either of these views although – given the empirical evidence that is available – the negative view seems to be less convincing. A second important development where the media are concerned is the rise of what is also referred to as social media. An important effect of these social media – such as YouTube, Hyves, Facebook, and Twitter – is that the reports are unfiltered and can be published in real time. This allows for all sorts of new processes of agenda setting and social organisation (see Edwards, 2003; Bekkers et  al, 2009). Where access to publicity was limited and unequally allocated in the past, we are now seeing a strong democratisation of the media.Virtually every citizen has, or can have, access to YouTube and other forms of social media. Groups with the same specific interest can thus fairly simply find one another. Bekkers et al (2009) gave the example of the student protest against the standard of 1,040 hours, a minimum standard for the number of hours of yearly teaching in secondary schools. They showed how dynamically and quickly this protest could take place with the help of social media – mainly Hyves, in this case – and how the tough police actions against this protest could be watched on YouTube almost directly afterwards. The position of power of citizens – both individually and collectively – in their role as agenda setters as well as inspectors of policy implementation has greatly gained in strength.

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Political-administrative developments The organisation of the implementation of social security in European countries has undergone drastic changes since the 1980s. As a consequence of the ideas of the new public management, some countries chose to privatise parts of their social security systems, whereas in other countries shifts towards decentralisation can be observed. Fenger (2006) describes the variety of shifts for four countries and shows that the trend of these shifts varies not only among countries, but also within countries for different parts of the welfare state, like social assistance and employment policies. Many of these shifts have been documented in depth (see, for instance, Bannink, 1999;Van Gestel et al, 2009).Without repeating the content of this literature, we can say that where political administration was concerned, three developments were important to this study: the disentwining of organised interests in the implementation of social policy; the introduction of ‘new public management’; and decentralisation. The first important development concerns the disentwining of organised interest in the implementation of social security.This can be observed in the Netherlands, but also in other corporatist welfare states. Traditionally, in corporatist welfare states employers’ and employees’ organisations used to play an important role in the implementation of social security. However, in the Netherlands the role of these organisations has been strongly reduced since the 1990s. Supervision of the implementation of social security has become more independent and benefits are now increasingly implemented by independent, autonomous administrative bodies. A second significant development – recognisable in many parts of public administration – is the implementation of new public management. The concept of new public management was introduced by Osborne and Gaebler in 1992. Four elements are essential to this concept: resultorientation, client-orientation, efficient operation, and rivalry and competition. Each of these four elements can be detected in the reforms in the social domain that were introduced at the end of the last century. Welfare agencies should now justify their financial and policy based performance to a greater extent. Furthermore, a market of competition was introduced for occupational rehabilitation programmes, which before then were provided by public organisations. In the third place, there has been a significant movement towards decentralisation in many policy domains in Europe. Kazepov and his colleagues (see Kazepov, 2010) show that, especially in the domain

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of welfare and social security, the role of municipalities has expanded greatly.

The internal background to policy changes In the previous section, we introduced some external factors that may be sources of change in social policies. This does not imply that we wish to propagate a deterministic view on policy processes. On the contrary, in the perception of responsiveness that is central to this study, it is in fact the policy system’s response to changing circumstances that influences the legitimacy of policy. Internal characteristics of the policy system are, therefore, a great influence on the way in which social policy develops. The following internal factors can be distinguished: 1. Politics 2. Policy learning 3. Policy accumulation and reflexivity. The politics of reforms in social policy It is hardly remarkable that we regard politics to be an important internal source of change in this study. Giving direction to decisions about who receives what, and when, is, after all, the core of politics. Still, from the point of view of responsiveness there is far more to say about the role of politicians in policy changes in social policy than merely establishing that it is an important one. In the first place, the political colour of the ruling government is of course important where the content of policy is concerned. A change of government increases the chance of policy change. It is true that the processes of path dependency restrain the intensity of the change so that many changes are in line with the delineated ‘path’, but that does not take away the fact that a change in a government may be a source of policy change (see Sabatier, 1993). Naturally, it is subject to discussion to what degree these are ‘internal’ or ‘external’ changes in government. In this study, we choose to regard all political factors as ‘internal’ to the policy system. A second comment about the role of politics in changes in social policy relates to the specific nature of politics. In a very influential study about reform processes in the welfare state, Pierson (1994) argued that vote maximisation in forthcoming elections is an important motive to politicians. Drastic reforms in the welfare state go hand in hand with high political costs.This is primarily due to the fact that reforms often 50

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affect specific groups relatively quickly, whereas the yields – a reduction in the national debt, for example – are shared by the entire population and will only become visible in the very long term. Nevertheless, politicians sometimes cannot get away from reforms. Pierson focused on cutbacks as a consequence of the economic recession in the 1980s, but his book is still very relevant today. He argued that in times of economic recession, interventions in the major expenditure item called the welfare state – and it is just that – cannot be avoided. Politicians do not thereby automatically sign their own death warrant, as Reagan, Thatcher and others have shown. Successful reform politicians manage to apply one or more strategies that minimise political costs. They manage to do so by, first, ‘hiding’ the reforms. A first example is the abandoning of the automatic indexing of benefits. Each year, the benefit recipient duly receives a little more benefit than in the previous year, but later discovers that the real value of the benefit has diminished considerably because the inflation correction has not been implemented in full. A second example of this strategy is to obscure one’s own role, for instance by imposing cutbacks on implementing organisations like municipalities and the Implementation Agency for Employees’ Insurances (UWV), and then leaving it up to them as to how to meet the retrenchment objective. It will then be the organisation that is the evil demon in the eyes of the citizen, rather than the politician who is ultimately responsible. Distribution is a second strategy. Wherever there are coalitions between clients and suppliers of services, the politicians are faced with fierce opposition. If they manage to drive a wedge between both groups – between, for instance, care providers and patients, or students and educational institutes – resistance will be far less fierce.This strategy also enables them to communicate that they have the support of ‘the field’ for their interventions. A third strategy is compensation. Particularly when the compensation is offered to the group that will be taking the strongest actions against the change proposed, or that can count on the most public sympathy, this can be a useful strategy. In short, if we are to understand properly the role of political processes in policy change, we have to be aware of the political risks, and we can sometimes relate the content of the policy changes to the strategies that politicians use to control these risks. Based on Van der Steen (2009) we could add another strategy: ‘aggravating’ the situation, by insinuating that intervening is inevitable and that the politician would not do so if it were not absolutely necessary, and that they attempt to gain support for far-reaching reforms. Here, too, the blame is put not on the politician, but rather on external circumstances that cannot be controlled or be held responsible. 51

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Policy learning in social policy Policy learning has been considered an important source for policy change by a range of authors (see, for instance, Hall, 1993; Sabatier, 1993; Bekkers, 2007; Van Gestel et al, 2009; Béland, 2009). However, ‘learning’ is a vague term, applied to all kinds of policy change – whether it is relevant or not. In this study, we support the view of Bekkers (2007: 300), who defined policy learning as a process of cognitive development based on knowledge, experience and insight that is aimed at systematically improving the functioning of the policy system. In this context,Visser and Hemerijck (1997) referred to ‘puzzle solving’ – improving the performance of a policy system cognitively. It is difficult to isolate policy learning as a source of change from other possible sources. It was not for nothing that Heclo (1994) postulated that ideas and power jointly cause public policy change (see also Van Gestel et al, 2009: 28).This also explains why studies into policy change and policy learning tend to fan out widely towards additional causal explanations.3 Sabatier (1993: 30) argued that actors’ policy belief systems have three layers. The most abstract is the level of the deep core. This core comprises the fundamental normative and ontological axioms that represent a person’s or actor’s personal philosophy.The next level is the policy core that is made up of policy strategies and preferences needed to transpose the beliefs from the deeper core into the concrete policy subsystem. Finally, the secondary aspects comprise the instrumental decisions that are needed to implement the policy core in a specific subsystem. It is primarily the beliefs from the policy core that lead the actors to find one another in a policy coalition. A central assumption in the work of Sabatier is that the more abstract the level of policy beliefs becomes, the more stable these beliefs will be. This means that a change of policy beliefs is more probable for secondary aspects than for the beliefs from the cores. The resistance against processes of policy change can be explained from the great degree of stability of policy beliefs. When striking policy changes do occur however, they arise from changes in the beliefs at the level of the policy core.This is what Sabatier refers to as policy learning. Policy learning can take place at both the individual and collective level. Policy learning can come about through: 3   A reproach that, incidentally, can also be made in the other direction: authors who emphasise the role of power in policy networks, quite often appeal to additional cognitive explanations (see Fenger and Klok, 2001).

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• • • •

changes in the beliefs of individuals spreading of new beliefs or insights new members joining a policy coalition group dynamics, such as conflicts within the policy coalition.

Policy accumulation and reflexivity According to the British sociologist Anthony Giddens, reflexivity is one of the key characteristics of modern day societies (Giddens, 1994). Reflexivity refers to the phenomenon that citizens are acting increasingly more according to their individual beliefs, and increasingly less on the basis of (religious or moral) traditional values. ‘Education, emancipation and individualisation have produced self-willed, independently thinking citizens, who do not want to be tied to the public authorities› apron strings’, Trommel put it (2009: 12). For our study, it is mainly important that actors, consciously or unconsciously, adapt their behaviour to the standards and values implied in the policy. The drastic growth in the number of cases of people with occupational disability in the 1980s, for instance, may be explained by the way in which employers and employees strategically adapted to the demands from, and opportunities offered by, the relevant legislation.According to Beck, society thus adapts to the government’s interventions so that the effect of those interventions by definition leads to unprecedented and unpredictable effects (Beck, 1992; see also Van Vliet and Frissen, 2010). Engbersen (2009: 32) described the phenomena in this paragraph from the perspective of the unintended outcomes of social policy. He postulated that the complexity of social and economic relations in modern day society is high, and that the impact of policy interventions on those relations is often difficult to predict. ‘Governments furthermore intervene in increasingly more areas and with increasingly more different instruments.This may also lead to the phenomenon of different forms of governmental policy interfering with one another, making the effects of interventions even more difficult to predict.’ In this context, Engbersen referred to the sociologist Boudon, who cast strong doubts on the manipulability of modern day society through social policy. Boudon argued: The ubiquity of perverse effects casts considerable doubt on what I would call cybernetic utopias, or utopias that represent societies programmed or open to programming.As modern industrial societies grow in complexity they seem to me, contrary to modern belief, to move further away from 53

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the ideal (or the nightmare) of general programming rather than drawing closer to it. (Boudon 1982: 8, in Engbersen, 2009: 32) Based on Engbersen (2009: 33–40), we can distinguish five types of unintended effects that may undermine the success of policy: 1. Functional disruption: the policy can throw a system off balance.The (unwanted) low labour participation among older employees in this day and age, for instance, is partly a result of a policy to encourage early retirement (see also Trommel, 1995). 2. Exploitation: the policy can hold an invitation to abuse or improper use. 3. Shifts in objectives: the policy›s tools become an objective in themselves. For instance, research into the effectiveness of occupational rehabilitation programmes revealed that the successful completion of a programme can sometimes stand in the way of accepting a job. 4. Classification: the classification of a situation can elicit an unintended effect. The classification of a neighbourhood as a ‘problematic neighbourhood’, for example, can have consequences for housing prices and the attitudes of the occupants in the area. 5. Provocation: the policy induces a phenomenon that it actually tries to avoid. The large-scale deployment of police during events, for instance, can actually induce violence.The construction of additional traffic lanes and the associated decline in travelling times can, for some people, be a reason to travel by car instead of public transport – so that traffic jams will not disappear after all. According to various authors, these mechanisms lead to increasingly intensive, but necessarily more effective, conduct by the government. In ’t Veld (1982; see also Frissen, 2007) spoke of the Law of Policy Accumulation that comes into effect whenever a policy is continually further refined in the pursuit of control over unintended consequences. Actors constantly adapt their behaviour to the new, refined regulations, thus prompting the need for even further refinement. In this way, the policy falls into a ‘regulation trap’. Furthermore, over time the actors ‘learn’ to deal more and more cleverly with the demands that the policy puts on them.This implies that, as a result of the actors› learning behaviour, the effectiveness of new policy can slacken as time goes by. The stimulus to change behaviour introduced by that policy dies out. This too is often followed by new, more intensive policy. 54

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In the social domain this process is even enhanced, because ambitions only seem to grow. Social policy should no longer fight the symptoms of deprivation and inequality, but proactively attempt to prevent them.The Scientific Council for Governmental Policy (WRR, 2006) argued, for instance, that the welfare state should be transformed into a social investment state, with ‘uplifting’ and ‘connection’ as central objectives. In this context,Trommel (2009) spoke of the New Welfare School. New Welfare focuses on providing individual citizens with the equipment to lead a wise, healthy and productive life.Van der Lans (2008) typified this school as the school of ‘towards’, that replaces the patronising ‘on top’ school of the post-war reconstruction years or the emancipatory idea of  ‘beside’ of the 1970s. Both Trommel (2009) and Frissen (2009) pointed out that a potentially infinite amount of policy can be formulated from this perspective. Trommel stated: Neglecting young children, making poor career choices, unhealthy eating, scraping through, frequent pub visits, too little physical exercise, living on the internet, making no efforts in school, not learning the Dutch language, wasting your time, sailing around the world: all these and many other issues can damage the national welfare and therefore belong to the hunting ground of the New Welfare programmes. (Trommel, 2009: 16–17) In this context, Trommel referred to ‘avid administration’, whereas Frissen referred to what he called: the emancipatory ideals of democratisation and the interventionist practices that form the elaboration of these ideals in modernity. The special combination of a paternalistic discourse, so typical of the welfare state and modern society, and the deployment of technocratic knowledge and professional practices has led to an extensive whole of policy panoptic, in which normal and disciplined citizens must be produced. (Frissen, 2009: 141–142; see also Scott, 1998) This, Frissen argued, first leads to drastic interventions behind the front door, under the bed and between the ears. It leads to a system of interventions that in any case will be based on mistrust and paternalism. In the second place, it leads to bureaucratic relations in public domains and between public and political domains. In addition, 55

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Streeck (2009) emphasised the inherent controversy that is ingrained in modern capitalism: that of simultaneously encouraging and curbing entrepreneurship and market expansion. He argued that economic actions – profit maximisation and rationalisation – take place within a context of non-rational social institutions that hamper economic rationality. Economic actors repeatedly seek and find new ways to achieve the goal of profit maximisation, by bypassing those social institutions, or by exploiting or influencing them. This enhances the process of permanent institutional change. Many of the authors discussed above gave the process of increased interweaving of government and society a negative assessment. There were nevertheless authors whose judgement was milder. Boutellier (2006), for instance, demonstrated that it is not only the government itself that is responsible for this increased interweaving; the population ascribes a great part of the responsibility for problems pertaining to social and physical security to the government. Boutellier once, and very aptly, used the metaphor of the citizen who sees no problem in bungee jumping from a high bridge, but expects the government to ensure that the cord, to which he commits his life, is inspected, certified and guaranteed safe.Van Dam (2009) postulated that due to the institutions of the modern day welfare state – and the associated argument that a benefit was a right and not something to be ashamed of – the belief gradually arose that any fate or bad luck that someone encountered was an injustice that should be righted by the government. In this way, natural disasters also became failures by the government.‘Paradoxically enough, the idea arose that the government should bother the citizen as little as possible, but at the same time the government was held responsible for anything that could happen to that citizens’ (Van Dam, 2009: 151). Trommel and Arentsen (2005: 17) referred to De Tocqueville, who came up with the mechanism of  ‘rising expectations’ as a possible explanation for the French Revolution. De Tocqueville showed that it was in fact the improved living conditions prior to the revolution that led to a climate of opinion that put continually higher demands on the conduct of the government. They found a parallel in this with the contemporary combination of a strong consumerist attitude in citizens and an unbroken belief in manipulability. The core of this reasoning as regards policy accumulation and the interweaving of government and society is as follows: policy changes take place as a result of a policy maker’s desire to exercise increasingly greater and more detailed control over social and societal processes. Although this usually happens with good intentions, it brings about a system that is alienating, delegitimising and thus counterproductive. 56

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The empirical question that needs answering now is to what extent the processes of interweaving and policy accumulation can be found in the three cases that we are to describe in detail, and what consequences this has for the legitimacy and responsiveness of the policy in those cases.

How much responsiveness can a policy endure? In the previous two sections, we looked into the internal and external factors that influence the processes of policy change and responsiveness. It became clear that policy change is a complex, multicausal phenomenon. Responsive policies have many creators. Our study concentrates on the relationship between the responsiveness of social policy and its sustainability, specifically in times of significant austerity. Even more than in the previous chapter, we are now faced with the question of whether, and, if so, to which of these factors policy should be responsive in order to contribute to continued support for these policies. And as indicated earlier in this book, the current economic crisis multiplies the challenges of modern welfare states: financial sustainability of national budgets has to be united with the seemingly conflicting goal of relieving the burden of those hit by the economic crisis.To make it even more complex, it is not unthinkable that different factors require policy change in different directions. That is not only a complicated problem for politicians and policy makers, but also for researchers who have chosen responsiveness as their central focus for analysing processes of welfare state development. There is no simple solution for this. This is, however, no reason to immediately do away with our interpretation of responsiveness. However much used heuristically, there is much to say for the view that policy that fully ignores the beliefs of the population, however different these might be, is experienced as less legitimate than policy that does do justice to the will of the people to a certain extent. It is likewise understandable that policy that completely ignores changes in the environment will be experienced as less legitimate than policy that to a certain degree responds to changes in that environment. At the same time, it can be easily understood from the approach to policy change that we are developing that policy change experiences many obstructions. This shows that the situations we described earlier are not solely hypothetical. We have to conclude, furthermore, that there is also something called ‘too responsive’ policy. Policy that swims with the tide of changing preferences of (groups of) citizens, leads to an unreliable government. Van Dam (2009: 242), for instance, quoted a pre-recommendation of 57

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the Dutch Lawyers Association regarding the values of social law by Van der Heijden and Noordam (2001). They postulated that: … social security law often blows along with the whimsical winds of Parliament.To a high degree, it is policy-dependent law, law without a backbone, instrument law, law of a low normative calibre. Social security law is like a wind flag, blowing this way or that.The political rationality dominates. The legislator determines a certain course, and backtracks shortly afterwards. (Van der Heijden and Noordam, 2001) Such fickle policy also leads major public sectors to a state of permanent change and, therefore, confusion.A number of authors have argued that some social sectors were already close to that point (see, for instance, Fenger, 2001;Vis et al, 2008;Van Gestel et al, 2009). In a similar vein, policy that is constantly adapting to changes in the environment is exclusively reactive, whereas in some cases proactive interventions might possibly make major social problems more controllable. Lastly, such a permanent change process is based on a belief in a manipulable society, even though it is very much a question of to what extent the changes will ever achieve the desired objectives. In the science of public administration, the concept of resilience has become extremely popular recently (see Huitema et  al, 2010). Resilience is also defined as ‘the ability of a system to absorb pressure and reorganise itself accordingly, while the essential function, structure and identity of the system remain the same’ (Walker et al, 2004). According to Huitema et al (2010), resilience is an ambiguous concept. On the one hand, it refers to a system›s stability, persistence and power of repair and, on the other, it refers to flexibility, adaptivity and development. Three logics Various recent studies have concentrated on the relationship between the characteristics of social problems and those of the social policy systems focused on these problems (see, for instance, Trommel and Arentsen, 2005; Noordegraaf, 2004). In this study, we follow the arrangements described above by identifying three umbrella logics to which policy can be responsive, on the basis of the factors addressed in this chapter. Changes in the characteristics of those logics – both objective and perceived – will, to a greater or lesser extent, pressurise politicians and policy makers to adapt policy to the ‘new’ characteristics. 58

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We distinguish between the logic of the external environment, the logic of public preferences, and the logic of the policy system. The logic of the external environment exercises pressure on policy makers and politicians to adapt policy to changed social-economic and/or social-cultural circumstances. Processes of social construction subsequently determine how those demands from the environment are interpreted by different politicians and policy makers, but for the moment we assume the existence of a set of more or less objective developments, even though policy makers and politicians interpret and value them in different ways and, consequentially, their action perspective is not always clear.4 A rise in average life expectancy, a decline in the value of the euro, or halting economic growth are more or less objective realities that may be a reason for policy makers to reconsider existing policy. However, as objective as these developments might seem at first glance, their weighting and interpretation will always have to be subject to political democratic decision making. For politicians and policy makers it is sometimes tempting to consider political-democratic procedures as annoying obstructions and declare them superfluous.They refer to the great catastrophe that will arise if the adjustments – which, in their eyes, are necessary and inevitable – are not made. We therefore conceptualise the extreme form of responsiveness to external developments as a technocratic temptation: the desire to translate changes in circumstances in a rational and linear manner into policy adjustments. It is not uncommon for this temptation to go hand in hand with contempt for the people; the population is too ‘dumb’ to ‘understand’ that the intended changes are an absolute necessity. The second logic is the logic of public preferences. Public preferences are necessarily pluriform and different, if people know what they want, anyway. Apart from that, these ‘little preferences’ enter the policy system through different channels, whether or not selectively shaped or amplified. Nevertheless, we assume that the logic of public preferences exercises pressure on policy makers and politicians in a policy system to change the policy in accordance with the perceived desires of the population. If taken to the extreme, we refer to this form of responsiveness as ‘populist temptation’. Without any justification for external circumstances, legal frameworks or minority standpoints, the perceived consensual preference is taken as the policy’s point of

4   See, for instance, Van der Steen (2009) for more insight into the variety of interpretations and assessments that has been allocated to the – at first glance, unambiguous – phenomenon of ‘ageing’.

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departure. A good example of this can be found in the discussions around the rise in the pensionable age in many European countries. Finally, there is the logic of the policy system. Policy makers in the policy system can sometimes be so obsessed with the objectives that have been defined within the system that they ‘forget’ to look around them to see whether these objectives still match social developments and/or preferences. We regard the logic of the policy system as the potency, as perceived by the policy makers and politicians within that system, to improve the performance of the policy within the existing context.The means sometimes become a goal in themselves, such as when police officers are assessed on the basis of the number of fines they impose. At other times, frenetic efforts are made to achieve unrealistic goals through increasingly intensive policy. To a certain extent, this logic coincides with the ‘logic of consequence’. According to March and Olsen (1989), the ‘logic of consequence’ focuses on the consequences of a policy programme that are to be expected in relation to the intended goals. In an extreme form, this may be considered the paternalist temptation: the policy makers and politicians involved in the policy system know what is best for ‘the citizen’ and design the policy on those grounds. The exposition above makes clear that the three different logics can apply different desires or demands to policy change. Policy makers and politicians will have to create a balance between these different logics, and they should moreover find an appropriate response within each of these logics to the challenges stemming from them.The responsiveness triangle (Figure 3.1) illustrates the tensions that may arise. In the next section, we will identify these tensions in more detail. Responsiveness: tensions and dilemmas It follows from Figure 3.1 that responsiveness is a matter of balance between different logics.That is not a problem, as long as the different logics develop in the same direction. Usually, however, developments in the policy environment, public preferences and the policy system diverge from one another to a greater or lesser extent. This leads to tensions between the logics in the triangle. For policy makers and politicians, these tensions equate to challenges as they need to ascertain to which development to be responsive. Empirical analysis of these processes of responsiveness may shed new light on the possibilities of responsive social policies in an era of financial and economic crisis that appears to present intangible dilemmas. In the course of this study, we argue that these dilemmas have always been around. Insights into how politicians and policy makers have dealt with these dilemmas in the past, 60

A framework for analysing policy responsiveness Figure 3.1: Responsiveness and three logics Policy system

Paternalist temptation

Responsiveness

Populist temptation Public preferences

Technocratic temptation Policy environment

and to what effect, constitute important knowledge for future courses of action. Based on Figure 3.1 we are able to provide a systematic overview of the tensions that may occur with respect to responsiveness. Naturally, tensions of all shapes and sizes may arise between the different components of the responsiveness triangle. We address four ideal types here. Using the case studies in the subsequent chapters, we show how these types of tensions were dealt with in the different cases, and what lessons can be learnt from that. A first tension arises when the developments in the policy environment diverge from public preferences.This kind of tension occurs frequently in the social policy domain – for instance, when cutbacks in social benefits are at stake. Public preferences often favour inflation-proof social benefits, whereas external circumstances and the sustainability of the social system in the long run demand conservation and cutbacks. Where the issue of legitimacy is concerned – which we consider to be a narrower concept than responsiveness – this type of tension is of great importance. After all, it illustrates that in policy systems sometimes inevitable decisions have to be made that do not correspond to public preferences and, therefore, erode their legitimacy. With this type of tension, the policy maker is caught in a dilemma between ‘reality’ and ‘popularity’. 61

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A second group of tensions occurs when public preferences and the policy system’s logic diverge. Developments in policy systems are often based on path dependency and the ideological beliefs of the politicians and policy makers within the policy system. Path dependency can emerge when a system has many overlaps with other systems, so that adjustments off the path are difficult to realise. This may lead to an autonomously developing system of public preferences. Such a system is usually not very responsive to changes in public preferences. This leads to a potential loss of legitimacy. Examples of this type of tension are the great many attempts to increase further the labour participation of women.These have been due to the logic of the policy system.The public preferences of many women, however, are focused far less on labour participation and far more on creating balance between work and care duties. Here, these two logics collide. In the third place, tensions may arise when the policy system’s logic and developments in the policy environment diverge. This is a threat to the policy system’s effectiveness. After all, the policy system no longer matches the social environment in which it tries to perform. A good example of this is the issue of copyrights in the electronic era. A copyright is part of a complex policy system that assumes a classic information carrier, whereas in this day and age information is electronic, fleeting and intangible. Wherever the policy system and environment develop in different directions, the effectiveness of the policy comes under pressure. As a result of disappointing policy performance, trust in the government may subsequently also decline. Tensions may arise not only between the logics we have described, but also within each of the logics of the responsiveness triangle. Developments and preferences are becoming increasingly difficult to interpret and clarify as a consequence of the increasing splintering and complexity of society. This hampers the opportunities for the policy system to respond to developments. Within each of the logics referred to, therefore, policy makers and politicians also struggle with the tension of ‘fundamental unknowability’.Within the logic of public preferences we have already shown that these are increasingly hard to know, that they seem to be becoming more heterogeneous, according to many authors, and that they can be encountered in an increasingly less organised form. We might, therefore, refer to this heterogeneity within public preferences as a fourth group of tensions. A fifth group of tensions occurs within the logic of the policy environment. It also applies to these that in contemporary societies developments may (seemingly) take different directions and, perhaps even more importantly, seem to become increasingly unknowable and 62

A framework for analysing policy responsiveness

unpredictable.The great measure of interdependency between various processes and organisations as a result of high speed information and communication technology is largely responsible for this. Who could have foreseen, in 2007, the consequences of the reselling of US subprime loans, for instance? A policy system may well have the intention of responding to developments in the policy environment, but the question is, to which developments exactly, and what that response could or should be.

Analytical framework In this chapter, we have attempted to show systematically under which conditions, and on the basis of which factors, policies may be responsive. However, like a great many other authors, we must conclude that the responsiveness of policy is an extremely complicated, multicausal and ambiguous phenomenon. The level of abstraction of our reasoning here may well enable us to make some general statements about the responsiveness of policy, but its true value will be revealed in their application to actual cases. If, on the grounds of this reasoning, we are able to make any statements about the degree of responsiveness in actual cases and the factors that determine that responsiveness, our study can contribute to the background and the emergence of sustainable social policies.The reasoning we have developed in this chapter is not a series of directly applicable hypotheses, but it includes a series of points of interest that will have to come to the forefront in the analysis of the actual cases, in order for us to make a statement about the responsiveness of the policies concerned. Figure 3.2 represents the key elements of the analytical framework that we describe in this chapter. Below, we briefly discuss these key elements and the way we will analyse them in the case chapters that follow. With regard to policy development, in the case studies we will look in detail at the way in which the policy has developed. We will make an inventory of the policy changes, which we will classify under one of the types: policy maintenance, policy succession, policy innovation, or policy termination. In each case chapter, we will include the background and the opportunities for each of the distinct policy changes.We will also pay attention to the way in which the policy was implemented, its performance and the feedback between these three components. In comparison to some other authors (see, for instance,Van Gestel et al, 2009) we will focus less on the political processes under which the policy development occurred. We are primarily interested in institutional factors. 63

The responsiveness of social policies in Europe Figure 3.2: Analytical model Policy development • Formal policy changes • Implementation of policy • Policy performance

Characteristics of environment • External developments • Internal developments

Responsiveness

Public preferences • Media • Politics • Citizens

The second part of the analytical framework concerns change in the policy’s environment. For each case, we will address the external and internal developments that we have identified and discussed in this chapter. More specifically, this will concern social-economic, socialcultural and political-administrative changes. The third part of the analytical framework involves changes in public preferences. We will assume that public preferences are expressed in three ways: (1) by reports in the media; (2) by articulations of political parties in election programmes and parliamentary meetings; and (3) by articulations of citizens in opinion polls or other surveys. Naturally, the issue of causality will play an important role in this. Raven et al (2010), for instance, demonstrated reciprocity between the development of social policy and the beliefs of citizens about that policy. They also showed that the influence of public opinion is greater when it comes to new forms of social policy. As for the issue of responsiveness, we are primarily interested in the way in which changes in public opinion make themselves felt in policy development. We will focus on the existing forms of social policy to assess this. These three parts together will subsequently enable us to make an analysis of the policy’s responsiveness. Based on the empirical outcomes, we will expound on which preferences or developments the policy was responsive to or not, and provide explanations. 64

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Introduction As has become clear from the previous chapters, this book sets out to explore when, how and why social policies respond to external challenges. This chapter specifically focuses on the domain of social assistance. Various authors have argued that the variety of policy measures that are included under the label of ‘social assistance’ prevents a precise definition of what social assistance is (see Gough et al, 1997; Ditch, 1999; Saraceno, 2002). Building upon Gough et al (1997: 18), in this book we define social assistance as the means-tested or income related benefits to which eligibility is dependent on an assessment of current or recent income and/or assets and which serve as a ‘last resort’ within social protection systems. In general, social assistance schemes have two important goals.The first goal is to prevent extreme hardship among those with no other resources by providing a guaranteed minimum income (Ditch, 1999: 60). The second is to prevent social marginalisation and exclusion of those people with no other resources. National systems clearly vary in the ways they combine these two goals, but elements of these two ambitions may be found in all countries with social assistance schemes. Ditch (1999: 59) states that within social assistance schemes, three types may be identified. The first is general assistance which is aimed at providing cash benefits to all (or almost all) people below a specified minimum income standard.The second is categorical assistance which provides cash assistance to specified groups like families, young or older people.The final type is tied assistance, which provides access to specific goods or services in either cash or kind. Housing assistance, free school meals or food stamps may be included in this last category. Throughout Europe not only may a wide variety of social assistance schemes be observed, but the ways in which these systems have evolved also differ remarkably. This chapter analyses the nature, extensiveness and background of changes in social assistance policies there have been since the 1990s, 65

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the extent to which these changes can be attributed to changes in these policies’ environment and the consequences of these changes for citizens’ evaluations of the policies.This chapter has been organised as follows. Below we discuss general trends in social assistance schemes in Europe. This section identifies relevant shifts and tries to explain them. Next we focus on the Dutch case, and describe and explain in detail how the social assistance policies in the Netherlands have evolved. Finally we transfer the insights from the Dutch case back to the European level by identifying similarities and differences between the Dutch case and European trends in social assistance policies.

Classifying social assistance regimes in Europe Although international comparative research on social assistance is scarce, several authors have attempted to classify social assistance schemes. These classifications in most cases are based on substantive characteristics on the one hand and administrative characteristics on the other. For instance Saraceno (2002: 5–6) distinguishes four substantive dimensions on which countries may differ: ‘the existence or not of an explicit set of policies addressing poverty; the degree of categorization (or universality) of assistance; whether income support is near pure subsistence level or at and decent minimum; and the kinds of obligations and controls attached to the status of beneficiary’. Other authors, like Hölsch and Kraus (2006) or Gough et al (1997) use similar factors to distinguish social assistance regimes on the basis of substantive characteristics. With regard to administrative characteristics, the most important contribution has been made by Hölsch and Kraus (2006). They distinguished three characteristics on which the administrative delivery of social assistance may differ: (1) the degree to which social assistance expenditure is funded by central government, regional authorities or local authorities; (2) the administrative level at which basic-rate benefits are established, which again may be the central, regional or local level; and (3) the degree to which benefits actually vary between regions. Gough et al (1997) are to be considered as the founders’ of a social assistance regime typology, which is used or even replicated in later studies. Surprisingly, their dataset – which was based on the 1995 situation – has been re-used often because of a lack of more recent data. Even Hölsch and Kraus (2006) based their analysis on Gough et al’s 1995 data, which underlines the need for the more dynamic approach to social policies that this book advocates. Gough (2001) attempted to refine his original typology by using quantitative cluster analysis 66

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rather than qualitative descriptions. However, for the performance of the cluster analysis the administrative data were omitted, which we consider to be a loss. Therefore in this book we start from Gough et al’s original typology. This typology is based on three dimensions: extent and salience (expenditure on social assistance and number of beneficiaries); programme structure (centralisation versus local variation, rights versus discretion, individual entitlement versus wider family obligations, liberal versus tough means-testing and work testing); and generosity (level of benefit and replacement rates)). In this manner eight social assistance regimes may be identified (see Gough et al, 1997: 36; Saraceno, 2002: 22–23): • Selective welfare systems In these systems, all benefits are means-tested and programmes are categorical and rights based.Australia and New Zealand belong to this type. • Public assistance systems Basically, only most states within the US fall within this category. It is characterised by tough assets tests and means tests, low benefits compared with both other countries and the domestic poverty line, strong work incentives and well entrenched procedural rights. • Welfare systems with integrated safety nets In these systems, income support for the poor is a national general programme. It is relatively generous and is rights based with rather strict work incentives. Britain and Ireland are examples of these systems. • Dual social assistance systems These systems provide assistance schemes for specific categories, such as older people, people with disabilities or lone mothers with very young children, and offer a general rights based safety net, although there may be a degree of local discretion. According to Gough et  al, Germany, France and Belgium are included in this category. • Citizenship based but residual social assistance systems These systems are characterised by a single general scheme with relatively high benefits. There are national regulatory frameworks, but the role of local authorities is substantial. Strict means-testing combines with an individual view of entitlements and a citizenship based appeal system. The tradition of full employment or universal welfare provision relegated the role of social assistance to the margins of the welfare state until the late 1980s. Denmark, Sweden, Finland and the Netherlands may be included within this category. 67

The responsiveness of social policies in Europe

• Rudimentary assistance systems In these systems, national social assistance covers only selected groups, mainly older and disabled people. Otherwise, there is discretional relief provided by local authorities and religious charitable bodies. Benefits are low and for certain groups of able bodied beneficiaries even poor. Portugal, Spain, Greece and Turkey may be included in this group. • Decentralised, discretionary relief systems In these systems, assistance consists of localised discretionary relief, linked to social work and wider kin obligations. Benefits are relatively generous, but few people claim social assistance, partially because of the stigma attached to welfare and the powers accorded to social workers. Norway, Austria and Switzerland are to be categorised under this label. • Centralised, discretionary assistance This consists of a long-standing nationally regulated social assistance programme with very little local variation, but shares with the previous model a wide concept of family obligations and a high degree of stigmatisation. As we stated in the introduction, the aim of this chapter is to analyse the nature, extensiveness and background of changes in social assistance policies since the 1990s, the extent to which these changes can be attributed to changes in these policies’ environment, and the consequences of these changes for citizens’ evaluations of the policies. We focus on the Dutch case, but also use it as an entry point for a more general reflection on the dynamics of social assistance policies throughout Europe. This section has shown that this reflection is a much needed addition to the somewhat outdated literature on social assistance policies in Europe. Starting in the mid-1990s, our description of the Dutch case will show how much has changed in the last decade. Before focusing on the Dutch case we will discuss in the next section some of the external and internal challenges that these social assistance regimes are confronted with. Common challenges to social assistance regimes In the previous chapter we identified general trends that challenge social policies. We argued that whether or not, and how, policies respond to these challenges is shaped by many factors. Explaining how the interplay of these factors shapes the evolution of these policies is the target of this book. However, specifically in the case of social assistance we may be able to refine these general trends into specific challenges. Again

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following Gough et al (1997: 38-39) we may first identify four – not uncommon – developments that affect social assistance policies. 1. Economic The globalisation of production, the rise of East Asian economies and other newly industrialised countries, exposure to global financial markets and, within the European Union and more specifically within the Eurozone, the end of states’ capacities to design their own political economic regime have created pressures on social assistance policies. Specifically because these changes have ended the myth of full employment in many countries, they have triggered the emergence of atypical work and they have encouraged cuts in labour costs and government spending. 2. Demographic The ageing of the population and upward pressures on welfare costs are often cited as important challenges for social policies. Older people do not make up a substantial proportion of assistance recipients in most countries because of alternative provision. However, employment opportunities for people aged between 55 and the (rising) retirement age are very poor in most countries. And as early retirement schemes are limited in most countries, it is to be expected that this group will form a substantial and persistent proportion of social assistance recipients in the future. 3. Social Fundamental shifts have occurred in the role of women which impact on both the labour market and the family structure. The rise in divorce, lone parent families and other non-traditional family forms are examples of common trends that affect social assistance policies. 4. Political Gough et al (1997) argue that there is declining support for universal social policy programmes in favour of more differentiated ones. Perhaps even more important, the debate in many European countries reflects a strong distinction in opinions about those deserving social support and the able bodied unrightfully or unnecessarily claiming it. Support for social assistance decreases as the latter group – at least in public opinion – grows (see Fenger et al, 2011). In the last two decades, many European countries, including Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Belgium and Sweden, and the US, have reformed their social assistance schemes (see Hanesch, 1999).The main aim of these reforms has been to reduce the number of recipients and to stop the increase in expenditure on social assistance, 69

The responsiveness of social policies in Europe

by bringing more welfare recipients into the labour market and the employment system (Hamesch, 1999). Perhaps the most intensive reform has taken place in the US, in which Bill Clinton claimed to ‘end welfare as we know it’. In the US, social assistance ‘… was seen not as the solution but as the main reason for the existence of poverty, and “welfare dependency” was interpreted as a major threat to the moral basis of American society’ (Hanesch, 1999: 73). But this attitude has not been exclusive to the US.As Hanesch argues, the welfare reform debate in the US was of considerable influence for the reform agenda in Western Europe. From the perspective of responsiveness, a remarkable contrast may be observed with the reasons behind the European reform agenda. Against the background of the developments identified in this section and, more extensively, in Chapter Three of this volume: … the main reasons for the increase in recipients and costs of social assistance were, and still are, related to the structural changes in external, especially economic, social and political, conditions. On the other hand, the current debate about welfare reforms in many European states seems to be based on contrary assumptions. The reasons for the welfare expansion are seen, above all, in internal deficits in the welfare system, which derive from its generosity (a high benefit level in absolute and in relative terms) as well as from the lack of incentives to escape from welfare dependency resulting from a too insignificant difference between benefit level and the household income of small-wage earners … (Hanesch, 1999: 73-74) In this section we have identified several developments that may challenge existing social assistance regimes. In the next section we will discuss the evolution of Dutch social assistance policies in detail. However, given these common trends, this may not only be considered as a single country case study, but also serves as an entry point for an exploration of social assistance dynamics in Europe. We will therefore return to the European scene after we have dealt with the Dutch case and show to what extent the evolution of the Dutch case is exemplary of social assistance dynamics in Europe.

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The evolution of social assistance policies in the Netherlands This section analyses in detail the development of the three logics that we outlined in Chapter Three for the Dutch case of social assistance policy. First, we discuss the development of the policy itself. Then we analyse public preferences with regard to social assistance. Finally, we deal with the socioeconomic conditions that affect the responsiveness of social assistance policy. Developments in the content of Dutch social assistance policies The introduction of the General Social Assistance Act (GSAA) in 1965 may be considered as the finishing touch to the post-war Dutch welfare state.The GSAA replaced the Poor Law which dated from 1854 and had only been revised slightly in 1912.The government explained the reasons for drafting this new law in the Explanatory Memorandum as follows: The Act of 1854 ... assumed a society, predominantly consisting of family communities that constituted an economic unit which could provide the necessary resources for needy family members. In addition, basic means of existence were provided by the mercy of churches or private charity in case the family community could not bear these burdens. Especially under the influence of industrialization society developed in the second half of the 19th century into a completely different reality than that which the legislature of 1854 must have had in mind. At the end of the 19th century, the group of citizens that was living at or below the margin of subsistence, that was unprotected and defenseless against the risks of living in the evolving industrial society, significantly increased. The family community, which greatly changed in character, and church and private charities appeared increasingly less capable able to satisfactorily cope with the social distress. (Second Chamber, 1965-1966) The Explanatory Memorandum thus referred to societal and economic changes that made the introduction of this new Act necessary. In the almost 50 years that this Act has been in force, it has changed shape several times. In this section, we briefly discuss these basic features of

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the 1965 law and its earliest changes, and discuss its evolution since the 1990s in more detail. Social Assistance Act 1965–1995: from generosity to cost containment The GSAA differed from the preceding Poor Law in three respects: (1) providing social assistance became a governmental task; (2) social assistance was no longer a gift but a legal right; (3) social assistance was to be provided financially, not by in-kind benefits.The level of benefit in the GSAA was linked to the so-called ‘necessary costs of living’. In the early days of this new law, one of the fundamental features was that the necessary costs may differ from individual to individual, decisions about the level of benefit could only be taken on an individual basis and could (and actually did) also vary from individual to individual.The then-responsible Minister of Social Affairs, Klompé, illustrated the broad interpretation of the concept of ‘necessary costs of existence’ through a statement that became famous in the Netherlands:“A fresh bouquet of flowers on the table is to be included in the necessary costs of living”. Soon after the Act’s introduction it appeared that the accent on tailor-made solutions in individual cases led to big variations in the level of benefits and the conditions under which they were provided, in individual cases within municipalities and between municipalities (see Vos, 2003). Through several measures the authority to determine the level of benefits incrementally was transferred to the national level. With the revision of the GSAA in 1972, the local policy discretion to determine the level of benefits on an individual level was totally abolished. The two oil crises of the 1970s and the consequential recession led to a strong increase in the number of social assistance clients.Van der Heijden et al (1995) even argue that the social assistance scheme in the Netherlands evolved from a residual scheme of exceptional cases to a system of structural income provision for large groups of beneficiaries. This process was strengthened by large demographic changes in this period, including the sharp increase in the number of divorces.Van den Akker (1984) even argues that the introduction of the GSAA facilitated divorces, as it provided a means of income specifically for women. Figure 4.1 provides an illustration of the development of the number of social assistance benefits since the GSAA’s introduction in 1965. Towards the end of the 1980s the large amount of social assistance benefits became the subject of political and societal attention. The efficiency of the social assistance system was doubted and stories 72

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700

600

500

400

300

200

100

0 1900 1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009

Figure 4.1:The number of social assistance benefits

×1,000

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about large-scale fraud appeared in the media (see Tennekes, 1998). In response, the Cabinet installed a research committee to investigate the implementation of the Social Assistance Act. In addition, the Parliament itself also initiated a parliamentary hearing.The Investigation Committee in particular was very critical about the way the Social Assistance Act was implemented. The Committee observed massive forging of documents, organised fraud, intentional misrepresentation of personal circumstances, avoidance of paid labour, bureaucratic inaccuracies and a too soft interpretation of the law. These findings can be considered as important triggers for an extensive reform of the Social Assistance Act. In addition to these findings, Rigter et al (1995) and Terpstra (1997) state that also due to the social-economic, political, cultural and moral circumstances these retrenchments were inevitable in this period. The most important social-economic reason was the rising the number of people receiving benefits in combination with the economic recession of the time. Political reasons were linked to the strong position of social partners in different areas of the Dutch welfare state, who strived to pursue their self-interest at the expense of the general interest. Limiting this position required large-scale interventions in all areas of the Dutch welfare state, including social assistance. The cultural dimension was aimed at calling upon the responsibilities of people receiving a benefit. Finally, according to Terpstra (1997) a moral transition in the perception of the Social Assistance Act (but also other arrangements in the welfare state) can be observed that started in the early 1980s. The expansion of the welfare state since World War II can be considered as a linear process until 1980, based upon idealistic opinions about progress and modernisation, and a world in which individuals would no longer bear the consequences of social risks. From the early 1980s, policy changes were no longer aimed at reaching these idealistic and abstract goals, but at mitigating and solving the unintended and unwanted consequences of social policies. This led to the introduction of the New Social Assistance Act in 1996. Development of social assistance policies since 1996 The previous section provided a rather general impression of the origins of the policy. In this and the following section we provide a more indepth description of the ways in which the policies have evolved since 1996. The starting point for this analysis is the formal changes in the policies as they have been implemented since 1996. To analyse these changes, the distinction that was introduced in Chapter  Three has 74

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been used. This implies that all changes have been designated to one of the three categories: minor revisions, institutional adaptations and institutional innovations. Minor revisions are aimed at the fine-tuning of policy tools, institutional adaptations involve the introduction of new policy tools or organisations, and institutional innovations involve adapting the goals of the policy or the introduction of new goals (see Pollitt and Bouckaert, 2009). Table 4.1 provides an overview of the formal changes in the policies. Figure 4.2 depicts these characteristics graphically.What is remarkable from this analysis is the large number of ‘minor revisions’ in social assistance policies. This indicates how much social assistance policy is interrelated with other domains of social policy. This also shows, from Table 4.1, that the vast majority of minor revisions are necessary because of changes in other policy domains. Social assistance policies Table 4.1: Policy changes in social assistance policies

0 0 1 2 2 0 1 0 0 2 2 1 0 3 1 15

0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 2 1 7

Total minor revisions

Adaptations of implementation structure

2 1 4 2 1 4 3 0 3 3 9 6 6 4 7 55

Changes in the content of policy instruments

0 3 1 3 2 3 3 2 3 3 2 2 2 2 2 33

Adaptations because of changes in other policy domains

Year 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Total

Changes in height and conditions of benefits

Minor revisions

2 4 6 7 4 7 8 2 6 8 14 10 8 11 11 110

Institutional Institutional adaptations innovations 0 1 1 0 4 0 2 0 1 0 1 0 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 2 1 2 0 17 3

75

The responsiveness of social policies in Europe Figure 4.2: Policy changes in social assistance policies 16

Minor revisions

14

Institutional adaptations

12

Institutional innovations

10 8 6 4 2 0

95 96 97 98 99 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 19 19 19 19 19 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20

therefore can be considered as the ‘spider’ in the web of social policies and therefore is an illustrative case for analysing the causes and backgrounds of the responsiveness of social policies. In the remainder of this section, we discuss the institutional adaptations and institutional innovations in this period. The period 1996–2004: activating clients and combating fraud From the previous section it appeared that, as a consequence of the outcomes of the investigation committee, a major revision of social assistance policies had become inevitable. To some extent, the New Social Assistance Act was only a gradual revision of its predecessor. Access, the level of the benefits and the duration were limited to contain the costs of the policies. In three aspects, the New Social Assistance Act implied a radical paradigm shift in comparison with the previous Act. First, the new Act introduced a system of national basic norms for the level of benefits and local supplementary benefits. This aimed to rebalance legal certainty and local policy discretion (see Emmen, 1995). Second, the issue of fraud was placed high on the agenda. On the one hand, the opportunities for municipalities to combat fraud and the system of sanctions were extended. On the other hand, municipalities were forced to prove that the benefits they awarded were legal and correct, through an intensive system of accountability and control. Third, the outflow towards the labour market of people receiving 76

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a benefit became much more important. To improve this so-called activation and reintegration, a compulsory collaboration with the public employment service was introduced in the New Social Assistance Act (see Eiselin, 1995). In the period after the introduction of the New Social Assistance Act, various institutional adaptations were introduced, all in the way we have just discussed: combating fraud and improving the outflow to the labour market. As for the first issue, three changes stand out: • At a formal level, additional policy guidelines or laws were adopted that further increased municipalities’ opportunities to sanction clients that committed benefit fraud and to retrieve money that had been obtained in this way. • At the implementation level, an integral approach was evolved in many municipalities, aimed at the prevention, detection and reprimanding of benefit fraud. Most notably, the installation of Regional Fraud Detection Platforms and the development of compulsory Local Enforcement Plans illustrate the extensive attention paid to combating and detecting fraud. • At the technological level, many new initiatives involving the use of available data from other policy domains to detect fraud were developed. For instance linking with income tax administration and the Implementation Agency for Employee Insurances constituted new electronic forms of combating benefit fraud. As indicated earlier, in this period much effort was also made to increase the transition of clients from social assistance to paid labour. Through various policy initiatives, the tools for local governments to realise this were extended. Much emphasis was placed on the creation of jobs for people on benefits, for instance through the Youth Employment Act and the creation of 40,000 additional jobs in the public sector.Although these programmes do have positive short-term effects, the transfer of participants to regular jobs remains limited. Finally, in this period steps were taken to increase the responsibility of local governments for the quality of the implementation process. Under the old regime, municipalities could claim the money spent on benefits from the national Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment. Under the new Act, this amount was limited, initially to 90% and through a later revision to 75%.

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The period 2004–09: work first The Work and Social Assistance Act (WSAA) was introduced in 2004 as the successor to the New Social Assistance Act. This new law may be considered as another radical change in existing policy, although the manner in which these changes have taken place is similar to the general direction of the way social assistance policies have evolved over time: more responsibilities for local authorities and stricter rules to increase the shift from benefits to paid labour (see Manshanden & Van der Veen, 2006). The most important change in the WSAA in relation to its predecessors was organisational, rather than focusing on the content of policies.With the introduction of this law, local municipalities became fully financially responsible for the implementation of social assistance policies within their municipalities.They receive a budget annually that consists of two parts: an income part for paying social assistance benefits and a work part for implementing measures aimed at schooling and training.When a municipality awards more benefits than estimated on the basis of objective criteria, it has to pay the deficits in the income part from its own means. If it awards fewer benefits than expected on the basis of these objective criteria, it can allocate the remaining money to other targets. Money that remains from the work part is to be returned to the national Ministry. In addition, with the introduction of the WSAA a large proportion of the additional, subsidised labour that was introduced earlier, was abolished. The move towards regular paid work from these additional jobs appeared to be very low and was therefore considered an ineffective tool for reintegration to the labour market (Van Berkel, 2006). The transfer of financial responsibilities to the local level implied a radical paradigm shift from earlier ambitions to direct and govern social assistance policies from the national level. In the first years after the introduction of the WSAA, the number of benefits decreased significantly. For instance, in 2006 the inflow of new benefits had decreased by 19% in comparison with 2003, whereas the outflow had increased by 23%.This resulted in a reduction of 10% in the total number of benefits (Bosselaar et al, 2007).This was partly caused by the introduction of the WSAA, but of course the economic growth in this period also played a role in this (see SEO, 2007). In the current economic and financial crisis, with 316,000 benefits, benefit levels are back at the level of 2002, before the introduction of the WSAA. From Table 4.1 we can observe a rather large number of policy changes after the introduction of the WSAA. One set of changes was aimed at the unintended effects of a new feature in the WSAA: the 78

The responsiveness of social assistance policies

long-term additional benefit. This was meant to relieve poverty for people who received a social assistance benefit for over three years. However, it appeared that this additional benefit discouraged people from taking up paid work. Second, and more important, was the attempt to improve the participation rates of specific groups, like lone parents and young people. The most important policy change in the period after the introduction of the WSAA was the introduction of the Invest in Youth Act.This Act obliges municipalities to offer either a job or a training programme to people aged under 27, rather than a benefit. Municipalities considered this as a new attempt from central government to intervene in local implementation practices, as the WSAA already offered many opportunities to do this, and the proportion of young people in the total number of benefit claimants had already decreased significantly since the introduction of the WSAA (see Oltshoorn, 2009;Van Fessem, 2009). Public preferences in the case of social assistance policies Earlier in this chapter we discussed the development of social assistance policies in the period between 1995 and 2010.As this book aims to analyse and explain the responsiveness of social policies, one of the important goals of this chapter is to analyse the extent to which these developments can be explained by changes in socioeconomic conditions and/or public preferences. This enables us to identify conditions that contribute to or limit the responsiveness of social policies. This section discusses public preferences with regard to social assistance policies. More specifically, we examine the opinions of three important types of stakeholders: the media, political parties and the general public. As indicated in Chapter Three, of course there are also interactions between these three groups. We discuss this at the end of this section, focusing on the convergences and divergences with regard to the stakeholders’ preferences. Media and social assistance policies To identify the media’s reporting about social assistance policies, a content analysis was performed. All articles about social assistance policies in the period 1995–2009 in the leading three national daily newspapers were identified.1 In total, this led to 935 articles. These   This was done by using a combination of search terms like ‘social assistance’,‘assistance benefits’,‘work and assistance’ etc.The single term ‘assistance’ appeared problematic as this received a large number of hits unrelated to social assistance policies.

1

79

The responsiveness of social policies in Europe

articles were coded by two researchers, using an inductive coding strategy, with different levels of subcodes. For the interpretation of the results, it appeared most useful to use seven general codes. Figure 4.3 depicts the number of articles through time. The absolute number of the articles indicates to some extent the media attention to social assistance policies, but to really understand the reasons for the shifts in absolute numbers, we need to get a clearer picture of the content of the articles.To obtain this insight, the articles have been clustered into the following seven categories: 1. Benefit fraud and combating fraud 2. Reintegration into the regular labour market 3. Social assistance benefits for specific groups (migrants, illegal foreigners, ex-convicted criminals) 4. Content of the policies 5. Effectiveness and efficiency of the policies 6. Implementation problems at the local level 7. Poverty and social assistance. Table 4.2 provides an overview of the development of the number of articles over time in each of these categories. A number of articles could not be included in any of these categories either because several subjects were discussed or because other themes were discussed. In total, 698 articles could be categorised into one of the categories. Figure 4.3: Social assistance in the media 120

Articles in newspapers

100 80 60 40 20 0

96 1997 998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 1

19

80

The responsiveness of social assistance policies

Content of the policies

Effectiveness and efficiency

Implementation problems

Fraud 8 3 6 2 9 15 10 13 18 10 12 8 5 3

Benefits for specific groups

1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009

Reintegration into labour market

Table 4.2:The articles by theme

10 8 4 5 8 4 3 9 20 17 31 13 18 6

0 3 0 0 9 1 1 5 6 6 13 7 8 7

3 1 7 1 2 3 9 10 8 3 2 2 6 6

3 1 4 0 1 7 4 9 1 8 3 8 5 2

19 17 3 6 9 8 8 15 19 17 6 12 10 0

Poverty 5 12 3 1 10 4 7 12 2 13 8 5 3 1

The first impression from Table 4.2 is that media attention to social assistance is rather fragmented. Almost 700 articles seems at first sight a rather large amount, but divided over different themes and different years, the numbers in each category are rather small. Therefore, small shifts in numbers appear to indicate large shifts in media attention. For this reason, care needs to be taken in drawing conclusions from this analysis. But a number of tentative conclusions might be drawn from this analysis. First, attention to fraud peaks in the early 2000s. To a large extent, these articles refer to detection of cases of benefit fraud.The increased efforts and instruments for fraud detection led to a larger number of detected fraud cases. This in turn led to increased media attention to fraud. Most articles are neutral in their message and only describe the characteristics of the case. However, the increased media attention to benefit fraud might affect public support for social assistance as it delivers the message that fraud occurs on a massive scale (see Gustaffson, 2011). Second, Table 4.2 clearly shows that attention to reintegration of people on benefits to the labour market has increased significantly. Many 81

The responsiveness of social policies in Europe

of the articles deal with examples of local initiatives to reintroduce people into the labour market. There is great variety in the messages. On the one hand there are articles that admire the initiatives and tell the story of how someone who portrayed themself as ‘jobless by profession’ finally found a regular job after many decades of living on benefit, on the other hand there are stories that negatively refer to the lack of success of reintegration programmes. The number of negative articles is slightly larger than the number of positive stories. A third element that is noteworthy, is that the number of articles on benefits for specific groups has gradually increased over time and is greater at the end of our research period. Specifically, rather a lot of articles have been published about benefits awarded to convicted criminals and ex-criminals, and to illegal foreigners who were legalised under the so-called ‘general pardon’ in 2007. As we will see later in this chapter, these articles reflect a wider discussion in society about the criteria for who ‘deserves’ a benefit and who does not. Fourth, after the introduction of both the New Social Assistance Act and the WSAA, the number of articles dealing with implementation problems has increased. These articles refer to local municipalities that have problems with either adopting their organisation to the new rules, or the interpretation of the new rules. Finally, the issue of poverty has never disappeared from the agenda and fluctuates over time.To some extent this might be considered remarkable, because Dutch social assistance benefits are generally considered as high. But the relative deprivation of those receiving benefits is considered by some as unacceptable. In short, the ‘logic’ of media attention in the period that we have investigated can be summarised as follows: • doubts about the effectiveness and efficiency of reintegration policies; • questions about the ‘deservingness’ of people receiving benefits; • persistent attention to poverty shows that social assistance has not eliminated relative poverty. Political environment In addition to media attention, developments in the political environment are also important for analysis of the responsiveness of social assistance policies. This environment has been analysed by two means: first an analysis of all official parliamentary written questions to the Government, and second an analysis of the election programmes of the three largest political parties since 1994.

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In the period since 1996, parliamentarians together have asked 275 questions with regard to social assistance policies. There appears to be a wide variety in topics and backgrounds of the questions, as well as large fluctuations by year.There are three groups of topics that produce a somewhat continuous flow of questions each year.These three groups were also important topics in the media, which indicates the interaction between media and parliamentary attention (see Baumgartner & Jones; 1993). The first group, with 40 out of 275 questions, are about the issue of poverty and the level of benefits. Examples of questions in this area are those about the increase in the proportion of indebted households that live on social assistance benefits or the growing number of local initiatives to help poor people. The second group, comprising 42 questions, refer to specific groups that receive benefits. Most frequently, the entitlement of these specific groups to social assistance benefits is debated, for instance people who compulsorily stay in a psychiatric hospital, or legalised, formerly illegal, foreigners. Finally, the largest group of questions (62 out of 275) discuss local implementation issues. Often, these questions ask the Government to examine, and if necessary intervene in, decisions relating to policies of local social service agencies, like the completion of an additional questionnaire that was required of applicants for social assistance by the municipality of Tilburg, or the distribution of flat screen televisions to recipients of social assistance in Groningen. The longitudinal analysis of election programmes does not shed much light on the issue of responsiveness. It mainly highlights the continuity of political ideologies, in which the Liberal Democrats are in favour of strong pressure on people to exit from the benefit system as soon as they can, the Christian Democrats emphasise the role of the local community and municipality and the Social Democrats are in favour of investing in people to provide equal opportunities for everyone and a decent standard of living. Citizens’ preferences Although there are not many longitudinal data that indicate development in citizens’ preferences with regard to social assistance policies, on the basis of the data we have we can safely assume that Dutch citizens support the welfare state, and even more so social assistance policies, quite strongly. Two indicators specifically point in this direction: citizens’ opinions about the most important political goals and about the level of benefits (see Table 4.3). Both indicators 83

The responsiveness of social policies in Europe Table 4.3: Citizens’ opinions about social assistance

Safeguarding the level of social security is an important political goal a Social assistance benefits are insufficient b Social assistance benefits are too generous b

1998 2000 2002 2004 2006 53 55 54 53 52 (3) (3) (3) (1) (2)

200809 53 (1)

51

45

35

43

44

38

 1

 4

 8

 1

 2



Notes:

Percentage of citizens that mention this topic in top 5 of 16 choices, between brackets the rank of that year. b Percentage of citizens that ‘agree’ or ‘fully agree’ with this statement. Source: SCP (2010, pp. 76, 194) a

suggest that support for social assistance in the Netherlands is high and has not changed significantly over time. With regard to the level of benefits a slow decrease may be observed since 1998, although the number of people who indicate that the benefits for social assistance are too high was still very limited in 2006, the last year for which data were available. In addition to the (limited) data from these longitudinal surveys, various qualitative studies have been undertaken. Although it is not possible to generalise these data to the total Dutch population, they do provide important insights into the arguments and opinions of those who participated in these studies. There are three topics that, despite all issues regarding the limitations to the generalisation of these data, emerge as important.These are: (1) fraud and abuse of benefits; (2) the level of ‘deservingness‘ of welfare recipients; and (3) the continuous adaptation of the policies. The first theme involves fraud and abuse. As we also saw in Chapter Two, tolerance for fraud in the Netherlands is very low, also from a comparative perspective.There are no indications that social assistance fraud is more accepted than other forms of welfare fraud. On the contrary, social assistance fraud is increasingly portrayed as ‘organised theft from community’, and the sanctions and tools for investigation have been extended significantly since 2008. With regard to the second theme, deservingness, it is important to note that in focus group interviews, citizens distinguish between different benefits and do have different levels of deservingness in mind. Desain et al (2006: 25–26) conclude from the focus groups they carried out that citizens distinguish between disability benefits, unemployment benefits and social assistance benefits. If a low paid job in industrial 84

The responsiveness of social assistance policies

production were available, citizens indicate that a highly educated recipient of unemployment benefit should not be forced to accept this job. For disabled people, it very much depends on the conditions under which disabled people can physically fulfil the tasks that are involved. But for recipients of social assistance benefits there is no hesitation: these people should be forced to accept any job that is available and sanctions – like cutting or withdrawing the benefit – can and should be applied to make sure that they do so. Finally, an important topic that Desain et al (2006) have identified but which is also confirmed by other sources (like SCP, 2010) is a feeling of distrust that citizens have with regard to their governments. According to Desain et  al, respondents in focus groups indicated that policies were adjusted too soon and too often. This leads to an image of the government as an unreliable partner. Due to these frequent changes, policies have become increasingly complex and hard to implement. Some respondents even doubt if the organisations and civil servants that implement the policies know the policies in detail. People also indicated that they felt insecure about their future because of the continuous adjustments to rules (Desain et al, 2006: 23). The socioeconomic environment of social assistance policies Chapter 3 of this book identified general societal and socioeconomic trends. In relation specifically to social assistance policies there are two developments that may challenge policies and may therefore serve as sources for responsiveness: the changing populations of social assistance recipients and changes on the labour market. Regarding the changing population of the recipients of social assistance benefits, most noticeable is the ageing of populations. On the one hand this reflects the general trend of an ageing population in the Netherlands, but because the inflow of young people has decreased due to stricter acceptance policies, the number of older people living on social assistance increases even more than the average population. Table 4.4 presents an overview of this. This table shows that the absolute number in the age groups until 45 have significantly decreased, whereas the number of people older than 45 that receive a benefit has remained stable. The growth in the number of people older than 60 can be attributed to immigrants who came to the Netherlands at a later age and therefore do not receive a full pension (to which people are entitled after having lived in the Netherlands for 40 years). These partial pensions are supplemented to the social minimum level by social assistance benefits. The increasing 85

The responsiveness of social policies in Europe Table 4.4: Age groups in social assistance policies Total number of recipients 65 (%)

2000 353.640 26.300 7.4 78.900 22.3 91.670 25.9 75.670 21.4 62.450 17.7 18.660 5.3

2005 355.010 27.420 7.7 68.820 19.4 89.180 25.1 76.270 21.5 66.310 18.7 27.010 7.6

2009 316.570 17.720 5.6 50.980 16.1 70.900 22.4 75.160 23.7 66.040 20.9 35.770 11.3

Source: Central Bureau for Statistics (CBS) Statline and own calculations

average age does have important consequences for social service agencies. It appears to be much harder to reintroduce older people to the labour market. Employers are hesitant in recruiting this group, and traditional intervention programmes like work first projects, or relatively short interventions like ‘job interview training’ or ‘writing a curriculum vitae’ do not usually address the reasons for unemployment in this age group. Therefore, the outflow of people from social assistance will be an even more complicated task than it has been previously. With regard to the labour market, there are two developments that may affect social assistance policies: (1)  labour is becoming scarcer; and (2) labour is becoming more flexible. To start with the first topic: despite the economic and financial crisis of 2008–2012, which has led to a gradual rise in unemployment in the Netherlands, all prognoses and experts agree that the demand for labour will be higher than the supply of labour within a few years.The last decade has illustrated some first signs of scarcity on the Dutch labour market. In 2007 and 2008, almost 40% of vacancies were labelled as ‘hard to fill’, implying that the position had been vacant for at least six months. As a consequence of the current economic crisis this number has decreased to 25%, but the expectation is that after 2014 the scarcity will involve an increasing number of vacancies in different economic sectors (RWI, 2010: 42). It is noteworthy that despite this rather large number of open vacancies, there are also a rather large number of people living on social assistance or other benefits. The Council for Work and Income (RWI, 2010) 86

The responsiveness of social assistance policies

therefore concluded that the match between supply and demand in the labour market has weakened since 2000. This implies that the opportunities for reducing the number of benefits in times of labour scarcity are not as evident as they may appear at first sight. A second important development is the strong increase in flexible labour contracts in the labour market. The number of workers with temporary contracts, self-employed people and workers for temp agencies has increased significantly since the end of the previous century. For instance, the number of self-employed people has almost doubled from 397,000 in 2006 to 632,000 in 2010. Some experts assume that in 2015 over 25% of all employees will have flexible contracts, compared to 19.8 % in 2007 (TNO, 2007). As a consequence, the character of social assistance is changing. For an increasing number of people, it serves as a temporary addition to income between temporary jobs, rather than the life-long income facility that some people perceive it as nowadays. Implementation and results This section focuses on the results of social assistance policies.To assess the results, we start from a rather abstract perspective.The basic question is to what extent policy has contributed to the fundamental goals for which it was developed. In the case of social assistance policies, this implies that on the one hand we try to assess to what extent social assistance policies have reduced poverty, on the other we analyse to what extent they have contributed to the reintegration of social assistance recipients in the labour market. As indicated earlier in this chapter, one of the central goals of the Social Assistance Act and the Work and Assistance Act is the provision of income support to people who cannot support in themselves through other means. If social assistance is working perfectly, there should be no people without an income in the Netherlands, excluding cases that are exempted from the law, like illegal aliens. To be able to reach a conclusion about the way the income support works, we rely on data about poverty in the Netherlands. We have to be aware that poverty is a subjective concept that can be defined in several ways. In the Netherlands, three definitions are rather common. The first is the low income limit. This is a statistical limit based on the income that a social assistance recipient received in 1979. This is the most generous interpretation of poverty. The most strict definition is the basic needs limit.This limit is based on the absolutely necessary costs of living like food, shelter, and health insurance. Between these two limits is the ‘not much but sufficient’ limit. In this definition, in addition to basic needs 87

The responsiveness of social policies in Europe

some modest expenses are included for recreation, like membership of a sports club, a subscription to a newspaper or magazine, and the cost of keeping a pet (Vrooman et al, 2007). Figure 4.4 presents an overview of the development of poverty in the Netherlands from 1995 to 2008 according to these three definitions. From Figure 4.4, two issues are worth noting. First, we see a marked decrease in the number of people living in poverty, according to the two more generous definitions. Of course we cannot make causal claims on the data, but given the central goal of the Social Assistance Act, we can conclude that the prevalence of poverty in the Netherlands has reduced significantly. If we focus on the basic needs criterion then the image changes and we can observe that the number of households with an income beneath this limit has been more or less stable since 1995. We can therefore conclude that one of the central goals of the Social Assistance Act has been partly achieved. With the introduction of the Work and Assistance Act, some people were afraid that the importance of reducing the number of recipients could threaten the income supporting function of the Social Assistance Act. Through prevention, work first projects and other forms of reintegration, some citizens who were entitled to benefits would refrain from applying. Research by the Figure 4.4: Development of poverty Development of the proportion and number of households with a disposable income below poverty limits (number × 1000) Low income limit

Not much but sufficient limit

18 16

953

970

953 861

14

835 754

12

627

10 8

478

495

596

641

618

662

616 550

479

438

447

213

233

234

227

95

96

97

98

227

476

435

6 4

Basic needs limit

227

374

383

197

210

01

02

423

393

422

242

231

03

04

378

359

333

244

226

217

204

05

06

07

08

2 0

Source:Vrooman et al, 2007: 13.

88

99

00

The responsiveness of social assistance policies

Inspectorate for Work and Income (2009) did not find support for that fear, and in addition Figure 4.4 does not seem to indicate significant shifts after the introduction of the Work and Assistance Act in 2003. A second important goal of social assistance policies is the integration of benefit recipients into the labour market. Both internationally and in the Netherlands, opportunities to reintegrate benefit recipients through training and education have appeared to be only limited. An assessment of all available evaluations in the Netherlands by the Ministry of Social Affairs concluded that the costs of training and education hardly justified the benefits that result from a reduction in the costs of benefits (see Ministry of Social Affairs, 2008). The Council for Work and Income (RWI, 2010) compared the differences in the chances of returning to the labour market for people on social assistance benefits and those on unemployment benefits. The chance of outflow from unemployment benefits appeared to be 7% in the first six months.This means that 7 % of people who are looking for a job at the start of the month actually manage to find a job. For social assistance benefits, this chance is 1.5%. After a year on benefit, the chance of returning to the labour market from unemployment benefit was reduced to 3.5%; for social assistance this chance after a year on benefit was limited to only 0.5%. Many other analyses confirm the limited success of training and education measures (see also Koning, 2000). The responsiveness of social assistance policies in the Netherlands: conclusions Although there are subtle differences between the institutional logic, the logic of public preferences and the logic of the institutional environment, we might conclude that for the Dutch social assistance case they converge in one direction: tightening eligibility and increasing the activation of people on social assistance to work.The analysis of the institutional logic reveals a large number of minor changes, interspersed with a limited number of more significant ones. With regard to the content of these policy changes, the direction is aimed at tightening eligibility and limiting the costs of social assistance policies. The institutional changes are often aimed at the division of responsibilities between local authorities and national government. Here, we can identify different timeframes: a heavy reliance on local autonomy at the introduction, increasing national control until 2003, again a shift towards local autonomy in the years thereafter, and, currently, a gradual shift towards national control again.

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The responsiveness of social policies in Europe

The logic of the external environment might be summarised as a dual trend: on the one hand stressing the necessity to integrate social assistance recipients into the labour market because of forecast shortages in labour supply, on the other hand limiting the labour market opportunities for this group due to increased competition and a gradual decrease in the average capacities of those on social assistance. Finally, we might conclude that public opinion on social assistance policy is quite clear: there is support in the written media and from citizens for the importance of social assistance as a safety net but public opinion seems to express concern about easy access to benefits. The ‘gift’ that according to the public opinion is necessary and inevitable in some cases, is sometimes awarded too easily. This logic of public opinion dominated the period of 1995–2010. What we have learnt from this in-depth analysis of the Dutch case of social assistance is the interaction and relation between the three logics. Rather than theorising about the rationality and choice that politicians have in shaping policy reforms, or conceptualising mere lock-in as a consequence of institutional path dependency theory, a contingency approach to policy reform reveals how closely public preferences, socioeconomic external conditions and the institutional design of policies interact. In the remainder of this chapter, we connect these findings to developments in other social assistance regimes. Moreover, in the other cases in this book we analyse to what extent these findings also hold true for the other cases. In the final chapter, we reflect on the impact of these findings from both a theoretical and an empirical perspective.

The responsiveness of social assistance policies: a comparative perspective In the previous section we analysed developments in the Dutch case in depth. In the Netherlands, we observed that the interaction between the institutional logic, the logic of external conditions and the logic of public preferences converged towards more restrictive and activating social assistance policies. This section analyses the development of social assistance policies in other countries and connects these with the insights from the Dutch case.This analysis is based on a reading of available comparative literature on social assistance policies in Europe. A first observation with regard to our goal is that, despite growing attention to comparative analysis of social policy systems, the amount of available material on social assistance policies from a comparative perspective is surprisingly low. There are a few exceptions, most 90

The responsiveness of social assistance policies

notably Pfeifer (2012), Nelson (2010) and Cantillon, Van Mechelen and Schulte (2008), but each of these articles is aimed at presenting an overview of the state of social protection in Europe rather than gaining insight in explaining the development of social assistance systems in European countries. However, we will build upon the authors we have mentioned as much as we can to gain insight into the responsiveness of social assistance systems in Europe. To deal with responsiveness from a comparative perspective, we will discuss European developments on each of the sides of our triangle of responsiveness, starting with the policy system. At a high level of abstraction, we can identify two different trends in European social assistance policies, both of which are affected by the current economic crisis and the high levels of unemployment (and therefore demand for social assistance) that follow from them. Building upon Frazer and Marlier’s overview (2009) we can distinguish between countries in Europe that have an extensive and comprehensive system of social assistance with full coverage and countries that do not have an extensive system but fragmented, partial or limited systems. In the first group of countries, including Austria, the Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium and other continental and Scandinavian welfare states, efforts are aimed at combating the negative side-effects of social assistance policies through activating people on benefits. Welfare-to-work initiatives, work first and other measures are implemented to limit the number of people who receive social assistance. In contrast, other countries, including Spain, Italy, Hungary, and other welfare states from the Mediterranean and Eastern European areas aim their reforms primarily at combating poverty among their citizenship. Extending coverage and targeting benefits at groups in need are important goals in these reforms. The Dutch case is clearly an example of the first group. The transfer of authority to the local level, specifically, has been an important measure in policy development. With regard to socioeconomic conditions, all countries suffer from the economic crisis, although the extent to which they do varies remarkably.Whereas unemployment in, for instance, Greece and Spain is rife, other countries have managed to restrict unemployment levels quite well.Table 4.5 illustrates the impact of the economic crisis through an overview of spending on social protection as percentage of GDP. Unfortunately, the latest available data are from 2009, but from that year we can observe a significant increase in spending, whereas most countries had managed to keep the increase limited or even reached a small decrease between 2006 and 2008. The increase in the EU 27 from 26.7 in 2008 to 29.5 in 2009 is remarkable, but also individual 91

The responsiveness of social policies in Europe Table 4.5: Expenditure on social protection (% GDP) EU (27 countries) Belgium Bulgaria Czech Republic Denmark Germany Estonia Ireland Greece Spain France Italy Cyprus Latvia Lithuania Luxembourg Hungary Malta Netherlands Austria Poland Portugal Romania Slovenia Slovakia Finland Sweden United Kingdom Iceland Norway Switzerland

2001 – 26.3 – 18.7 29.2 29.7 13.0 14.7 24.3 19.7 29.6 24.9 14.9 14.7 14.7 20.9 19.5 17.5 26.5 28.6 21.0 21.9 12.8 24.4 18.9 25.0 30.4 26.8 19.4 25.4 27.7

2002 – 26.7 – 19.4 29.7 30.3 12.7 17.0 24.0 20.0 30.5 25.3 16.3 14.3 14.0 21.6 20.4 17.6 27.6 29.0 21.1 22.9 13.6 24.3 19.1 25.7 31.3 25.7 21.2 26.0 28.5

2003 – 27.4 – 19.4 30.9 30.7 12.5 17.7 23.5 20.3 31.0 25.8 18.4 14.0 13.5 22.1 21.3 17.9 28.3 29.4 21.0 23.3 13.1 23.6 18.4 26.6 32.2 25.7 23.0 27.2 29.2

2004 – 27.4 – 18.6 30.7 30.1 13.0 17.9 23.6 20.3 31.4 26.0 18.1 13.2 13.4 22.3 20.8 18.6 28.3 29.1 20.1 23.9 12.8 23.3 17.2 26.7 31.6 25.9 22.6 25.9 29.3

2005 27.1 27.3 15.1 18.4 30.2 30.0 12.6 17.9 24.9 20.6 31.5 26.4 18.4 12.8 13.2 21.7 21.9 18.4 27.9 28.7 19.7 24.6 13.4 23.0 16.5 26.7 31.1 26.3 21.7 23.8 29.3

2006 26.6 27.1 14.2 18.0 29.2 28.9 12.1 18.2 24.7 20.5 30.9 26.6 18.5 12.7 13.4 20.4 22.5 18.3 28.8 28.2 19.4 24.6 12.8 22.7 16.3 26.4 30.4 26.0 21.2 22.6 28.0

2007 25.7 26.8 14.1 18.0 28.8 27.8 12.1 18.8 24.8 20.7 30.6 26.7 18.2 11.3 14.4 19.3 22.7 18.0 28.3 27.8 18.1 23.9 13.6 21.3 16.0 25.4 29.2 23.3 21.4 22.9 27.3

2008 2009 26.7 29.5 28.1 30.4 15.5 17.2 18.0 20.4 29.6 33.4 28.0 31.4 14.9 19.2 22.0 27.9 26.3 28.0 22.1 25.0 31.0 33.1 27.8 29.8 18.5 20.9 12.7 16.8 16.1 21.3 20.2 23.1 22.9 23.4 18.5 20.0 28.5 31.6 28.4 30.8 18.6 19.7 24.3 26.9 14.3 17.1 21.4 24.3 16.0 18.8 26.2 30.3 29.5 32.1 26.3 29.2 22.0 25.4 22.5 26.4 26.4 –

Source: Eurostat, Code tps00098

country scores illustrate the increasing pressure on the welfare state as a consequence of the economic crisis.This pressure is not restricted to specific welfare regimes; this challenge affects all European countries. In relation to the logic of public preferences, comparable data are hard to get. Many of the data that are available were discussed in ChapterTwo. None of the data in that chapter were aimed specifically at social assistance.Therefore, we cannot make reliable statements about 92

The responsiveness of social assistance policies

the way public preferences about social assistance have evolved at the European level.What we do observe, however, are European initiatives to combat poverty and promote social inclusion. European efforts are aimed at constructing comprehensive minimum income protection schemes throughout the European Union. But this initiative is at odds with the problems European countries already face in meeting the criteria of the European Monetary Union. The Dutch case reveals a striking convergence of public preferences, the institutional logic and socio-economic conditions, all aimed at restricting access to benefits and promoting the activation of those on benefits. This is comparable with developments in many other European countries in which the system of social assistance is complex. We do not observe many barriers to reform in these countries; we would expect reform processes to evolve smoothly, along similar lines to those we saw in the Dutch case. A big challenge in the Netherlands, as well as in other countries, is the reality of the unfavourable labour market position of many people living on social assistance. The aims of activation are high, but fulfilling these aims will remain a challenge for many European countries. A second group of European countries is more obviously confronted with the combination of public preferences, institutional logic and socioeconomic conditions. European initiatives seem to ask for integrated and comprehensive systems of minimum income provision at an acceptable level. Moreover, in times of crisis, the need for minimum income protection is greater than ever. But the countries hit hardest by the current crisis are also those with the least developed systems of minimum income protection. Budgetary restraints will probably keep these countries from extending their social assistance schemes. This will increase institutional frictions in the system of social protection.

93

five

The responsiveness of labour migration policies

Introduction The ever growing global mobility of labour, partly caused by the enlargement of the European Union, presents important challenges for national labour markets. Moreover, the role of labour migrants is heavily debated in the media and politics in many European countries. This chapter analyses to what extent and how European countries in general and the Netherlands more specifically have adapted their labour migration policies to these challenges. This case illustrates the impact of what can be called the import of normative discussions from other domains on responsiveness. Strictly interpreted, the Labour Migration Act (December 21, 1994) regulates supply in the labour market from an economic perspective. However, the issue of labour migration seems to be affected by incidents that attract a lot of media attention. This chapter shows how responsiveness is the outcome of a process of policy formation and implementation, but also of dealing with the turbulence of unrelated but extremely relevant debates and incidents from outside the policy field. The structure of this chapter mirrors that of the previous chapter. First, we identify some general trends in European labour migration policies and from this distil some general conclusions about the way European countries responded to the challenges in their institutional environment. After that, we analyse in depth the evolution of the Dutch labour migration regime. Finally, we integrate the insights of the Dutch case with the analysis relating to other European countries and draw some lessons about the responsiveness of labour migration policies in Europe.

European trends in labour migration policy Labour migration policy generally involves two streams: the legal immigration of foreign nationals, and temporary and labour market migration. In legal immigration, immigrants come to a country to 95

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settle and become permanent residents and citizens of the county; in labour migration, immigrants come to work and intend to leave after their work is completed or otherwise terminated. Immigration is about settlement, labour migration about work. This section discusses the three logics of responsiveness with regard to labour migration policy at the EU level and in the various EU member states.We review and discuss the most important developments in the policy system, developments in the policy environment and trends in public preferences towards labour migration. In addition, we discuss the dynamics of labour migration policies at the EU level that are a crucial factor for understanding the development of countries’ labour migration policies. This threefold analysis, as suggested in Chapter Three (Figure 3.2), can lead to statements about the level of responsiveness of labour migration policy at the EU level. It may also provide insights into the possible dominance of certain factors.We start this section with a description of the dynamics of the policy system, looking at two levels. The first is the EU supranational level. Labour migration is a domain in which the EU member states have autonomy over some elements, but EU regulation is dominant at other levels.We further explain this relation between the supranational and national decision making systems – and its most important policy dynamics – in this section. The second level is that of the ‘local’ policy of individual member states. Within the regulatory framework of EU regulation and international treaties, member states have policy space for country specific policies. It is important to note that the traditional member states have a long history of national migration and labour market policies, to which EU regulation had to be weaved in. The EU is a driver for the adaptation and synchronisation of local policy. Obviously, this can lead to tensions between the different policy levels, since the interests and preferences of individual countries do not necessarily match the EU agenda. Labour migration policy in the European Union The EU is deeply involved in integrating the European labour market, and therefore also in regulation of labour migration. EU policies limit the extent to which individual member states are able to make country specific policies on labour migration. Thus, EU policy has become the regulatory framework for member states. A brief history of labour migration policy at the EU level can be described as follows.

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Labour migration policy at the EU level The EU activities in the field of labour migration are formally set out in the Amsterdam Treaty of 1999, that centres on the right to free movement, settlement and employment across the EU for citizens of EU countries (Carrera et al, 2011).The Amsterdam Treaty was followed by a set of policies and directives to harmonise the migration policies of the member states. Labour migration thus became another step in the overarching EU aim of creating an open market – for goods, but also for labour and services – that has been at the heart of the process towards European integration. An important step was Directive 2004/38/ EC (European Parliament and Council, 2004), which designates free movement of persons as a fundamental right for all EU citizens. EU citizens can move to and work freely in other member states, which greatly restricts the range of national migration policy for EU residents (Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, 2011/12). The harmonisation of migration law embraced a much larger territory and population when in May 2004 ten new countries entered the EU as full members: Cyprus, Malta and the eight so-called Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) countries: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia.As a consequence, from May 2007 general EU policies, such as Directive 2004/38/EC (European Parliament and Council, 2004), applied to each of these countries and its residents. Romania and Bulgaria, which acceded in January 2007, were placed on a transitional arrangement, whereby immigrants might still need to apply for a work permit if individual member states decided so (Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, 2011/12). However, as from January 2014, the transitional arrangement expires and workers from Bulgaria and Romania have the same position as other EU members and can move – and work – freely throughout all of the member states (Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, 2011/12). The EU also became more active in regulating and harmonising migration rules for non-EU labour migration. In 2005, the European Commission drafted a plan for the design of common EU rules for legal migration. The plan focused on high-skilled workers, seasonal workers, intra-corporate transferees and remunerated trainees (European Commission, 2005). With this proposal the EU wanted to develop a more balanced approach throughout the EU to legal and illegal migration (European Commission, 2005). The so-called ‘Stockholm Programme’ of 2009 – entitled ‘Delivering an area of freedom, security and justice for Europe’s citizens’ – argues for a more 97

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global perspective for EU migration policy (European Commission, 2010; Newland, 2010). More specifically it aims to open up EU borders for selected and ‘wanted’ groups of immigrants, to support the internal European economy and strengthen the Union (Koehler et al, 2010). The ‘Programme’, which is a formal circulation of pre-policy ideas, puts proposals on the table that limit member states’ ability to regulate labour migration from countries outside the EU. Its first directive regulates the entry and residence of third country nationals with a highly qualified job through the so-called EU Blue Card. This directive attempts to attract highly qualified workers from third countries to improve the competitiveness of the EU economy. This is an important element of the so-called ‘Lisbon Strategy’: the EU wants to reduce the brain drain and to actively stimulate talent and skills to strengthen the European workforce.The Blue Card can be requested under certain conditions by the relevant member state and gives third country nationals legal access to the member state. Member states can individually determine a quota for the number of third country nationals, so that they remain able to regulate their own labour supply.This allows them to reject applicants for the European Blue Card and keep the local labour market closed to third country nationals (EU Blue Card Network, 2012). However, Directive 2011/98/EU (European Parliament and Council, 2011) proposes the introduction of a single application procedure for third country migrant workers. This Directive, adopted on 13 December 2011, regulates a common set of rights for these workers and further diminishes the scope for individual policy for member states. The Directive must be implemented by member states in December 2013. In addition, there are other plans to increase the EU’s role in labour migration policies. In November 2011, the European Commission sent out a policy document to the European Parliament, the European Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions that outlined the EU’s priorities for forthcoming years. Based upon demographic trends and the Stockholm Programme, the Commission argued that there was an urgent need for policy on the integration of migrants into the labour market. This policy had to meet the challenges of the labour market, such as the shortage of high-skilled workers. As a next step, the European Commission published a Green Paper in 2012, which suggested policies for fitting economic migration into the EU strategy for employment and economic growth (European Commission, 2011: 4).The process of integration of labour market and legal immigration policy by the EU is still in full swing. Over the years, the EU has harmonised migration policy in the internal EU market and is currently extending that to 98

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external parties and policies for third country nationals. For most EU members, this implies that they have lost the power to regulate their internal labour market migration and to some extent the ability to regulate migration by third country nationals. In this policy domain, the EU has become larger and has greatly extended its influence at the expense of individual member states’ autonomy. Labour migration policy in EU member states As a consequence of developments at the EU level, labour migration policy in member states is now bounded by the policy of the European Union. This is particularly evident in the directives drafted by the European Union that must be implemented by member states in national migration policy. In this section, we discuss the policies of the 27 individual member states. Each country has policies in the field of labour migration, ranging from restrictive to accommodating and focused from low-skilled to high-skilled workers.The policies also differ in focus on benefits in the long or short term. Policies to strengthen the structure of the economy are often focused on the longer term, for instance by attracting high-skilled workers and enabling them to become permanent residents. Policies that aim to solve labour shortages, often caused by conjectural development, are generally focused on the shorter term and on low-skilled seasonal workers. These workers are not encouraged to become permanent residents as their positions are directly related to the conjectural issues of the time. Figures 5.1 and 5.2 classify the labour policies of member states on two axes; the horizontal axe sets out short term against the long term, while the vertical axe sets out the restrictive to the accommodating policies.This classification is based on an analysis of data from the EMN (2011) and data of the MIPEX index (2011).The position of a country on the horizontal axis indicates the time horizon of a countries’ policy; shorter term oriented versus longer term oriented, or in economic jargon, conjectural or structural oriented. The vertical axis indicates the general direction of a countries’ policy as either more restrictive or accommodating. All member states appear in both figures, as we distinguish between policies directed at low-skilled and high-skilled workers. The position of each country in Figure 5.1 is the policy of the member state for low-skilled workers and the position of each country in Figure 5.2 is the policy for high-skilled workers.The arrows indicate the general trend in policy and indicate if and how policy has developed since 2007.

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Figure 5.1: EU-countries’ labour migration policy for low-skilled workers in the period 2007-2011 List of countries Au Austria Bel Belgium Bul Bulgaria Cyp Cyprus Cze Czech Republic Den Denmark Est Estonia Fin Finland Fra France Ger Germany Gre Greece Hun Hungary Ire Ireland Ita Italy Lat Latvia Lit Lithuania Lux Luxembourg Mal Malta Neth Netherlands Pol Poland Por Portugal Rom Romania SI Slovenia SK Slovakia Spa Spain Swe Sweden UK United Kingdom

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Figure 5.2: EU-countries’ labour migration policy for high-skilled workers in the period 2007-2011 List of countries Au Austria Bel Belgium Bul Bulgaria Cyp Cyprus Cze Czech Republic Den Denmark Est Estonia Fin Finland Fra France Ger Germany Gre Greece Hun Hungary Ire Ireland Ita Italy Lat Latvia Lit Lithuania Lux Luxembourg Mal Malta Neth Netherlands Pol Poland Por Portugal Rom Romania SI Slovenia SK Slovakia Spa Spain Swe Sweden UK United Kingdom

The responsiveness of labour migration policies

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The figures reveal four distinct categories of countries’ policies. Table 5.1 presents these four clusters of countries with comparable policies. Figures 5.1 and 5.2 show how almost all EU member states have changed labour migration policies in the period from 2007 to 2011 (EMN, 2011; MIPEX, 2011). Some countries did so only marginally (for example Belgium), or only in one of the segments of high-skilled or low-skilled labour (for example the UK). Others, such as Hungary, Malta and Slovakia, are relatively ‘young’ EU member states that have not yet developed very specific policies in the field of labour migration or have done so only very recently. Policy change is not yet imminent in those systems and most of them were already matched to EU regulation. However, these are the exceptions to the general rule of labour migration policy as a relatively volatile policy domain. Most EU countries have drastically limited legal access for particularly lowskilled immigrants. Figure 5.1 indicates that many countries move from accommodating to restrictive policies for low-skilled immigrants. Also, donor countries, such as Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, have taken measures to promote return migration and prevent the brain drain. At the same time, most developed member states devised new and further-reaching policies to accommodate the entry of highskilled immigrants – in the short term to fill cyclical shortages in the local labour force, but also aimed at the long-term relief of projected gaps in the countries’ economies. Almost all the arrows in Figure 5.2 indicate more accommodating policies for high-skilled labourers, also in countries where policy towards low-skilled immigrants became more restrictive. In most countries migration policy is split into two separate segments of high-skilled or low-skilled labour. Table 5.1: Categories of EU countries’ labour migration policies in the period 2007–2011 Cluster 1

The Netherlands, Austria, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, France

Cluster 2

Belgium, Luxembourg, Hungary, Low-skilled and high-skilled: Cyprus, Malta, Poland, Slovenia restrictive policy

Cluster 3

Italy, Lithuania, Latvia, Finland, Ireland, Portugal, Greece, Spain

Low-skilled in short term and high-skilled in long term: accommodative policy

Cluster 4

Sweden, Slovakia, Romania, the UK

Low-skilled and high-skilled either in short or just in long term: accommodative policy

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The responsiveness of labour migration policies

A preliminary conclusion about labour migration policy in EU member states is that, as a general trend, labour migration policies in the EU member states became more restrictive and focused on the protection of national labour markets. Labour migration policy became an instrument for domestic labour market policy. In order to stimulate, support or protect the domestic labour market, policy became more accommodating for high-skilled workers and more restrictive towards low-skilled workers (Collett, 2010).This is important, because it draws attention to conditions and trends on the domestic labour market as signifiers for labour migration policy change. Characteristics and trends of domestic labour supply, economic conditions and projections, and social security regimes became important factors for understanding developments in labour migration policy when steering the domestic labour market became the object of policy.Also, this development in the object of labour migration policy – the policy became an instrument in steering the domestic labour market – translated into a quite general trend in policy changes in different EU countries. On the whole, labour migration policies of member states became more selective in their position towards labour migration: in general, selectivity means restrictive for low-skilled labour and accommodating for high-skilled workers. As a result, gaps in policy towards both ends of the labour migration spectrum widened greatly. Low-skilled labour faces ever more restrictive policy, while countries are keen to accommodate the easy entrance of high-skilled labour. In the next section we will see how these trends in policy related to the dynamics in the environments of the policy system and of the social preferences involved in labour migration. The background to policy changes: characteristics of the environment The previous section showed an abundance of policy changes in most EU member states and at the EU level itself. In this chapter we will see how these policy changes relate to the characteristics of the environment and popular and political beliefs with regard to labour migration. We will start with the characteristics of the environment. Severe economic and social conditions create pressure towards restrictive policy This book stresses the nature of policy as part of a system where factors ‘outside’ the policy system itself are important for understanding the dynamics of policy. With regard to labour migration policy, we have 103

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seen how the policy changed towards an instrument for steering the domestic labour market and how that resulted in a split between policy aimed at low-skilled workers and high-skilled workers. Countries became more selective and more ‘strategic’ in their selection of immigrants. Over the past couple of years, three developments especially have been crucial for policy makers when directing and (re-)designing labour market policy (Koehler et al, 2010; Brick, 2011): 1. Worsening economic conditions, contraction of national economies and, in many countries, the extreme tightening of domestic labour markets. 2. Geopolitical incidents (civil war, regime change, disasters, local effects of climate change) near EU borders that spur migration flows towards European countries and therefore into the European migration system. Note that this is not necessarily labour migration, but has an impact on labour migration policies. 3. Further integration of supranational regulation, especially from the EU level. First, the unprecedented global economic crisis struck exceptionally hard in many European countries and has put extreme pressure on domestic labour markets.The crisis changed conditions at the receiving end of labour migration and initiated new flows of migration between member states. As a result of economic contraction and the social hardship that follows from it, countries find it hard to make the case for labour migration and influx of particularly low-skilled labour (Koehler et al, 2010). Although economic integration remains firmly as a European ideal, domestic economic problems are enormous in many countries and low wage labour migration from other EU member states is perceived as perilous for laid-off local workers. High and rising unemployment figures in member states lead to questions about the possibly disturbing effects of labour migration from EU member states on the domestic labour market. Also, the economic crisis brings a new dimension to labour migration within the EU. For a long time, migration flows were quite stable, from Eastern and Central European countries towards the richer and growing economies of Southern, Western and Northern Europe. However, the economic crisis has put many Southern Europeans out of work and these workers from previously receiving regions are now ready to move. Italy, Spain and Greece are becoming donor countries instead of hosts and Northern European countries fear an influx of newly unemployed people.

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Second, in spite of the economic crisis, the prosperity gap between the EU and Africa is still widening and Europe remains an alluring shore for African immigrants looking for work and a better life. Ever increasing (attempted) migration by African migrants, sparked by the Arab Spring, is putting pressure on border control capacity and raises questions about immigration policy (Nascimbene and Di Pascale, 2011; Ulack, 2011).Therefore, countries at the southern border of the EU – Italy, Spain, Cyprus and Greece – call for a modernised migration policy for the EU that takes into account increasing attempted migration.They see the pressure from Africa more as a collective issue of absorption capacity by all the member states than as a problem of border control. This could call for a shift towards more systemised thinking about absorption, instead of the continued raising of fences at the border. Apart from the very practical and acute pressure on border facilities, this development has also spurred the debate about the possible necessity for a general EU migration policy. Third, the enlargement of the EU is a massive driver for EU policy with regard to migration policy for low-skilled workers. EU enlargement and the Schengen Agreement (1985) have reduced the barriers to internal labour migration, which has dramatically increased (European Parliament and Council, 2006). Although in line with the intentions of EU policy, migration between member states puts pressure on member states to facilitate and absorb the flow into the domestic labour market. Countries have lost control over the most prominent stream of labour migration, but observe that it directly affects conditions in the domestic labour market and local social security and welfare policy. They face the consequences of labour migration but can no longer control it. This development puts pressure on policy makers – at the EU level and in member states – to rethink and adapt migration policy. These three trends have different consequences, but overall add up to an increased demand by EU member states to regain – at least some – national autonomy over migration flows and regulation of their domestic labour market. Meanwhile, EU policy continues to move in the exact opposite direction, towards further integration of economic structure and harmonising of policy. Persistent economic malaise especially puts intensified pressure on tolerance for migrants. Social problems and fear of immigrants taking away jobs feed antiimmigration sentiments in many countries in the EU.At the same time, many net migration countries suffer the consequences of brain drain, as some of their more qualified and potentially most valuable labour force move to other areas in Europe in hope of greater success (EMN, 105

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2011). While there are conditions that favour further integration of migration policy, economic conditions produce sentiments that highly favour local migration policy to protect deteriorating local labour markets. The need for integrated migration policy may be greater than ever – as most countries recognise the need to strengthen the structure of the European economy and emphasise the importance of regenerating growth – but the practical and actual economic and social conditions are probably more difficult than ever for achieving that ideal.This puts policy makers to the test; can policy answer to very divergent calls under extreme circumstances of economic crisis and related socioeconomic hardship? However grim the economic conditions are, the current economic and social situation is only half of the story. Policy makers face structural long-term challenges, mainly from demographic trends (Koehler et al, 2010). Contrary to the conditions we discussed before – that primarily point towards more restrictive migration policy of member states to protect their local labour market and local workers – the more structural underlying developments point towards a more aggressive immigration strategy. While the short-term policy agenda of most countries is to limit or repair the implications of economic recession, the longer term goal of all member states – and the EU – is to restore growth potential and restructure the economy. In the first case labour migration should be limited, while the latter suggests more accommodating policies for immigrants that strengthen the European economy. The challenge for most European countries is to move towards renewed economic growth potential. In order to achieve the goals of the Lisbon strategy the EU without doubt needs talents and skills from outside the EU. Selective labour migration helps to increase economic growth and is a requisite for achieving the policy goals of sustainable growth on the long term in Europe. Europe, along with Japan, suffers more from population ageing than China and the US, the other competing economic blocks in the world. Not only does population ageing decrease the growth potential of national economies, it also puts increased pressure on already top-heavy social models. According to the World Bank (2006) the number of workers with a high income will be reduced from 495 million in 2008 to 475 million in 2025. Such contraction renders current social models unsustainable, and there are strong voices pleading for selective migration strategies as a possible solution for that problem. Although the specific problem of top-heavy social models can in the end only be resolved by a rollback of the system, the strengthening of the working base will be an important

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part of a strategy to renew the EU’s growth potential and relieve the costs of cutbacks in entitlements. Initiatives such as the Blue Card for controlled labour migration from outside the EU must be seen in that light. They are a move in the direction of a more aggressive migration strategy and an attempt to further open the EU market for qualified and selected groups of workers. Such a model allows migrants to act as contributors to the model, both as financial contributors (premiums, taxes) and as much needed ‘working hands’ to fill the gap of upcoming labour shortages in many economic sectors (for example care, cleaning, technicians, construction). Mixed incentives for labour migration policy As we have seen in this section, labour migration policy in the EU and most of the member states is caught in the midst of the very distinct directions of external conditions. One acute and therefore dominant perspective is that of the short-term timeframe of unprecedented economic crisis. Economic contraction and sustained recession in many European countries produce economic and social difficulty that countries have not experienced for decades. And not only is the recession deep, it also has no prospect of a swift recovery. Projections look grim and people are planning for an extended period of hardship. Obviously, such severe conditions are not ideal for labour migration. Policy makers are urged to protect the local labour force and there is a natural tendency towards protection and at least selection of labour workers to protect local workers and increase the chances of local unemployed people finding a new job – for instance in low-skilled work. Meanwhile, however, there is the structural and longer-term timeframe, where a strong and accommodating labour migration strategy is required in order for the EU and member states to grow. Upcoming labour shortages from population ageing and influxes from talented foreign workers are necessary to achieve renewed sustainable growth of the economy and uphold the social model and welfare standards in Europe. In the longer time-scale labour migration is part of the solution rather than the problem of European societies. And as mentioned in this section, policy makers at the European and national levels are faced directly with these mixed incentives for policy change. If labour migration should be responsive to characteristics of the policy environment, the question is also to what environment and – at least in the case of labour migration policy – to what time frame? 107

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Social beliefs and attitudes towards migration This section looks into the third base of the model we presented in Chapter Three, the public preferences that policy is, or ought to be, responsive to. What are the dynamics of social beliefs and in which direction do they point for policy makers who design, reshape or mould migration policy? Before we start, it is important to note that most member states have shown an intense dynamic in public sentiment towards permanent residence and labour migration. And although this case study does not involve policy on permanent residence, and has up till now hardly discussed that topic, we will do so here. In the practice of popular belief, the formal and regulatory distinction between permanent residence and labour migration is hardly made and is at best vaguely familiar. The debate centres on ‘immigrants’ and ‘foreigners’ regardless of their status and the purpose of their presence in a country. This section takes that conceptual confusion of the general public into account, and considers where and how it is important to understanding labour migration policy change. In most EU countries, sentiments towards immigration began to shift long before the economic crisis hit in 2008. Decreased tolerance for immigrants can hardly be called a result of the economic downturn, but the downturn in economic performance and wealth has stoked the debate about restrictive migration. For example, in the UK and Spain migration was already a highly politicised issue before the crisis and intensified while it was happening. In Ireland, public opinion towards immigrants was relatively positive when the crisis began, but turned hostile after it struck extremely hard in that country (Koehler et al, 2010). Economic crisis is more than an economic problem about how to reallocate the workforce under challenging circumstances; it is a disruptive and iconic phase in popular sentiments about insiders and outsiders, about them and us. The crisis is not merely in the market, but also in the mind; people feel uncertain and look for protection and control, while many perceive labour migration as a threat. Obviously, this is not all new, but the enormity of the crisis is – and it has created negative sentiments about labour migration. The crisis puts strong pressure on individual member states’ migration policies, and labour market policy as part of them. However, that said, we cannot state that the European sentiments towards immigration are clearly negative.The European Values Studies (EVSs) (1999/2006; 2008) show interesting trends in public preferences towards immigrants (as a general category). Sentiments are mixed for 108

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different categories and issues. In 2008, with the economic crisis already setting in, citizens in most EU countries disagree with the phrase that ‘immigrants take away jobs of nationals’. Immigration is not seen as primarily an issue of labour, but as a social issue. In almost all countries in the EVS survey the majority of citizens agree with the statements that ‘immigrants increase crime problems’ and ‘immigrants are a strain on the welfare system’. Also, people in most countries agree with the statement that there are too many immigrants in their country. This leads to the conclusion that in public perception immigration is only marginally related to the loss of jobs or to the domestic labour market. People are primarily concerned, and ‘negative’, about social and cultural issues and crime. Nevertheless, this is not to say that Europeans are generally ‘open’ to labour migration. The EVSs in 2006 show that the majority of the population of EU countries agrees that migrant workers from less developed countries should only be admitted if there are jobs. In a number of countries, for example Denmark, Malta, Belgium and the Netherlands, the majority of the population agrees that a strict quota should be established for the number of migrant workers from less developed countries. That was years before the economic crisis hit and the decline and contraction of the economy set in. New EVS data should reveal how these emerging trends play out in the context of the economic crisis and increased (fear of) unemployment. In relation to responsiveness, it is difficult to establish a relationship between current policies and public preferences about immigration. They both interact, unlike for instance economic conditions; the economy does not shrink because of excessive labour migration – at least not substantially. For public perceptions, this is more of a mutual relation. Denmark and Sweden are interesting cases of this duality of perception and policy. From Figures 5.1 and 5.2 it appears that Denmark has a very restrictive migration policy.That implies that the Danes are very concerned about labour migration and consider it an important potential threat to them. But EVS data tell a different story. Instead of having fear of immigrants, the majority in Denmark believes there are not too many immigrants and also does not believe that immigrants take jobs away from nationals. Why does Denmark adopt a very restrictive policy while public opinion is not very afraid of migration? There are different possible explanations for this, that relate to the responsiveness of policy to public preference. One explanation is the restrictive policy itself, as it leads to smaller numbers of immigrants and less exposure to the downsides of migration. Sustained restrictive migration policies keep people from becoming negative about 109

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immigration and give them the feeling that their administrators are in control of it. Policy prevents public preference from becoming negative. It is responsive ‘before the event’, although that is a contradiction: policy answers to public preferences before they consolidate. However, another explanation is that policy in the past has been responsive to public preferences; people were negative about migration once, but restrictive policies successfully took away those sentiments. Public preferences influence the policy and then policy is responsive and answers to public preferences ‘after the fact’. For further analysis of responsiveness, it may be important to keep this possible mutuality of responsiveness in mind. A similarly unusual case is that of Sweden. In Sweden, people have a similar attitude towards migration as in Denmark. However, Swedish policy is entirely different from Denmark’s: it is accommodating instead of restrictive. We may say that labour migration policy in Sweden is responsive to public preferences; people are positive about immigrants and therefore the policy is accommodating. But more importantly, there is another side to the Swedish model as well. Sweden is open, but not to everyone. Immigrants are welcome, but only for a very specific set of available jobs; the Swedish model is highly selective. Also, the Swedish labour market may be open, but the social model is not. Immigrants do not acquire entitlements until they have resided in the country – and contributed to the model – for quite a long time. The Swedes are probably open to migration because immigrants are generally employed, and contributing to a model that they are not entitled to until they have bought themselves in.The lesson drawn from the Swedish case, and to keep in mind for the analysis in this book, is that responsiveness may diverge over policy domains; Swedes may be positive about migration because it supports their social welfare – an issue that is rather distinct from migration itself. The cases of Denmark and Sweden show that migration policy may answer to different calls from the public. Migration policy and access to the social model may be tuned in such a way that public sentiment in countries can be channeled and directed.They also show that there are a lead-in time and mutuality between policy and preference; a critical public does not necessarily mean a strict policy, just as lenient public preference does not imply an accommodating policy. Policy and public preference interact and it is up to policy makers to rearrange and fine-tune their policies in such a way that they remain adequately ‘in touch’ with public preferences.

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Labour migration policy in the Netherlands In the previous section we discussed developments in labour migration policies at the European level and some of the most important drivers for those changes in policy. Obviously, these trends also affect Dutch labour migration policy, as most of the policy changes at the EU level have direct consequences for domestic policies in the Netherlands. In this in-depth case study of the Netherlands we will see how the trends and developments we have already seen at the level of the EU and the different member states play out in practice.The analysis in the previous sections showed that while there are many general drivers for policy change, they all point in different directions. Public preferences can explain different policy changes, just as the type of action indicated by economic conditions differs greatly with the time horizon used: restrictive in the short term, accommodating in the long term; to protect the domestic labour market in the current times of crisis, but in the longer term to strengthen the economic structure and the social model with an accommodating migration policy. This chapter looks one level deeper, to see how policy makers in the Netherlands have made sense of these diverse cues for policy making and were responsive to developments.We analyse how the institutional framework of labour migration policy interacted with developments in the three elements of our theoretical framework: socioeconomic conditions, public preferences, and political preferences. We describe in depth how developments in these three fields have been translated into policy changes and/or changes in implementation. This will provide insights into how policy makers were responsive amidst the divergent nature of indications and at what levels of policy systems the changes were made. In doing so, we progress theoretical and empirical knowledge about why and how modern welfare states respond to important but ambivalent developments in their environment. The in-depth analysis of the Dutch case of labour migration reveals how policy makers juggle between the different elements in our model and at what level that juggling takes place. A brief history of labour migration policy in the Netherlands The Act on the Employment of Aliens (AEA) (In Dutch: Wet Arbeid Vreemdelingen: Wav) is the nucleus of labour migration policy in the Netherlands.The AEA is a dual law, as it serves two causes: it regulates immigration, but is also a valve for labour market policy. It is meant to regulate the response to the supply of foreign labour, and uses foreign 111

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labour as a tool to balance supply and demand on the internal labour market. The AEA is a coherent policy, in the sense that it includes the general outline of labour migration policy, but also regulates and organises the implementation and enforcement of the policy.The AEA deals with the entire cycle of labour migration. However, it is important to note that the ‘closed cycle’ of the AEA applies only to a limited portion of labour migration. Labourers from foreign countries inside the European Economic Area (EEA) are excluded from the AEA.The AEA applies to each employee from outside the EEA and has four goals: • • • •

enforcement of the restrictive admission of labour migrants; improvement of allocation to the Dutch labour market; combating illegal employment; creating as much choice of jobs as possible for foreigners who are admitted permanently to the Netherlands.

From these goals regulation of the admission of labour workers in the AEA is explicit and restrictive, connected to developments in the national labour market: the admission or refusal of entry of foreign labourers to the national labour market is based upon local circumstances in the labour market.Therefore, the AEA is an instrument of both immigration and labour policy. The AEA has a long history. The current situation of labour migration policy, as described above, has emerged from a long process of policy development. This first section briefly outlines the course of the AEA’s history and highlights the most important issues and events in that policy history. A first take at regulation: the Foreign Employees Act (Wabw) (1979) Labour market policy and the admission of foreign immigrants has been an important theme for governmental steering for decades. But in spite of a long history of labour migration, the Netherlands hardly had a specific and coherent policy for this. Only in the second half of the 19th century did policy attention to labour migration grow. After the Second World War the economy of the Netherlands grew rapidly and there was a shortage of qualified labour to serve the growing industrial sector. Large companies went to Southern Europe to recruit significant numbers of workers from Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal. Many immigrants enrolled and were brought to the Netherlands as temporary workers in Dutch factories, sometimes the male population 112

The responsiveness of labour migration policies

of entire villages at once. Over the years their numbers grew rapidly. With the practice of massive and uncoordinated labour migration the need for a more coordinated labour migration policy grew and a system of mandatory work permits was created. This measure can be seen as the starting point of modern labour migration policy. In the subsequent years, the Netherlands remained a country of migration that received many unskilled and, for the large part, illiterate labourers from Turkey and Morocco, to enter the labour market to support the growing economy of the Netherlands. However, in the late 1970s policy shifted. The First Oil Crisis unleashed an economic recession that revealed the structural economic problems of the Dutch economy. Unemployment exploded and the demand for foreign labour decreased entirely; and with their former employers now struggling, laid-off immigrants were left to look after themselves. Also, many immigrants who were initially assumed to have come only to work temporarily settled permanently.They brought over families and sought housing, mostly clustered in old neighbourhoods of larger cities. Labour migration became permanent settlement and entire new communities were founded. As a response to these developments, the Ministry of Social Affairs initiated the Foreign Employees Act (Wabw), which was implemented in 1979. The Wabw consisted of strict but very general rules for the admission of migrant workers. It regulated who could be active in the Dutch labour market and under what conditions. Foreigners from countries with which the Netherlands had a so-called recruitment agreement could, under strict restrictions, apply for a work permit. The work permit could only be requested by the employer and the applicant together, a measure meant to guarantee employment for the immigrant. The work permit gave the labour migrant permission to work in a specific vacancy at a specific company. Further restrictions were also established in the law. Foreigners without a residence permit could not obtain a work permit. More importantly, the internal labour market request was introduced as the criterion for admission, instead of for the mere supply of labour. In the case of sufficient domestic supply of labour, or absence of decent housing, a work permit could be refused. Also, the Minister could now restrict the number of foreign workers at specific companies and the age categories of labour workers that were needed. The latter provided the Minister with a specific opportunity to take direct control over migration. The law performed quite well in its early years and for a while the migration problem seemed under control. However, migration pressure began to mount again in the 1980s and the demand for more restrictive 113

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policy grew again.The Netherlands suffered from what became known as ‘the Dutch Disease’, a combination of economic stagnation, inflation and high unemployment rates; the country’s economy dived into recession again and once more foreign immigrants where the first to be laid off, with full entitlement to social services.Yet still, employers recruited workers from foreign countries, for jobs that existed only hypothetically. Many such labour migrants came to the Netherlands on the basis of a work permit only to find that ‘their’ jobs had vanished upon their arrival. They came to the country to work, but many of them soon ended up unemployed and living on welfare state benefits. The combination of open labour migration law, the inclusiveness of the welfare state system and social benefits proved very costly. This called for action. Introduction of the Act on the Employment of Aliens (AEA) (1995) The most important problem relating to the Wabw was that it hardly took into account real conditions in the domestic labour market. Migrants were recruited for jobs that companies thought they might have in the near future, or that existed at the time but had little prospect for the future. And once settled in the Netherlands, companies would bear no costs for keeping migrants there and were not responsible for providing for laid-off workers. The costs of unemployment of labour migrants were borne entirely by the community. To address these difficulties, the Ministry of Social Affairs developed a new framework to put the labour demand of sectors, instead of that of individual employers, first in granting a work permit. The new regime was designed to act as a valve for the domestic labour market: bringing people in where needed (in the case of shortage of domestic labour), but keeping them out if domestic demand for labour was absent, when the domestic supply of labour was abundant. Part of the purpose of this was to keep foreigners out of the unemployment benefits system in the Netherlands, but also to keep local workers out of unemployment. On 1 September 1995, the AEA became active.The overarching difference between the Wabw and the AEA was the more restrictive character of the AEA: the domestic market was leading in granting work permits, not merely to facilitate and streamline the influx of labour, but to a large extent to prevent the influx in the first place. From 1995 on the AEA has mostly remained the same. The fundamentals of the law have not changed. However, in spite of the absence of fundamental reforms many incremental changes have been made along the way, some in the policy itself, but most made 114

The responsiveness of labour migration policies

in the implementation. Incremental changes were often a response to developments such as rising unemployment, EU enlargement and changing public preferences about labour migration. Some changes made the Act more accommodating – especially in the case of labour shortages in sectors; others made it more restrictive – especially in the areas of low- or no-skilled labour.With the many incremental steps the AEA began to change in character. In time, the overall aim of the AEA became to ensure that migrant workers contributed to Dutch society. Contributors were welcome, but priority was given to local workers and EU residents. The main instrument is now the work permit. The AEA includes different criteria for the provision of a work permit. The most important is the priority labour supply: work permits are only granted if the local labour supply is insufficient for the concrete demand in a certain sector. Demand is not defined by the sector itself, but by the governing body that administers unemployment benefits (UWV). As part of the admission process, the AEA requires sufficient efforts from employers to attract local or EU member state workers for their vacancies.The AEA requires employers to report a vacancy to the UWV five weeks before applying for a work permit.The employer also has to pay the worker the minimum wage, in order to prevent exploitation and false competition. The AEA also holds individual employers accountable for foreign labourers’ permits. If a permit is incomplete or lacking, the employer, not the employee, is fined. Modernising the AEA to the ‘knowledge economy’ In 2001, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment published a white paper about bottlenecks in labour market and labour migration policies.The paper proposed several adjustments to the existing labour market policies, in order to deal with emerging problems. At the time, the economy was experiencing rapid growth and many sectors had labour shortages. For many high-skilled jobs especially – IT, services, specialised technical manufacturing – there was a shortage of qualified labour to support what then became known as the knowledge economy: the economy of high-skilled, knowledge intense, innovative and mostly high income jobs. The AEA was therefore extended, with policies to act more effectively in the so-called international struggle for talent and to be more accommodating for promising foreign labour supply. The distinction between knowledge migration and labour migration was introduced in the AEA. For sectors with a high demand for talented and exceptionally skilled workers, policy was to become inviting. In the domain of low-skilled labour the AEA remained restrictive. In 2004, 115

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the AEA was further changed so that it became easier for knowledge migrants to settle in the Netherlands.This was partly done in response to large firms that were having trouble recruiting and placing expats due to immigration rules. This new round of incremental changes further codified the already emerging dual nature of the AEA: accommodating for knowledge workers, restrictive for low-skilled labour immigrants. Opening up the AEA to EU residents Until 2004, the AEA was effectively a closed system. Borders were closed, except for CEE countries that were more or less comparable to the Netherlands and were not expected to produce large streams of immigrants. However, in 2004 the upcoming accession of the new ‘Central and Eastern European’ CEE countries to the EU sparked a fierce debate about the admission of CEE nationals. Contrary to other CEE countries, these Central and Eastern European countries had large supplies of qualified and cheap labour available and ready to move. Plumbers, builders, technical professionals and many other workers from, for instance, Poland were supposedly ready to ‘invade’ the Dutch labour market. The upcoming accession of these new member states threatened the core of the AEA and its ability to act as a valve to the domestic labour market.The AEA could function only because an application for a permit could always be declined for domestic reasons.With the new accession labour immigrants from new member states would no longer need a permit; they could literally drive to the Netherlands and offer their services to local employers. The closed system of the AEA would be wide open, without any real instrument to regulate entry and the local impact of foreign workers. The tone of the debate at the time was ambivalent. People recognised that CEE workers could do a good job in relieving the labour shortages in many sectors, such as construction and agriculture, but also that EU policies would minimise national autonomy over labour migration from member states. With general sentiment about immigration at an all-time low and with the dominant ideology of multiculturalism at its end, the timing for ‘opening borders to foreigners’ could not have been worse. However, notwithstanding the unrest in the Netherlands, May 2007 saw the removal of restrictions for access to the labour market for CEE nationals. Borders were now open for CEE nationals to work in the Netherlands and the scope of the AEA was – without amendments to the Act itself – greatly reduced.

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The future of the AEA After 2008 the AEA was again adapted several times. In an attempt to further support the knowledge economy and the higher ends of the labour market, the admission of high-skilled workers became easier. Contrary to these permissive changes, the debate about the impact of CEE workers on local communities and working conditions intensified to boiling point. In particular, the prospect of a new stream of countries entering the CEE, and the potential new influx of labourers from countries such as Romania and Bulgaria, stoked the debate about labour migration. The number of workers from Eastern and Central European countries exceeded all expectations, and although most of them were actually working this caused great concern among people, but also trade unions and other organised interests.This reality pushed the national government, municipal governments, unions and employer organisations to make agreements about working conditions, housing and many other aspects of foreign labour in local markets. EU regulation about open borders could not be blocked, reversed or gone round, but policy makers nevertheless started looking for ways to address its negative consequences. Interestingly enough, they came up with a wide array of existing rules and agreements that enabled them to devise all sorts of programmes to ‘regulate’ labour migration. Foreign labourers could not be declined the right to work, but there could be an obligation to offer them adequate housing at a normal rent with a maximum of four residents. And there were many more such practical policies that could be imposed on labour migrants and their employers, to partly disincentivise labour migration and to solve many of migrants’ practical problems (housing, living standards, hygiene, social problems, equal pay, and so on).The new agreement does not use new regulation, but makes use of all sorts of existing rules and norms, some of them actually very old. Furthermore, it is not the Ministry of Social Affairs imposing new rules, but all levels of governments and very different branches (housing, health, unions, employer unions, and so on) are contributing to it. This new round in the development of the AEA is a collaborative rather than a regulatory effort. Policy changes in the AEA The development of the AEA can be described as a stream of small and incremental changes to the core of the AEA as established in 1995. There were many changes – over 40 since 2000 – but most of them were at the level of maintenance of existing policies; changes necessary 117

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to keep the AEA in line with regulation in other domains at the national level or overarching regulation from the EU level. Many changes also took place at the levels of the executive agency and the Inspectorate; these are not changes in the body of the AEA, but in the protocols for inspection or, for instance, the categories used by the executive agency. They have important impacts on the practical proceedings of the AEA, but are not formal amendments to it. However, one fundamental and formal policy innovation occurred with the introduction of a new formal category in the policy, the knowledge immigrant. This new category codified the already growing practice of an accommodating AEA regime towards foreign workers with special and domestically scarce talents, most of whom operated at the high end of the labour market. This new stream in the AEA developed further in the years after the codification in the AEA, with a range of incremental changes to respond to practical experiences and emerging issues in this part of the labour market and the knowledge economy. Table 5.2 identifies the different formal policy changes in the AEA in the period from 1995 to 2010 and places them in the three categories presented in Chapter Three: minor revisions, institutional adaptations and system innovation.The table shows that most of the changes were incremental and only a few were interventions at the level of policy succession or policy innovation. This supports the view that the AEA was primarily changed in small incremental steps, many of which were not made in the ‘letter of the law’ but in its practical proceedings in the executive and inspection regime. However, as we have also seen, many of the small steps combine to make a considerable impact on the outcome of the AEA.The most important examples are the ‘administrative fine’ and the extended authority of the Inspectorate to hold companies accountable for illegal employees on their premises (instead of fining individual employees). These incremental and executive changes drastically increased the effectiveness of the AEA and made it a powerful policy in practice instead of merely a paper tiger.We therefore consider them institutional adaptations; although administrative and instrumental in nature, these changes were fundamental in their outcome and opened up a new stream of other incremental follow-up changes in the policy. At the time they were not praised or discussed as very innovative, but in practice they immediately changed the game. Equally important is that the AEA is in effect made with different exemptions. The policy is generally strict about who can work and who cannot, but there are various streams of exemptions for specific professions and ‘talents’ to bypass this general rule. Over the years, the general rules have hardly changed, but the number of exemptions has 118

The responsiveness of labour migration policies Table 5.2: Formal policy changes in the AEA in the period 1995–2010

Adaptations because of changes in other policy

Changes in the content of policy instruments

Adaptations in implementation structure

Improvement of legislation

Adaptations as a result of changes in tax laws

Total minor revisions

Year 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010

Changes in amounts

Minor revisions

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

0 0 1 1 0 0 2 1 1 3 1 2 5 2 2 1

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

0 2 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 1 2 5 0 3 0 0

0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 1

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Institu­tional Institu­tional adaptations innovations 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

increased rapidly. Decisions about exemptions are not made at the policy core of the ministry, but in the executive agency or the Inspectorate. Indirectly, political decisions about who can work and enter are made in the executive branches of the AEA. This has also moved much of the political pressure around labour migration towards the executive agency and the Inspectorate. Lobby groups and employers’ organisations pressurise the executive agency and the Inspectorate to have groups of employees considered as ‘exemptions’ – for instance to bring them in as cheap labour in the agricultural industry or at large construction sites. Labour migration is not depoliticised but the AEA has seen a transfer of political debate towards the outer branches of the policy system.

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Evolving views on labour migration and the AEA The previous section identified the policy changes over the years in the AEA.This section examines the conditions that led to the changes, in line with our argument in Chapter Three.We present the dynamics in citizens’ and politicians’ views about the AEA as a law, but also about labour migration in general. Citizens and public support There is remarkably little public debate about labour migration in the Netherlands. The European Values Studies (EVS) (2008) show that people in the Netherlands have mixed feelings about migration in general, and about the AEA. The past decade has seen an intense and at times hostile debate about immigration, permanent residence, and the rise of anti-immigrant populist parties, but sentiment towards labour migration is less harsh. EVS (2008) provide us with more detail about what exactly people think about immigration (Table 5.3). Most importantly, immigration is primarily problematized where it concerns crime, welfare benefits and a generalised ‘threat to society’. Jobs are less of a problem, while labour migrants are, under the current system, by definition working, and are hardly making use of welfare benefits. At the level of perceptions about values, labour migration is hardly an issue. It is, however, important for understanding public support for labour migration in the Netherlands, to appreciate that labour migration is highly contextualised by broader concerns about immigration in general. If people are asked to distinguish between different values and statements about immigrants, they say that ‘jobs’ are not their main Table 5.3: Preferences towards immigration in the Netherlands (European Values Studies, 2008) Questions EVS 2008 Immigrants take away jobs from [nationality] (Q78A) Immigrants undermine countries’ cultural life (Q78B) Immigrants increase crime problems (Q78C) Immigrants are a strain on welfare system (Q78D) Immigrants will become a threat to society (Q78E) Immigrants maintain own (agree)/take over customs (disagree) (Q78F) Immigrants living in your country: feels like a stranger (Q79A) Immigrants living in your country: there are too many (Q79B)

120

Agree Disagree (%) (%) 48.3 51.7 46.6 53.4 74.4 25.6 62.9 37 60.3 39.7 34.8

65.2

27 43.9

58.3 36.1

The responsiveness of labour migration policies

concern. However, in the more general debate about immigration such nuances disappear and all immigrants are treated in the same negative way. Since 2000, tolerance and support for immigrants (permanent residents) has declined steadily and a critical attitude towards immigration has become mainstream in popular discourse.This has been mainly about permanent residents, but such administrative distinctions hardly remain in everyday debate. People see little difference between immigrants applying for permanent residence, second or third generation immigrants – who are ‘normal’ citizens – or labour migrants who come to work for a given period of time and return home afterwards. Wider concerns about – and fear of – permanent residence, especially of North African Muslims, have greatly coloured general support for migration, including labour migration. Contrary to this is the evident fact that in practice people are generally supportive of labour migration. Many people employ ‘Polish plumbers’, since they are known to deliver very high quality work at low costs. They are considered hard workers who do jobs that Dutch residents no longer wish to do. This is also the case with seasonal employment in the agricultural sector. There are discussions about whether unemployed nationals should fill these vacancies, but most of the critique here is directed at unemployed people who refuse to do such work. The ‘problem’ of foreign labourers taking these jobs is seen as a problem of the ethos of local workers, with seasonal foreign labour filling that gap. Not entirely ‘public’, but an important base for support for immigration policy is formed by employer and employee organisations. Also, the most important concern for trade unions – Eastern European workers who flood certain sectors of the domestic labour market – falls outside of the AEA. Employers have more criticism of the AEA, although they generally support it. Certain sectors pressurise the executive agency to allow more specifically skilled foreign labour, or to be more lenient in granting permits. Employers also complain about the high risk of considerable fines for illegal workers, which they are held accountable for, since – as they say themselves – this is hard for them to control. They have to check the permit of each individual worker on their premises, or run the risk of being fined for hiring illegal immigrants. Pressure relating to the policy comes more from individual or organised employers than from the general public.

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Political debate The AEA was never a prominent subject of political debate.There was increased and sometimes heated attention to certain individual cases, but that never developed into a fully fledged political discussion about foreign labour. The most important political discussions about foreign labour concentrated on EU enlargement and the free traffic of workers from other member states to work in the Netherlands. However, this issue falls outside the domain of the AEA; the AEA is bypassed by EU regulation and there is not much that national policy can do to correct this. Political attention to labourers from Eastern Europe is therefore not translated into pressure on the AEA, but to decreased support for the ‘European project’ and the further transfer of power from the national to the EU ‘federal’ level. The political programmes of the most important political parties make little reference to the issue of foreign labour. Parties are generally supportive of the principles of the AEA. All parties support the distinction between ‘knowledge workers’ and normal labour, and emphasise the importance of an active policy towards foreign talent. The only differences here are in the extent to which parties want to reach out to talent abroad and how quick and open they want the procedures for knowledge workers to be. Several left-wing parties mention the negative impact of labour migration on the donor countries. In particular, knowledge migration dries up the local pool of talent and can cause problems abroad. They call for an additional criterion for acquiring a work permit; a check not only on the labour market situation in the Netherlands, but also of the situation in the donor country. If a country is suffering economic loss from migration of talented workers to other countries, then the request for a work permit should be declined. Most left-wing parties (Social Democrats, Green Party) along with the Liberal Democrats call for further integration of the European Union.This includes further integration of local labour markets and of international immigration rules. Right-wing and conservative parties are hesitant; they support the status quo, but do not want to transfer more autonomy in immigration policy towards ‘Brussels’. Media attention Labour migration has hardly been a prominent issue in media coverage in the Netherlands’ most important news media. Labour migration is 122

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not more than a sideline in debates about unemployment or permanent settlement. Figure 5.3 shows the development in the total number of articles in major newspapers in the Netherlands. There is a gradual increase in the number of articles, but closer examination shows us that the peaks are the result of attention to certain critical incidents, for instance, when a star football player applied for a work permit and wanted to become a permanent resident. That fueled the discussion about opening up the system for special talents, such as artists, athletes, scientists or people with other special skills. Such unique cases generate a peak in attention with cross-reference to the AEA and labour migration; but in the end, the real issue was not the state of affairs regarding the AEA, but the question of whether or not a player from the Ivory Coast could be naturalised quickly enough to play for the Netherlands in the World Cup. The same goes for another important section of the total number of news articles about labour migration. Many articles that mention labour migration are about foreign labourers from so-called MOE countries, the new Eastern and Central European entrants to the EU. In popular discourse they are referred to as labour migrants, which they are, but not under the jurisdiction of the AEA. Under EU law they are free to work within member states; they are indeed labour immigrants, but without any reference to the AEA. Therefore, an important body of articles is about labour migration but in fact not about the AEA and labour migration policy. An important distinction in articles that do mention the AEA is between ‘regular’ labour migration and undeclared labour. Figure 5.4 illustrates that trend. In the late 1990s undeclared labour was a very Figure 5.3:Total number of articles each year related to the AEA Number of newspaper articles

120 100 80 60 40 20 0

94 95 96 97 98 99 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 19 19 19 19 19 19 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20

123

The responsiveness of social policies in Europe Figure 5.4: Number of newspaper articles about legal labour migration (black line) and illegal labour (grey line) Legal labour migration

Illegal labour

90 80

Percentage

70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0

94 95 96 97 98 99 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 19 19 19 19 19 19 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20

important issue in the debate about labour migration. Later, in the 2000s, it faded as an important issue and was overtaken by articles about the negative effects of legal foreign labour – labour with a work permit or labourers from other EU countries. Many articles about illegal labour are not about individual labourers, but about employers who are fined heavily for employing undeclared labour and appeal against the fine. For instance, a farmer claims that the fine is too high, and will cause bankruptcy for his farm, while he thinks it is unfair to ask from him to check all of the often forged permits of foreigners working at his farm. “How can I tell if a passport is real, if even the border authority can hardly do that?” The article does not directly challenge notions of labour migration, but discusses the practice of regulation and compliance: is the regime too strict or are law breakers finally getting what they deserve? Several articles discuss the effects of labour migration on the domestic labour market. They ask question such as: What is the impact on local unemployment? Can labour migration solve scarcity in sectors? Can migration be a solution for population ageing? Many of these articles do not discuss the economic effects, but the social effects of labour migration. Many labour immigrants live in old city neighbourhoods and as their numbers swell problems arise. Drunkenness, over-crowded houses, unsafe living conditions and other social problems become important issues in the news media after 2007. The AEA can only very marginally regulate such circumstances of workers, and it mostly 124

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concerns workers that do not fall under the AEA, but still the issue is related to labour migration and the Minister of Social Affairs responsible for the AEA. Socioeconomic conditions, labour migration and the AEA The international and domestic economies, and developments in the labour market, are important drivers of labour migration. Economic recession, tightness of the labour market, vacancies in specific sectors, and the cyclical or structural gaps between supply and demand of labour are defining factors in international streams of labour migration. In this section, we examine developments in the labour market in the Netherlands, as it is a strong pull factor for labour migration. The figures in Table 5.4 clearly indicate that labour migration is closely related to socioeconomic conditions. Strong economic growth is a strong incentive for employers to fill labour shortages with foreign workers and attracts foreign labourers, who are brought in either actively through employers or specialised agencies, or directly from donor countries.Table 5.4 shows an increase in labour immigration at times of economic growth. From 1997 to 2000 the number of labour migrants grew continuously, along with economic growth and the strong growth in the number of vacancies. After 2000 we see consecutive phases of strong growth and economic decline. Recession leads to lower labour migration the following year, just as growth attracts more labour immigrants the following year. Migration patterns follow economic development and the number of vacancies. However, the economic crisis that set in after 2008 seems to have changed this pattern. The number of vacancies significantly decreased, but labour migration remained stable – at least in certain sectors. Especially notable is the tripling of the number of labour migrants from 1997 to 2010, while the total number of vacancies in 2011 is similar to that in 1997.This is a clear indicator of how much the domestic labour market in the Netherlands has internationalised and is – at least in some sectors – extremely dependent on foreign labour, even in times of rising unemployment in the local workforce. That trend may lead to a new direction in the coming years, when labour migration becomes less dependent on general economic growth and stabilises as the regular labour force for certain sectors.And if that trend sets in, it will be very interesting to see how policy makers respond. On the one hand foreign labourers could contribute strongly to the international competitiveness of the Dutch agricultural sector, which is very export oriented, while on the other hand the jobs done by 125

The responsiveness of social policies in Europe Table 5.4: Socioeconomic facts of the Netherlands

2. Economic growth: Gross Domestic Product (volume change, %)

3.Total number of vacancies (×1000)

4. Number of vacancies: Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing (×1000)

5. Number of vacancies: Industry and Energy (×1000)

6. Number of vacancies: Business services (×1000)

7. Number of vacancies: Commercial services (×1000)

Year 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011

1. Number of immigrants with labour as stated motive

Socioeconomic facts of the Netherlands in three categories: number of immigration, economic growth, number of vacancies (total, by sector) (CBS, 2012)

13.157 15.238 16.197 19.036 19.900 18.471 16.785 15.980 17.454 22.303 31.926 41.441 37.676 41.463 No data

4.3 3.9 4.7 3.9 1.9 0.1 0.3 2.2 2.0 3.4 3.9 1.8 –3.7 1.6 1.0

715 855 950 1.018 949 738 646 723 867 1.052 1.124 1.028 725 743 766

12 17 17 19 13 12 12 21 25 27 25 19 12 13 13

142 153 177 192 156 108  90 101 127 160 168 137  72  87  93

113 128 147 166 163 122 120 136 167 193 198 178 119 118 119

403 490 542 580 540 410 378 430 521 638 679 615 432 455 472

immigrants could be performed just as well by currently unemployed domestic workers. From its beginning in 1995, the AEA was designed to act as a valve for the domestic labour market. It allowed specific groups in, based on proven and identifiable demand in certain sectors. Without such clear demand, work permits would not be granted. In times of economic downturn new workers were not allowed in, while in times of economic growth foreign labour could be used to prevent the labour market, and especially labour costs, from overheating. Also, reduction in the influx of foreign labour keeps a certain pressure on employers to invest in domestic workers. Several structural and more short-term developments have affected the field of labour migration.

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First, the economic structure itself has changed. Low- or no-skilled labour is less in demand, since many labour-intensive industries moved to cheap labour countries. The production that remained in the Netherlands requires specialised skills, even at the lower end of the labour market. Also, minimum wages mean that there is a floor to labour costs, which makes working in all sorts of services expensive. Whereas other countries have seen massive growth in sectors such as housekeeping, domestic cleaning and other personal services, the Netherlands have a model of minimum wages and taxation that make such services rather expensive.Therefore, except for some very specific sectors – such as seasonal work in the agricultural sector – there is little demand for unskilled or unqualified cheap labour. Second, demand for specific talents has grown over the last decade. There is increasing pressure from high-end companies – for example in the chemical industry, IT, consulting, and financial services – to allow easy access for what they refer to as unique foreign talent to support businesses in the Netherlands. That goes for homegrown companies, but also for many foreign international or multinational corporations that want to open an office or headquarters in the Netherlands. Without an easy and efficient system of work permits for expatriates it is impossible to be internationally competitive. Therefore, pressure has grown on the AEA to be ever more lenient, open and above all fast in granting work permits to what are referred to as ‘knowledge workers’. However, that seems easier than it is. It requires rather clear notions of ‘special knowledge’ and ‘unique skills’. At first, this mostly referred to top experts in a certain field, but, as with all categories, the range has widened to include all sorts of professions, often very young ‘upcoming’ talent, and to talents and skills that are not all that special but more ‘scarce’ in the local labour market. IT skills are not unique, in the sense of limited to only a small number of people, but they may still be scarce enough to allow talented foreign workers in. Also, much ‘knowledge’ is in essence very practical. Engineers, cooks, specialised mechanics, professional athletes and certain craftsmen are all in some way referred to as knowledge workers or unique talents.What makes a talent unique enough to allow special status under the AEA? As the economy develops the existing categories of unique talents and exemptions to the regular policy need to develop with it. In case of the AEA, such developments were primarily discussed in the domain of the executive agency and – to a lesser extent – the Inspectorate. It remains unclear what the economic effects of the influx of workers from the Central and Eastern European (MOE) EU member states are. They no longer fall under the regulatory regime of the AEA, but 127

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affect the demand for foreign labour. It is probable that the open borders for Polish workers in particular have removed much of the demand for workers from outside the EU. Until recently the economic crisis had little effect on workers from MOE countries, in the sense that their numbers hardly declined. However, new figures suggest that the economic crisis is beginning to impact on their numbers as well and it will be interesting to see what they will do when they are unemployed.Already, many workers from MOE countries are applying for social security in the Netherlands, to which they have a limited but still considerable entitlement. If it is indeed the case that unemployed foreign labour immigrants remain in the Netherlands, that will be a fact almost impossible to ignore in policy. It may create leverage for renewed pressure in Brussels to reduce the freedom of labour within the EU and allow for more national policy on the internal labour market and border control. Just as many other modern societies, the Netherlands face the significant consequences of population ageing and – in some areas – population decline. In part, these demographic conditions translate into increased pressure on an even smaller group of working people, to pay taxes and premiums to keep up social benefits and pensions. Foreign labour could be a solution to that issue, as long as foreign workers can be obliged to pay local taxes and premiums. Furthermore, ageing and population decline can lead to large shortages of labour in various sectors. This is partly because of an increase in demand for certain labour – for example health care – and partly because certain local professional groups literally die out; especially in technical professions there is little new supply to compensate for the older workers who retire. Selective labour migration could be an answer to that part of the problem, although there is no agreement on the balance of positive and negative effects of this. Also, countries will face fierce competition for ‘talent’, since most modern societies face the same demographic issues. Implementation and results of the AEA One of the targets of the AEA is to combat undeclared (illegal) employment of foreign labourers. It is difficult to measure this, since the exact size of illegal employment is unknown. What is known is what is discovered, usually by means of the Inspectorate. Ever since 2005, illegal labour has been in decline. The Inspectorate has used its new authorities and extended means to intensify its inspections in the three sectors most prone to illegal labour: agriculture, construction and the hotel and catering industry. The degree of non-compliance 128

The responsiveness of labour migration policies

has dropped significantly: from 31% in 2004, to 25% in 2005, to 23% in 2005, to an average of 17% in the subsequent years. This drop in non-compliance identified at inspections can be partly attributed to the opening up of borders for workers from MOE countries, to whom the AEA no longer applies. The Inspectorate has drastically intensified its work on illegal labour. Enforcement capacity was increased and in 2005 the introduction of administrative fines greatly enhanced the strength of the inspection. Combined with new techniques – r isk based enforcement, multidisciplinary teams – this led to an increase in total imposed fines from 13 million euros in 2005 to 41 million euros in 2009.The number has dropped marginally, but the fines imposed per case have become much higher and are now easier to impose. It remains difficult to assess the effectiveness of the AEA. What is clear is that after a period of rising relative and absolute numbers of identified illegal workers both figures have stabilised. Estimates indicate that about 17 to 18% of the employers at some time in a year employ an illegal foreign labourer. The total number of identified undeclared workers has balanced out at about 2,500 per year. More importantly, employers are now ‘complaining’ more and more about the effectiveness of the AEA and how the risks of hiring illegal foreign workers are becoming too high. That is probably the most important indication of effectiveness, since it is impossible to combat illegal employment as long as employers remain motivated to take the risk. In particular, the ability to impose higher fines and to hold employers accountable for all employees on their premises, even those working for sub-contractors, makes the AEA a more effective law. However, all of these results must be seen in the context of the opening up of the borders for workers from MOE countries. In part, illegal immigration was not ‘resolved’ but ‘legalised’; there are probably more foreign labourers active in the Netherlands than ever, and in jobs that would never have been suitable for a granted work permit, but that is now out if the jurisdiction of the AEA and legal under EU regulation. Conclusion: responsiveness and the AEA In Chapter Three we argued that policies can be responsive to three overarching logics: the logic of the external environment, the logic of public preferences and the institutional logic of the administrative system. In the case of the AEA we saw that policy makers had to balance between (1) the desire from the institutional logic to keep the AEA manageable and effective, but also to adapt to the dynamics of 129

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EU enlargement; (2) also policy makers had to deal with the logic of the policy environment where there is a double dynamic of labour shortages in one segment and a call for more restrictive policies in other sectors – often challenged by individual employers who claim to be in dire need of cheap skilled labour; and (3) the logic of public preferences that has become highly unsupportive of immigration as a whole and makes no distinction from the far more specialised and specific issue of labour migration. The case of the AEA in the Netherlands offers several important lessons. It shows clearly that responsiveness is also an issue of implementation at different administrative levels. The AEA has been remarkably able to adapt to changing circumstances, but only very little has changed in the formal letter of the law. Most changes were made in the executive agency and in the Inspectorate. Such changes at the edges of the policy system may seem small and insignificant, but in case of the AEA they were crucial. They allowed the policy to respond to changes in economic circumstances but also to popular belief. When undeclared work was an issue, the Inspectorate increased its efforts. When migrants from new entrant countries caused problems in old neighbourhoods, the executive agency collaborated with third parties to strike practical deals about housing and living conditions. In part, the AEA managed to work around given EU rules, when popular and political support for labour migration dropped. It is also especially interesting to note how, just as in other European countries, the AEA evolved into a split regime, with distinct policies for knowledge workers and ‘normal’ low-skilled workers. This was a fundamental change in the AEA, but one that was urgently called for by many. Economic and structural conditions seemed to make more accommodating policies inevitable and policy makers were able to answer that call quite swiftly.They did so not by designing a new policy, but through the addition of a new category in the AEA. This allowed a new stream in the policy that resonates well with the interests of the knowledge economy and the more structural and demographic challenges that the Netherlands faces – just as do most other EU member states. In part, this also allowed policy makers to deal with the different time horizons in labour migration policy. The same policy needs to be responsive to urgent needs and wants that are mostly connected to the economic crisis and the protection of domestic labour, while at the same time it needs to be accommodating for labourers who can add to the sustainable growth of the economy in the longer term. Both aspects are equally important and there is pressure from all

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of the three factors identified in Chapter Three that calls for action. At least up until now, the AEA seems to have found a proper answer. The Dutch case also highlights another dimension of responsiveness: the importance of practical delivery.The Inspectorate can impose large fines on non-complying employers and, more importantly, employers are assumed responsible for all workers on their premises.This makes it easier to enforce the AEA and creates a strong incentive for employers to make sure foreign workers have the necessary permit.This has greatly improved the practical effectiveness of the AEA. The AEA itself did not change much, but for the first time in its history it could now really be enforced. Responsiveness is more than changing laws: it also encompasses the practical ability to intervene and make policy stand out in practice. However, one remaining challenge presents itself.With all the progress made in the AEA, the issue of adapting to EU enlargement and the ‘free’ influx of CEE workers remains. The AEA cannot deal with that issue directly, as the essence of the EU rule is that CEE members are free to work in any member state. It will therefore be interesting to see how the 2011 Covenant between national government, municipalities and a large conglomerate of stakeholders – including employers, unions, and public housing cooperatives – plays out. Relief of the pressure on the AEA may come from different domains of regulation, and from an increased effort of those parties most involved in the issue.That widens the circle of possible partners and sources of responsiveness, well beyond the sphere of policy makers, regulators, executives and inspectors.

The responsiveness and labour migration policy: a comparative perspective The Netherlands face issues with labour migration that are comparable to those in many other European countries. Structural developments call for selective labour migration to strengthen the economy, while the economic crisis and the pressure on domestic labour markets that follow from it call for restrictive policies. Populist sentiments – mainly grounded in fear of permanent residence – call for a more harsh immigration policy and renewed autonomy over the country’s borders, while at the same time the practical use of foreign labourers has ‘normalised’ and certain sectors are in fact highly dependent on adequate influx of foreign labour. And meanwhile, the policy system itself calls for further action to close the circle around undeclared work and especially the employers that make use of it. If anything, the Dutch case demonstrates that the pressure from the three different 131

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pillars of responsiveness produces unambiguous but rather divergent signals. Between pillars, but also within them, economic crisis produces feasible claims for a need to close the domestic labour market and the local labour force, while at the same time there is much to say for strengthening the national and European economic structure by recruiting more foreign talent. As a result, labour migration seems to be caught in the midst of all three of the ‘temptations’ described in Chapter Three. Policy makers are tempted to be too paternalistic when they take measures needed because of changes in the external environment but that are hardly supported by the public. The economic crisis can be levered into more integration – there is a strong case to make for this, as it may strengthen the European economy as a whole – but the sentiment of most people is to further protect the domestic labour market and keep ‘Brussels’ out. This immediately explains the second temptation that follows popular sentiment too closely. Policy makers ought to listen to the public, but to what extent must they answer to irrational calls for regulation, for instance when people confuse permanent residence with labour migration? Or when they underestimate the importance of longterm growth in the economy and hold on to short-term protection of established positions? The case of the AEA clearly indicates that policy often faces divergent calls from the public and that sometimes people are just wrong about what they want. Should policy makers be responsive to such claims, or should they attempt to change popular belief? That brings about the third temptation for policy makers: should they impose the logic of the policy system on external developments and popular belief? The case of further European integration is by far the clearest example of this. As logical as further integration and the speeding up of federalisation may be from within the system, there could hardly be a worse timing for it. At a time when people generally perceive Brussels as the problem instead of the solution, and economic hardship produces an array of extremely bitter pills for people to swallow, there is little support for anything that detracts autonomy from member-states. But still, national policy makers and EU officials are ‘right’ to make claims that integration may be the least painful and most sustainable way out of domestic and federal hardship.They point at important gaps and flaws in the mostly incremental and only marginally coordinated efforts at integration that now worsen economic problems or obstruct solutions. Apart from being a clear case of the dilemmatic nature of responsiveness, the Dutch case also tells us something about the possible repertoire for policy makers facing these divergent claims and calls.The development of the AEA shows how small steps and often incremental 132

The responsiveness of labour migration policies

changes may in their sum lead to important innovations in policy. Such small steps do not even necessarily need to be in the policy itself, but can just as well take place at the level of the executive agency or the Inspectorate. When the latter was provided with the ability to issue administrative fines – which are far easier to issue, because the Inspectorate does not need a legal case to do so – the AEA suddenly regained its teeth. From then on, employers could hardly afford the calculated risk taking they had grown accustomed to, simply because fines became too high. And in the end, that restrained heavy users of foreign labour (mostly agriculture and construction) and set in motion a new dynamic around foreign labour. Small steps matter and may produce results way beyond their initial intended scope or objective. So perhaps, even though often considered a vital function of the policy core (and of politics), responsiveness may in fact be best served at the outer branches of policy. Divergent goals are difficult to mould into a single policy, while they can be more easily achieved in intelligent and adaptive policy execution and inspection. Bottom-up layering and partly unanticipated conversion may in the end produce more solid policy innovation than the planned top-down change orchestrated and negotiated from the policy centre. The solution for countries facing challenges in labour migration policy may be far from policy and programmatic changes; a strategy of small steps and local responses by inspectors and executives could provide space for policy to respond to rapidly emerging and diverging interests. Signs of problems can be picked up early and dealt with locally, or escalated up to the national policy level. In this way, policy makers in the Netherlands were able to deal with the social problems caused by labour migrants; these problems were not solved by closing the borders – which was not possible in the first place – but by the joined-up efforts of municipalities, housing agencies, employer unions, and other partners in the network of foreign labour. As promising as these strategies of incrementalism and bottom up conversion may be for solving some of the most practical and urgent problems of labour migration, they remain entirely contextualised by the broader issue of EU integration. What all of the EU countries have to deal with, is the balancing act of transferring power to the European Union but also holding on to enough autonomy to remain a credible and relevant regulator at the domestic level.We have already mentioned the divergent calls for policy makers’ responsiveness, but the same goes for policy makers at the EU level. They are hardly exposed to popular sentiment, which may easily lure them into paternalist and/or bureaucratic temptation. Perhaps the most pressing challenge 133

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with regard to responsiveness lies at the EU level. EU policy makers have to find a balance between domestic interest and the European project, just as they should carefully consider the long-term interest of the Union in the context of the present hardship in many member states. The next steps in European integration and harmonisation of migration policy will define the leeway individual member states have to move – and to be responsive – but may also be important for the legitimacy of the European project itself.

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The responsiveness of sheltered work policies

Introduction This chapter discusses the policy domain of employment facilities for disabled people, and more specifically sheltered work. Disabled people are often classified as a ‘vulnerable group’ in society due to their dependence on the state for their resources (ILO, 2009). In times of crisis this vulnerability becomes more pronounced. Due to the crisis the number of employed disabled workers reduces, public budgets for employment programmes for disabled people become tighter, and the demand for products and services of enterprises employing disabled people can become less (ILO, 2009).The impact of the crisis on disabled people leads to a demand for more government expenditure on this group. But the crisis also calls on the governments to decrease public expenditure. This results in a dilemma of ‘care versus austerity’; policy makers have to balance between these goals. In this chapter we analyse how this ‘balancing act’ has evolved in the case of sheltered work policies and what we might learn from this case for the responsiveness of social policies in general. This chapter shows that governments’ responses in the area of sheltered work depend on current government expenditure, the involvement of employers in the employment of disabled people and the role of inclusiveness in current disability policies. The chapter is organised as follows. First, we discuss the trends and differences in general disability policies in Europe. Next, we focus more specifically on sheltered employment services for disabled people. We identify similarities and differences between European countries and discuss European trends. After that, we analyse in depth the evolution of sheltered work policies in the Netherlands (the Sheltered Work Act) and the way these policies have been responsive to the different logics that were introduced in Chapter Three. Finally, we reflect on the responsiveness of European sheltered employment policies based on the insights and lessons from the analysis of the Dutch case.

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European trends and differences in disability policies Disability policies differ between countries. Some countries for example oblige employers to employ a certain number of disabled people while others develop extensive sheltered work facilities and try to involve employers in other ways. In the academic literature various differences are discussed. We present a few of them to provide insight into the variety of disability policies in Europe. Building upon this, we explore the design of sheltered work policies as part of disability policies in the next section. A first distinction that can be made is based on the level of inclusion of disabled people in society. Drake (1999: 35–37) notes that there are two extremes of disability policies: (1)  policies are negative for the quality of life of disabled people; and (2) the rights of citizenship are guaranteed for disabled people. Drake developed the following spectrum of policy models (starting with the least positive policy model for disabled people): • The negative policy model The human and civil rights of disabled people are denied by the state. • The laissez-faire policy model The state plays a minimal part in the lives of all people and thus also in the lives of disabled people. People have to take care for themselves. • The piecemeal approach to policy making The state reacts to disablement in a reluctant and haphazard way. There is no planned strategy of how to deal with disabled people. Actions are for example taken as a result of certain circumstances and pressure. • The maximal policy model The state has the intention to identify and respond to the disadvantages that result from disability. Disability is seen as stemming from individual impairments and not as a result of society itself.The focus is therefore mainly on changes in the physiology of disabled individuals. • The social or rights-based policy model The state sees it as its responsibility to guarantee the citizenship of all its citizens.There is the recognition that society and environment

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create disablement because they are designed by non-disabled people for disabled people. Second, disability policies can differ in their focus. There are various ways of thinking about disability. A distinction that various authors make is between the medical model and the social model of disability (see for example Fougeyrollas and Beauregard, 2001; Shakespeare, 2006). The medical model of disability focuses on the human body (Drake, 1999: 12–13). Societies where this model prevails focus on trying to change the individual, for example by care, therapy or treatment. According to the social model the society has a disabling impact instead of the human body. In societies where this model prevails the focus is on social changes to remove the disabling social conditions (change the environment). From this a distinction can be made between policies focusing on changing the individual and policies focusing on changing the environment. These two differences concern disability policies in general.Another set of differences is concerned with the income of disabled people. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) (2003) there are two mechanisms through which disabled people can acquire the necessary means of existence: (1) through integration or (2) through compensation (OECD, 2003: 19–20). OECD (2003: 3) described these orientations as follows: 1. [Integration is] to ensure that disabled citizens are not excluded; that they are encouraged and empowered to participate as fully as possible in economic and social life, and in particular to engage in gainful employment, and that they are not ousted from the labour market too easily or too early. 2. [Compensation is] to ensure that those who are or who become disabled have income security: that they are not denied the means to live decently because of disabilities that (may) restrict their earning potential. (OECD, 2003: 3) The OECD (2003: 127) used integration and compensation as two dimensions to develop different policy types. These are: (1) compensation policy approach (high score on compensation, low score on integration); (2) integration policy approach (low score on compensation, high score on integration); (3) weak intermediate policy (low score on both dimensions; (4) intermediate policy (intermediate 137

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score on both dimensions); and (5) strong intermediate policy (high score on both dimensions). Governments also make different choices regarding specific policy instruments.Two important differences concern the legislative approach and special employment programmes.The following section discusses these differences.Two types of legislative approach can be distinguished: (1)  an approach based on civil rights and (2)  an approach built on obligations to employ disabled people (OECD, 2003: 104).Within the first approach antidiscrimination legislation is used, while in the second employment quotas are chosen. With antidiscrimination legislation employers are obliged to make it possible for disabled people to fulfil the job requirements at the workplace. Employment quotas oblige employers to employ a certain number of disabled people. European countries that have some form of employment quota obligation relating to disabled people are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain (ANED, 2009: 14). Countries without an effective quota system are: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom. The second difference in chosen policy instruments concerns the use of special employment programmes for disabled people available in a country (see for example: OECD, 2003: 122; Tsiachristas et al, 2008; OECD, 2010). Table 6.1 shows the large variation in focus and types of employment programmes in 1999. These data are quite old, but unfortunately no clearer table was available to show this variance. The different types of special employment programmes are: subsidised employment, supported employment and sheltered employment. In subsidised employment programmes, employers receive subsidies when they employ disabled people (OECD, 2003: 112).With these subsidies employers can compensate for part of the labour costs.With supported employment programmes disabled people receive support on the job for example through personal job coaches (OECD, 2003: 113). Sheltered employment is special employment in a sheltered environment (OECD, 2003: 114). This table shows that Sweden especially had relatively much subsidised employment and that the Netherlands and Poland had relatively many people in sheltered employment. Supported employment was at that time little used overall.

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The responsiveness of sheltered work policies Table 6.1: An overview of variation in focus and types of employment programmes All employment programmes Australia  3.4 Austria  7.0 Belgium  3.6 Denmark  5.9 France  9.5 Germany  4.1 Italy  0.8 Korea  0.3 Netherlands  9.2 Norway  7.2 Poland 12.1 Portugal  0.2 Spain  1.2 Sweden 16.2 Switzerland  5.6 United  1.2 Kingdom United  1.1 States OECD*  5.2 (17)

Subsidised employment  0.2  3.6  0.7  3.0  6.3  0.2  0.3  0.1 b  2.4 2.0   0.1  0.6 10.8 x

Supported employment 1.6 0.7 0.0 0.6 b 0.6 b b a 0.5 x x x 0.2 x

Sheltered employment  1.5  2.7  2.9  2.4  3.2  3.3  0.6  0.6  9.2  4.3 10.1  0.1  0.6  5.2  5.6

0.5

0.7

a

b

1.1

a







Notes: * The number for the 17 OECD in total; x No such programme up to the present; – Not applicable a) Significant programme, no data available; b) Minor programme, no data available Source: OECD database on programmes for disabled persons; OECD (2003), Transforming disability into ability: Policies to promote work and income security for disabled people, p 113).

Trends in disability policies Within these different types of disability policies clear trends can be distinguished. Disability policies have become more positive in their effects for disabled people, they have become more aware of and concerned with the disabling environment and they have moved from compensation to integration (Drake, 1999; OECD, 2003 and 2010). These developments can all be summarised in the increased focus on the inclusion of disabled people in society. Governments thus focus more on the ability of disabled people to take part in society than on 139

The responsiveness of social policies in Europe Figure 6.1: Changes in integration and compensation scores Changes in integration and compensation scores 1990–99 and 1999–2007 for the three policy models: Social Democratic (Soc), Liberal (Lib) and Corporatist (Cor)

Integration policy component

50

Soc-2007

Soc-1999

25

Lib-2007 Lib-1999

Cor-2007 Cor-1999

Soc-1990

Cor-1990 Lib-1990

0

0

25 Compensation policy component

50

Source: OECD (2010), Sickness, disability and work: Breaking the barriers: A synthesis of findings across OECD countries, p 90.

compensating their inability to do so.This policy shift is not equal for all countries. Figure 6.1 shows, for different clusters of countries, how their policy direction has changed in relation to the OECD distinction between compensation and integration in the periods 1990–99 and 1999–2007. The clusters with their countries are (OECD, 2010): 1. ‘Social Democratic’ model: Denmark, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Finland, Germany, Norway and Sweden. 2. ’Liberal’ model: Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, Korea and the United States. 3. ‘Corporatist’ model: Austria, Belgium, Hungary, France, Greece, Luxembourg, Poland, the Czech Republic, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Slovak Republic and Spain. 140

The responsiveness of sheltered work policies

Having discussed the differences and trends in disability policies in general, this chapter moves on to the discussion of the development of one specific policy measure within disability policies: the creation of sheltered work facilities. In terms of the inclusion of disabled people this facility is increasingly contested although it may also be considered as a great facility to offer jobs to disabled people in times of crisis. In terms of responsiveness this creates tensions. In the remainder of this chapter we identify the important developments in sheltered work policies and analyse responsiveness in this area.

European trends and differences in sheltered work Sheltered work is one of the programmes in which disabled people can work if they cannot get regular employment (Shima et al, 2008). Sheltered employment or sheltered work can simply be defined as ‘employment in a sheltered environment (for example special workshops, enclaves, social firms)’ (based on OECD, 2003: 20). The organisations providing sheltered work are labelled as sheltered work companies (SW companies). Countries differ in the focus on sheltered employment in their disability programmes and in how they implement sheltered employment. Table 6.1 has already shown the variance in the number of disabled people in sheltered work between different countries. In Poland and the Netherlands more than 9% of disabled people were in sheltered employment in 1999, while the proportion in Italy, Korea and Spain was only less than 1%.The costs of sheltered work also vary considerably (see OECD, 2003).The OECD (2003) stated on this: ‘the Netherlands is exceptional for its enormously expensive … sheltered employment programme’. Besides the differences between the amounts of sheltered employment in countries there are also differences in the focus on integration within these programmes. Table 6.2 presents how the OECD (2010: 100 & 102) scored the sheltered employment programmes of some OECD countries on what they call ‘the integration policy dimension’. On average the countries scored 2.5, which means that there is generally an intermediary focus on integration. Some countries (the Netherlands, Norway and Poland) show a strong focus on integration in their sheltered employment programme. There are no countries that score 5, so none of the countries presents significant transition rates of disabled people moving from sheltered work to regular work.

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The responsiveness of social policies in Europe Table 6.2: Scores on the integration policy dimension of the sheltered employment programme Australia 3 Austria 2 Belgium 2 Denmark 2 France 4 Germany 3

Italy 2 Netherlands 4 Norway 4 Poland 4 Portugal 2 Spain 3

Sweden 3 Switzerland 3 United Kingdom 2 United States 2 New Zealand 1

Key: 0 = Not existent 1 = Very limited programme 2 = Intermediary focus on integration, ‘traditional’ programme 3 = Intermediary focus on integration, with some ‘new’ attempts 4 = Strong focus on integration, but largely permanent employment 5 = Strong focus on integration, with significant transition rates Source: OECD, 2010: 100 & 102

Developments in sheltered employment It is difficult to compare the sheltered employment programmes of different countries. On the one hand this has to do with the various concepts of sheltered employment used in different countries (O’Reilly, 2007); on the other hand it is due to the lack of (good) data. Many studies on sheltered work are outdated (before 2000) and the sector itself is not researched very often. Based on the available data we discuss some general developments and issues in sheltered employment policies in Europe. First, there is no dominant direction in which sheltered work in different countries develops.ANED (2009: 15) noted that there is a ‘lack of policy convergence in relation to sheltered employment’. EASPD (2010: 1) emphasised this by stating that ‘the situation is quite different in the EU’. They particularly pointed to the increase or decrease in sheltered work facilities in different countries. For example in Poland, Sweden and the UK sheltered employment has been decreasing, but in other countries like Austria, Germany, Finland, Italy, Luxemburg and Portugal it has been increasing (ANED, 2009). A second (and perhaps the most important) issue in the domain of sheltered work concerns the low transition rates in sheltered employment.The original idea of sheltered employment was to prepare disabled people for jobs in the open labour market (Delsen, 1996). However, in many countries the exit rates from sheltered workshops into the open labour market have been extremely low. Transition rates range from under 1% to about 5% (O’Reilly, 2007). There are different factors contributing to these low transition rates. First, in many countries the transition was for a long time not the primary 142

The responsiveness of sheltered work policies

aim of sheltered workshops (Delsen, 1996). Second, it is not in the interest of sheltered workshops to let their most productive workers go (Delsen, 1996; O’Reilly, 2007). Third, in some countries the wages in sheltered workshops are equal to the wages in the open labour market, which limits the incentive for disabled people to accept a job in the regular labour market (Delsen, 1996). Other possible reasons for the low transition rates are the reluctance of employers to recruit, the low technological level of workshop activities that restrict the potential skill levels of employees, and the inadequate skill training that does not reflect the requirements of the labour market (O’Reilly, 2007). As a consequence of the low transition rates sheltered employment remains an important policy instrument for the employment of disabled people, as they fail to acquire jobs in the regular labour market and thus stay in sheltered employment (ANED, 2009). Another development is that sheltered employment is increasingly criticised (in some countries) for its exclusion of disabled people from society and its discouragement of integration with non-disabled people. This is in line with the trend discussed earlier of ‘inclusion thinking’ in general disability policies. Sheltered workshops are sometimes portrayed as ‘dead end’ (Delsen, 1996; O’Reilly, 2007). Other criticisms of sheltered employment are the low wages and poor working conditions in some countries (Delsen, 1996; O’Reilly, 2007) There is great variance between countries in the wage levels in sheltered workplaces (OECD, 2003). This has led to different political and societal debates about sheltered workshops. For example the interest group for disabled people in Ireland, ‘Inclusion Ireland’, has campaigned for greater rights for those working in sheltered workshops. In their view, disabled people doing ‘real work’ were not paid the minimum wage and did not have employment rights (Inclusion Ireland, 2008). To demonstrate the tensions and dilemmas that are involved in the inclusion of disabled people in the labour market, a contrasting development can be observed in the Netherlands. There, the favourable collective labour agreement for disabled people in sheltered work is often seen as a barrier for disabled people to work for a regular employer (Fenger et al, 2011). In this section we have discussed various differences and developments concerning sheltered work. In the next section we present an in-depth analysis of the evolution of the Dutch Sheltered Work Act. This study provides insights into the policy dynamics of this regulation and responsiveness in the period 1990–2010 in the Netherlands. These insights are also of relevance to understanding, and perhaps even make predictions, regarding policy dynamics in Europe. The insights from

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The responsiveness of social policies in Europe

the Dutch case will therefore, in the final sections, be transferred back into the analysis of European trends.

Evolution of sheltered work policies in the Netherlands The OECD (2008: 34) stated that ’when it comes to sickness and disability, no other OECD country has such an interesting story to tell as the Netherlands’. Although this statement did not (explicitly) point to policies regarding sheltered work it can be stated that this is true for these policies. This is due to the relatively high expenses relating to sheltered work, the large number of participants and the intensified political debates about this facility. In the Dutch case, we can observe a slow and gradual policy transformation. Although formal policies have been altered only marginally, the gradual and slow transformation process has completely altered the characteristics of sheltered work policies in the Netherlands. Development of the Sheltered Work Act In 1969 the Sheltered Work Act (SWA), the legal basis for sheltered work facilities in the Netherlands, was introduced (Explanatory Memorandum WSW, 1965–1966, 8609;VNG, 2006: 10;Van de Vrie, 2008: 14). This national legal regulation replaced two ministerial regulations: the Municipal SWA for manual workers and the SWA for brain workers. Sheltered work had become an issue that received attention on a national level. After an increase to 30,000 participants in municipal regulation in 1965 the realisation came that municipal regulation should be replaced by national regulation. This led to the presentation of a proposal for a new law in 1968. The Explanatory Memorandum of the proposal for the SWA states that the purpose of the law was not only to provide jobs to people who cannot work under regular circumstances, but also explicitly to provide the opportunity to retain, restore or promote people’s work abilities. Preferably, people would (again) get a regular job. The sheltered work policy was based on several rights: the right to self-development, the right to equal opportunities, the right to work and the right to health. The general view was that the Government had responsibility for the creation of the right working conditions and the provision of health facilities which were as adequate as possible for everyone. This view was a result of social-political views from during the Second World

144

The responsiveness of sheltered work policies

War and afterwards when special attention was paid to the problems of disabled people. An illustrative citation was: every disabled person should have the same right to work in accordance with his capacities as any other person in society. The provision of work is the main purpose of vocational rehabilitation. In case no suitable work in the regular labour market can be found, this should be provided by means of sheltered work (Second Chamber, 1965-1966, 8609, No. 3). Since its introduction the SWA has for a relatively long time been in ‘smooth waters’. Only two substantive changes occurred, in the period 1969–95. In the 1970s the working conditions of people in the SWA were modernised by making salaries dependent on the employee’s job position and no longer on their delivered productivity (Van de Vrie, 2008). A more fundamental change was the abolishment of ‘open end financing’ in 1989 (Van der Vrie, 2008; VNG, 2006). The reason for this intervention was the significant increase in the SWA-population in the 1980s. In order to keep the costs of the sheltered work policy within acceptable limits, a system of budget financing was introduced by the Government. The SWA from 1995: various changes After 1995 the relatively silence around the sheltered work policy was over. Several changes did occur. In 1998 there was a revision of the policy. In 2005 and 2008 the SWA was modernised in two phases. Despite these reforms there was no clear policy innovation.The aim of the SWA was still in agreement with the goal as formulated at the introduction of this regulation: to conserve, restore or promote the employability of disabled people. However, the ultimate goal of the policy gained a more prominent position: to work as normally as possible. The aim became to maximise the number of disabled people who worked outside of sheltered work facilities and therefore participated ‘normally’ in society. New instruments were also introduced. In the following section we briefly discuss the content of the reforms of 1998, 2005 and 2008 and the reasons for these reforms. Following this, an overview of the formal changes in the sheltered work policy is presented.

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The responsiveness of social policies in Europe

The new Sheltered Work Act (1998) In 1998 the ‘new regulation concerning sheltered work’ was introduced. The most important reasons for the development of this new regulation were problems in implementation, the urgency to be in tune with other labour market instruments and the growing waiting lists for sheltered work.The Cabinet opted for a new SWA instead of a revision because of the radical nature of the changes needed (Second Chamber, 24787, No. 3). The main changes were: • A more accurate description of the target group: the eligibility criteria to the SWA were tightened. • An increased number of implementation modes for doing work: supported employment was introduced as a new tool. • The reorganisation of the administrative responsibilities between government and municipalities: the administrative responsibility for the implementation of the SWA transferred from the Minister of Social Affairs to the municipalities. In addition the municipalities became the employers of SWA employees instead of the national government. • The revision of the financing system. Modernisation of the SWA (2005–08) From 2003 the emphasis was on the so-called modernisation of the SWA.The need to modernise the sheltered work policy stemmed from two reasons: (1) a poor realisation of its goals; and (2) a changing legal context in the field of the labour market and reintegration policies which led to a changed division of authority between national government and municipalities. The modernisation of the SWA consisted of two phases. The first phase took place in 2005, and the second was in 2008. In the first phase of modernisation the assessment of people’s entitlement to the SWA was transferred from the municipalities to the Centre for Work and Income (CWI). The CWI was a governmental organisation, mainly concerned with citizens’ applications for social assistance in case of unemployment. Nowadays the CWI is known as UWV WERKbedrijf. The opportunities for supported employment were also extended (Second Chamber, 29225, nr. 3).This transfer was initiated because several studies showed that the indication for sheltered work was in practice insufficiently guaranteed, and there was insufficient successful use of supported employment. It aimed at independence in execution, streamlining with other forms of assessment for labour 146

The responsiveness of sheltered work policies

market programmes and national unity in execution. In this way, the national government wanted to guarantee that people were only admitted to sheltered work if they really belonged there. In the second phase of the modernisation of the sheltered work policy the most important changes were: more rights for people with a SWA indication, strengthening of the municipalities’ responsibilities for execution of the SWA, simplification of execution, a change in the financing system, and the introduction of new instruments to encourage employers to employ disabled people: wage subsidy and the no-risk policy (Second Chamber, 30673, No. 3).With these changes the national government wanted to: (1) strengthen municipal responsibility; (2) create more rights for disabled people; and (3) involve normal employers. The measures were aimed at improving achievement of the goals of the SWA. In addition to these changes another important development was the establishment of the Commission for the Fundamental Review of the SWA in 2008. The reason for this was the continued growth in applications for sheltered work and the expected further increase in waiting lists (Second Chamber, 29817, No. 32).The Commission gained the assignment to provide advice on possible measures to increase the participation of people who were unable to obtain and keep a regular job with constant budgetary resources (Second Chamber, 29817, No. 5). The aim was thus a more efficient achievement of the formulated goals. The fundamental review not only included the SWA, but was viewed in conjunction with other regulations for people who were unable to find a job themselves. In 2009 the Commission presented their advisory report ‘Work to Ability’ in which they proposed a new approach for improvement of the employment position of disabled people. Customisation was central to this approach: not the regulation, but the job seeker and the employer needed to be the focus of the programme (Commission for the Fundamental Review of the SWA, 2009). The Cabinet (2009) indicated that it shared the principles of the advice, but did not want to accept directly the proposed measures. It used the following argument: the solution as proposed by the Commission includes fundamental and radical reform of the existing system. Before being able to decide on such reforms, the practical effectiveness and applicability of the system need to be examined.The Cabinet decided to carry out a number of pilots to explore the suggested solutions. Having briefly discussed the content of the most important changes to the SWA an overview of the formal changes to the regulation are presented in Table 6.3. It shows that the greatest number of changes were minor revisions, mostly as a result of the introduction or adaptation of other regulations (47%). Institutional adaptations of the 147

The responsiveness of social policies in Europe Table 6.3: Formal changes to the SWA 1995–2009

(a) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

(b) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 2 0 0 3 1

(c) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

(d) 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

(e) 0 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0

(f) 0 0 1 0 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Total minor revisions

1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009

Adaptations because of changes in other policy Changes in the content of policy instruments Adaptations of implementation structure Improvement of legislation Adaptations as a result of changes in tax laws

Year

Changes in numbers

Minor revisions

0 0 3 1 0 3 2 1 1 0 0 0 1 3 1

Institu­ Institu­ tional tional adaptations innovations 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

SWA were: the introduction of supported employment (1998), the extension of opportunities for supported employment (2005) and the introduction of wage subsidies and the no-risk policy (2008). These initiatives were aimed at increasing the proportion of disabled people who worked outside the sheltered work facility, under the supervision and responsibility of the sheltered work organisation. There were no institutional innovations to the SWA because there was not a real paradigm shift. Based on the prior discussion of the SWA’s development we can conclude that there are three main directions in which Dutch sheltered work policy has developed. The first direction was to entitle to the facilities only those people who really belong there. This can be illustrated by the more precise definition of the SWA’s target group and a more objective assessment of the entitlement to sheltered work. The second direction was the increased focus on 148

The responsiveness of sheltered work policies

working for a normal employer. Examples of measures contributing to this were the introduction of supported employment (1998), the extension of opportunities for supported employment (2005) and the encouragement measures for employers (2008).The final direction was the transfer of responsibilities for the SWA from central government to local municipalities. Public preferences about sheltered work in the Netherlands In this chapter we have discussed developments in the Dutch sheltered work policy in the period 1995–2009.We concluded that it has clearly shifted in direction. This book aims to explain the responsiveness of social policies.We thus need to analyse to what extent the shifts that we observed in the previous section can be attributed to the three logics in Chapter Three: the logic of public preferences, the system logic or the logic of socioeconomic conditions.This section starts with an analysis of developments in the logic of public preferences. It does so by presenting and assessing public opinions about the sheltered work policy.We look at opinions in the media, of political parties and of citizens. The media discourse about sheltered work To gain insight into opinions about sheltered work in the media we carried out a content analysis of five major national newspapers. We analysed how often the SWA was discussed in the newspapers in the period between 1 January 1995 and 31 December 2009, and in what context. To identify the relevant media articles, we used the Dutch words for ‘sheltered work facility’, ’social workplace’, ‘sheltered workplace’,‘SWA’ and ‘sheltered work’ as search terms.This resulted in 1,065 articles.These articles were critically read for their relevance. Of these, 317 articles were viewed as relevant for the analysis. Figure 6.2 shows the number of articles in each year about sheltered work. To gain insight into developments in the topics discussed in relation to the SWA we coded the articles and classified them in the following categories: 1. Adaptations to the SWA (reforms, modernisation or cutbacks) 2. The target group of the SWA (classification and description of the target group) 3. Other target groups in the SWA 4. Waiting list for the SWA 5. Results and finances of the SWA 149

The responsiveness of social policies in Europe Figure 6.2:The number of newspaper articles about the SWA 45 40

Number of articles

35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0

94

19

96

19

98

19

00

20

02

20

04

20

06

20

08

20

6. Abuses in sheltered workplaces 7. The collective labour agreement of the SWA 8. Competition private sector 9. Commercialisation of the sheltered work sector Table 6.4 provides an overview of the number of articles per category per year. Articles that could not be classified in one of the nine categories were left out. Finally, 294 articles were classified. Based on these results a number of conclusions can be drawn about media attention to the sheltered work policy. Due to the small number of available newspaper articles the conclusions can only be tentative. The first finding was that adaptations to the SWA cause peaks in media attention to sheltered employment. This occurred in 1996, 2005 and 2008. At the same time, it was noticeable that the peak in 1996 was combined with a relatively large amount of attention to the target group of the SWA. In 2005 it was combined with a relatively large amount of attention to finances and the results of sheltered work places. Second, the table shows that the focus on the waiting list for sheltered employment has increased slightly in recent years. It is worth noting that the waiting list itself is often not the subject of the articles, but rather the various Government initiatives to tackle the waiting list.Third, we see a highly concentrated focus on the collective labour market agreement in 1995 and 2004. In both years there were negotiations about a new 150

The responsiveness of sheltered work policies

2009

2005 2006 2007

2008

Adaptation SWA 3 16 3 0 0 0 0 0 Target group SWA 1 8 0 0 0 0 0 0 Waiting list SWA 0 3 4 1 1 0 0 2 Results and finances 5 7 0 3 7 2 3 2 SWA Abuses in sheltered 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 workplaces Collective labour market 16 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 agreement Other target groups in 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 the SW companies Reintegration 2 0 1 2 1 10 6 3 Competition with the 0 0 2 1 4 0 0 2 private sector Commercialisation of the sheltered work 3 2 4 3 1 0 0 0 sector

2004

2000 2001 2002 2003

1996 1997 1998 1999

1995

Table 6.4: Number of articles per category per year

4 0 1

0 10 0 0 12 0 3 0 0 0 5 2 6 8 6

5 0 8

1

3 16 1 1

2

5

0

3

3 1 2

0

1

0 11

2 0 0

0

0

1

1

2 1 0

0

9

7

2

0 5 0

4

0

1

0

0 0 0

0

1

0

0

0 0 0

0

0

collective labour market agreement which were accompanied by actions and/or strikes. Fourth, we observe an increase in attention to other target groups in sheltered workplaces in 2009. There was a discussion about which people belonged in the sheltered workplaces. Fifth, a peak in attention to reintegration can be observed in 2001. The core of the articles was that sheltered work companies kept disabled people in their companies and that disabled people did not move out quickly enough to the regular labour market. In 2003 especially the intention of the Government to enable disabled people to move increasingly and more quickly to the regular labour market was reported. Sixth, we see that the commercialisation of the SW companies was a concern until 2000, but not thereafter. The concerns were in particular about the negative effects of a more business–economic orientation of the SW companies for severely disabled people. The political discourse about sheltered work To provide a picture of the views in politics on sheltered work we analysed the formal parliamentary written questions in the period 1995 to 2010 and the election programmes of the three largest political parties since 1994: the Liberal Democrats (VVD), the Christian Democrats

151

152





Liberal Democrats

1994–1998 Support for existence of sheltered employment.

Social Democrats

Christian Democrats

Active inclusion policies to the benefit of people with disabilities.

–– Support for existence of sheltered employment. –– Prevention of displacement of real target group of sheltered employment. –– Improve the position of disabled people: complete participation.

1998–2002 –







Remove the division in participation budgets.

2002–2006 2006–2010 –– Support for existence –– Support for existence of sheltered employment. of sheltered –– Financial and employment. administrative –– Extension of the responsibility of SWA for people municipalities for the receiving social SWA. assistance. –– Extension of sheltered employment.

–– Merging arrangements for disabled young people and move to the municipalities. –– Adjust the collective labour agreement to tackle waiting lists.

–– Support for existence of sheltered employment. –– Streamlining of the different regulations and assessment procedures. –– Adaptation of salaries in the SWA.

2010–2015 –– Support for existence of sheltered employment. –– Integration of existing regulations and coherent policies in the municipalities.

Table 6.5:The SWA in the election programmes of the Christian, Social and Liberal Democrats from 1994 to 2010

The responsiveness of social policies in Europe

The responsiveness of sheltered work policies

(CDA) and the Social Democrats (PvdA). Below follows a discussion of the results (see also Table 6.5). In the period between 1995 and 2010, 38 questions concerning the SWA were asked in Parliament. No clear trend can be seen in the parliamentary questions (partly due to the low number of questions) but there are a number of substantive issues that stand out. The first issue is that most parliamentary questions were about incidents at a specific SW company. Questions were not raised based on general trends at SW companies, but in reaction to single cases like sexual abuse or accidents at a specific SW company. The second issue that we noticed was that the Secretary of State could do hardly anything in response to the issues raised in parliamentary questions because they fell under the responsibility of the specific municipality. This reflects the shift discussed earlier of responsibilities from central Government to municipalities in 1998. Finally, it can be observed that legislative changes are a boost to parliamentary questions. For example the review of the SWA in 1998 caused many questions about the reassessment of people entitled to the SWA. The analysis of the election programmes showed that sheltered employment was highly supported in politics. In particular, the emphasised in their election programmes their support for the existence of sheltered employment.The Liberal Democrats paid less attention to sheltered employment in their election programmes. But a more critical view of the SWA can also be observed.The analysis shows that all three political parties advocated the streamlining or merging of the different regulations for disabled people. The exact specification of these plans differed between the parties, especially on which regulations needed to be merged. The third observation is that salaries and/or the collective labour agreement became more of an item of concern. Both the Social and Liberal Democrats advocated an adaptation of the collective labour agreement in their most recent election programme. Citizens’ views on sheltered work This section discusses citizens’ views about the sheltered work policy. The societal opinion on disabled people in general is also discussed. This is relevant in a study of the responsiveness of the SWA for two reasons. First, citizens’ attitude to disabled people determines which type of policies governments are expected to implement. Second, in the end these attitudes determine the results of the policies. The aim of current policies is to enable disabled people to participate in society as much as possible. In order to achieve this goal it is necessary that 153

The responsiveness of social policies in Europe

citizens accept disabled people in their ‘normal lives’. Employers have to be willing to employ disabled people and citizens have to be willing to interact with disabled people, for example as their direct colleague or as the waiter or waitress in a restaurant. In our study it appeared to be difficult to collect representative data about the development in views specifically on the SWA scheme and its target group. Therefore we base this section on our interviews and available research on the wider group of disabled people.This creates only a general and tentative picture of citizens’ views on the sheltered work policy. In many interviews people said that there is broad support for the objective of the SWA to offer adjusted jobs to those who are otherwise unable to work. Citizens think it is good that such a facility exists for disabled people. However, we were also told that there is little support from experts and the field for the scheme as it is currently designed. This is due to the disappointing results of the SWA. In the interviews it was also indicated that citizens do not know what exactly happens in SW companies and that they have an outdated image of these organisations. One interviewee said: ‘People don’t know [the SW companies] very well. ...They think it is good that they exist, but they don’t know exactly what they are. ... They all still think of pasting stickers in a factory where everyone sits together. ... Nowadays half of disabled people no longer work in a sheltered environment, but for normal employers. [They are all trained] as much as possible, all kinds of target groups are walking around at those companies, that image is not well known.’ This may indicate that citizens actually support the fact that disabled people work in sheltered environments and do not see the limited move to regular employers as a problem. Further research is needed to explore this. In different interviews, experts indicated that society views the target group of the SWA as a group that needs to be protected. People think of them as a sensitive and vulnerable group that is very ‘cuddly’. Due to this image the target group of the SWA is highly sensitive in politics. As a consequence alleged injustice done to them leads to an outcry more quickly than for other citizens. This can be illustrated by the earlier observation that local incidents within SW companies result in parliamentary questions and newspaper articles. Local incidents related to a less ‘cuddly’ group would probably not have received that much attention. 154

The responsiveness of sheltered work policies

In addition to the above picture of the target group of the SWA, research indicates that disabled people are seen as highly deserving in terms of public support.The study, conducted by Achterberg et al (2010) examined which Dutch groups deserve more or less public support according to Dutch citizens. It showed that disabled people who were working had relatively strong support for their claim to social security, compared to able-bodied people, people without prospects on the labour market, workers and their families and foreigners. For the realisation of jobs for disabled people with normal employers, it is important how employers and employees think about disabled people.The research company Research voor Beleid was commissioned by the Ministry of Social Affairs in both 2003 and 2007 to investigate the perceptions and attitudes of employers and employees about disabled people. Both studies showed that the perception of labour disabled people as employees was not always positive, and that little had changed in the intervening period. For example, about half of the managers thought that people with mental health problems especially were ill more frequently and less productive than healthy workers. In addition, the analysis showed that in all respondent groups labour disabled people were much less likely to be employed than healthy workers. An interesting proposition that was submitted to the respondents was “in our society, people with disabilities are not viewed as full persons”.1 Table 6.6 shows the results. It shows that the respondents generally agreed with this statement. The percentage of people that (totally) agreed varied from 43% to 66% between the different groups. It is worth noting that people who did not deal with illness or disabilities were less likely to agree with the statement than those who were themselves dealing with illness or disability. In this section, views on the sheltered work policy have been discussed. We end this section with some global and tentative conclusions. First, there are indications that the SWA is quite invisible to many citizens. This was shown in the limited attention to the scheme in the media and information from the interviews. Second, the attention paid to the SWA was usually a result of Government initiatives. Third, we see a development towards a more critical look at the current scheme for sheltered work both from the political parties and in the professional field. However, the extent to which citizens share this criticism is questionable because of the invisibility and unfamiliarity of the scheme in the period studied. This brings us to the final conclusion. Citizens 1   In Dutch: “In onze maatschappij worden mensen met een handicap niet voor vol aangezien”.

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The responsiveness of social policies in Europe

Healthy people

Employees with a high risk of dropping out

Employees with disabilities

Sick employees in their first two years of illness

Non-working people with disabilities

Answers to the proposition ‘in our society, people with disabilities are not viewed as full persons’ Completely agree (%) Agree (%) Partly agree/disagree (%) Disagree (%) Completely disagree (%) Don’t know/neutral (%) Total (%) Unweighted number

Executives

Table 6.6: Opinions on the position of disabled people

  4  41  35  11   7   3 100 357

  2  41  31  17   5   4 100 126

 13  36  26  14   8   4 100 125

 17  36  22  17   4   5 100 128

 19  35  27   9   7   3 100 125

 27  39  22   8   1   4 100 128

Source: Verveen and Van Petersen, 2007: 47

view the target group of the SWA as a ‘cuddly’ group that deserves public support. In addition, there are signs that disabled people are regularly viewed as not being full people. These views may possibly undermine the desire to let disabled people join the normal work force. The socioeconomic environment of the SWA In this section we discuss the second ‘logic of responsiveness’ that might explain the shifts in policies that we observed earlier: the external social and economic developments. Three issues are explored here: (1) the societal position of disabled people; (2) the labour market; and (3) the population of the SWA.The discussion is based on the available literature and the interviews we conducted. Finally, we discuss how these different socioeconomic developments relate to each other and what this means for the development of the sheltered work policy. The societal position of disabled people Various social developments have contributed to the increased demand that disabled people participate as much as possible in society. On the one hand this resulted from ideological thinking, with the central idea that it is good and desirable that disabled people are really part of society (the inclusive society). On the other hand it resulted from more

156

The responsiveness of sheltered work policies

business-like thinking, that anyone who is able to work has to work. In the following section these two aspects are discussed in more detail. An important social development with regard to the position of disabled people is the development into ‘the vision that people regardless of their limitations ought to be full members of society’ (Van der Zwan, 2004). It calls for the inclusion of disabled people in society rather than excluding them. In other words, people with disabilities should preferably not be trapped in special institutions and be isolated, but participate in society. This contributes to the quality of life of disabled people (Kröber, 2008). Examples are: let disabled people live in normal residential areas rather than in special settings and let disabled children go to mainstream schools rather than to special educational establishments.The aim of enabling disabled people to work for regular employers instead of in a sheltered environment is in line with this ‘inclusion thinking’. Another relevant social trend is the thought of ‘who can work should work’. This idea arises from an increased business view of social security in which a decrease in unnecessary social security use is important (see for example Trommel and Van der Veen, 1999). One interviewee summed up this trend as “everyone has to do something for his money”. The labour market for disabled people Labour market developments have direct consequences for the SWA. The SWA can contribute to the solution of (expected) problems on the labour market, such as the ageing of the labour force, but labour market developments also have direct consequences for the implementation and results of the SWA, like the inflow and outflow from SW companies.With the increased focus on regular employment, labour market developments over the past 10–15 years have become more important in relation to sheltered work policy. Labour market developments have direct consequences for the number of available jobs for disabled people and the willingness of employers to give them a job. For the policy domain of sheltered work two developments are relevant. First, labour is becoming scarcer due to the (future) ageing of the population. Second, the bottom section of the labour market is affected by increased competition and the need for increased skills even in jobs at this level of the labour market. We will elaborate on each of these developments. First, there is the expectation that the future demand for labour will exceed supply due to the ageing of the labour market.This means that soon ‘all hands will be needed’ to do the work required, including those 157

The responsiveness of social policies in Europe

of people in the SWA. The Dutch Commission Labour Participation (Commissie Arbeidsparticipatie (2008: 5) wrote about this: We need everyone in the coming decades. This offers opportunities for large groups of people who are not participating or just partly, to get started.Think of women, ethnic minorities and low-skilled employees, but also disabled persons who can work well with small adjustments. The growing demand for labour gives us the opportunity and the need to develop the talent of every person. (Commissie Arbeidsparticipatie, 2008: 5) This development points to an increased demand for the labour of disabled people. However, there is a second development that points in the other direction. Several studies have discussed the increased unemployment among disabled people and the deteriorated labour market position of people at the bottom of the labour market (Jehoel-Gijsbers, 2007 and 2010; Raad voor Werk en Inkomen, 2010). In the literature, several explanations for the increase in unemployment at the bottom of the labour market can be found.The Council for Work and Income (RWI) (2010) mentioned among other things the polarisation in employment as a cause.Very simply put, this means that there is an increase in the proportion of high level jobs and a decrease in the proportion of low level jobs. Another possible explanation is a decline in permanent jobs and in jobs at large companies (Jehoel-Gijsbers, 2007). This development is especially negative for disabled people because they work relatively often in these types of jobs. Politics, policy, business and several scientists also expect a further deterioration in the position of low-skilled employees as a result of technological developments and the transfer of work to low wage countries (Josten, 2010). Josten (2010) also presented a less pessimistic view. According to her the shrinkage of the total demand for low-skilled labour will not be that great, based on data from the Dutch Office for Statistics over the period 1992–2008. She looked at how the number of low-skilled jobs actually developed. This revealed that in this period the number of low-skilled jobs hardly changed, the number of low-skilled employees was falling and that overall there was no deterioration of the position of low-skilled employees. Finally, a further increase in the number of migrant workers from Eastern Europe was a potential threat to the labour market position of low-skilled workers (Josten, 2010). 158

The responsiveness of sheltered work policies

Table 6.7: Profile of SWA employees in the period from the end of 2002 to the end of 2009

73 27 45.2

35 34 27 4

72 28 45.6

0 88 12

34 35 28 4

71 29 46.0

End 2009 73 27 44.8

36 35 25 4

0 88 12

100 (n=96.931)

End 2008 74 26 44.3

36 34 26 4

1 88 11

100 (n=97.419)

End 2007

74 26 44.0

37 34 25 4

1 88 11

100 (n=96.530)

End 2006

75 25 43.7

38 34 24 5

2 88 10

100 (n=96.024)

End 2005

76 24 43.5 39 34 22 5

3 87 10

100 (n=97.105)

End 2004

Gender (%) Man (%) Woman (%) Average age (years) 39 34 21 5

3 88 9

100 (n=96.695)

End 2003

Type of disability Physical (%) Mental (%) Psychological (%) Other (%) 3 90 7

100 (n=95.245)

End 2002

Labour disability Light (%) Moderate (%) Severe (%)

100 (n=93.860)

Total (%)

Source: Santen et al, 2008 & 2009; Engelen et al, 2010

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The responsiveness of social policies in Europe

Developments in the SWA population We now move from external developments to the internal development of the sheltered employment policy’s population. Table 6.7 shows the developments in the profile of the SWA population for the period 2002–2009. A number of trends can be identified: (1) the number of women increased; (2) the average age increased; (3) the proportion of people with physical disabilities decreased; (4) the proportion of people with psychological disability decreased; and (5) the proportion of people with severe disabilities increased. These developments suggest that SW companies are dealing with a population with increasing needs, especially when there is an increased focus on the goal to enable disabled people to work for normal employers. In general, older people and people with severe disabilities have less (suitable) job possibilities. In addition, people with psychological disabilities often need supervisors with more specific qualities than people with physical disabilities. If we integrate the various developments a tension can be observed between developments regarding the position of disabled people and developments in the labour market. On the one hand there is a call for greater participation of disabled people in the regular labour market. But on the other hand there is a deterioration in the labour market position of disabled people because low-skilled jobs have become scarcer and an increasing number of better-skilled employees are also applying for these jobs. This makes it difficult to respond to the social desire to include disabled people in society. In addition, it has become more ‘difficult’ for the SWA population in itself to compete for regular jobs. However, the future ageing of the labour market offers a possible solution to this problem.The additional demand for workers as a result of ageing is an opportunity for disabled people to participate in the labour market. Implementation and results of the SWA The SWA aims to offer adapted employment to people with physical, mental or psychological disability. The goal is to enable them work in a way as normal as possible, ideally for a normal employer. As noted earlier in this chapter, there is great support for this objective. However, we also indicated that in the field and in politics there is great dissatisfaction with the implementation and results of the SWA. This section provides more insight into the implementation and results of the SWA. First, the results of the SWA are discussed. This 160

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addresses the development of: (1) the number of employees in the SWA; (2) the waiting list and waiting time; and (3) the outflow to regular employers and supported employment. Next, several explanations for the disappointing results are discussed. In the period 1996–2010 the number of employees in the SWA increased considerably. It increased from around 87,000 employees to over 102,000 in 2010 (Van Santen et al, 2008, 2009 & 2011; Engelen et al, 2010). This indicates that the SWA as a facility kept growing. In 2011 a small decline (around 1%) of the number employees occurred (Van Santen et al, 2012). The waiting list and waiting time for the SWA had long been a point of concern. In the periods 1988–97 and 2002–07 there was an increase in the waiting list (Commissie fundamentele herbezinning WSW, 2009: 65). In the period 1997–2002, a decrease in the waiting list occurred. The first increase in the waiting list was a result of the introduction of the system of budget financing to replace the open end scheme in 1988 (Commissie fundamentele herbezinning WSW, 2009).The decrease in 1998 was the result of governmental actions: the budget addition to create more jobs and the tightening of the eligibility criteria (Commissie fundamentele herbezinning WSW, 2009: 86). Since 2002, the national waiting list has tripled. Causes of this increase are the limitation of the budget, the limited outflow from sheltered work facilities and the greatly increased demand for sheltered work facilities due to the strong increase in young disabled people on benefits (Wajong) and people receiving social assistance from the municipalities (Inspectie Werk en Inkomen, 2007). In 2009, the waiting list was around 18,000 people and thus again slightly lower than in 2007 (Engelen et al, 2010). In 2010 the waiting list again increased (by 15.5%) and in 2011 it decreased a little (1.7%) (Van Santen et al, 2011 & 2012). In addition to the length of the waiting list the waiting time was also a point of concern. Despite various measures, the average stay on the waiting list was long. The average stay on the waiting list fluctuated during the period 2001–09 between 8 and 16 months approximately (Van Santen et al, 2008 & 2009). In 2001 and 2009 the waiting time was 15 months (Plooij et al, 2002; Engelen et al, 2010). Outflow to normal work and supported employment In recent years, the emphasis of the SWA has increasingly shifted from working within a sheltered work facility to working for a normal employer. It is important to note that the outflow to normal work at the Ministry was not seen as the primary objective of the SWA but as 161

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a secondary objective (Second Chamber, 2006-2007, 28130, No. 5-6: 7). Key indicators are the outflow from the SW company and the number of people who work in supported employment for a normal employer. We now briefly discuss these key indicators. When we look at the development of the outflow of the SWA population two things stand out. First, each year the outflow is less than the inflow in the period 2002-07 (Santen et al, 2008).This means that the workforce is growing (as we already saw in the discussion of the SWA population). Second, the outflow is a reasonably constant number. There is little growth in this number. It seems therefore that the increased focus of the Ministry on the outflow of employees had little result. A relatively limited amount of people flow out to normal employer. The outflow rate was approximately between 3% and 7% (Santen et al, 2008). In addition to the question of the size of the outflow it is also relevant to look at the reasons for leaving the SW company. Ideally employees would leave the SW company for a job with a normal employer. But the reality is (unfortunately) different. For example in 2009 only 2% of the SWA population left the facility to work for a normal employer (Engelen et al, 2010). Examples of other reasons for leaving the SWA facility or new destinations are: sickness or disability benefit, death and retirement. In the period 2002–09 the number of people in the SWA who made use of supported employment increased (Van Santen et al, 2008, 2009 and Engelen et al, 2010). In 2001 around 600 people made use of sheltered employment and in 2009 this number was 5,295. This growth still continues. In 2011 there were more than 6,000 people in the SWA making use of sheltered employment (Van Santen et al, 2012) In the previous section the results of the SWA were discussed. Workers in the professional field and the Ministry consider these results as insufficient. In order to achieve better results, in 2008 the Ministry established the Commission for Fundamental Reconsideration of the SWA (Commissie Fundamentele Herbezinning Wsw), with the task to reflect critically on the SWA. In its report ‘Working to ability’, this Commission gave a clear and complete overview of the aspects of the SWA that contributed to the nonparticipation of disabled people.These aspects were, according to the Commission: • Exclusion due to budgetary constraint.This implied growing waiting lists and waiting times.The prognosis according to the Commission is that when policies remain unchanged waiting lists will increase further. 162

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• Exclusion due to a lack of motivation. The SWA is a voluntary facility. Municipalities do not have the means to oblige people to take part in the SWA. • Exclusion due to the definition of the target group. Only physical, psychological and/or mentally disabled people who do not get a job on the regular labour market receive an SWA categorisation. As a result, access to the SWA is denied to certain groups for whom the facilities of the SWA would be useful. An example is people with social disabilities who have been unemployed for years. • No incentives for people in sheltered work to develop themselves because better performance does not pay off. • Attractiveness of the regulation because of the favourable collective labour agreement. • A lack of effective governance instruments for municipalities to assert control over sheltered work facilities. • A lack of financial incentives for sheltered work facilities to encourage the transition of the SWA population to normal employers. In the event of a transition to regular employment sheltered work employees who perform well need to be replaced either by others who do not work so efficiently, or by regular staff. In this section we have shown that during the period studied the Dutch sheltered work policy had to deal with various problems in implementation and disappointing results.The population of the SWA was rising, waiting lists were increasing, waiting times remained too long, there was insufficient outflow to normal employers and there was still a too limited use of supported employment as an instrument. The national Government came up with various initiatives to adjust the SWA to better its results. However, the initiatives did not have sufficient, or the desired, effect. The responsiveness of sheltered work policies in the Netherlands: conclusions Earlier in this chapter we discussed the development of sheltered work policy in the Netherlands, relevant views, the social-economic environment and the implementation and results of the policy. Figure 6.3 integrates these findings. In this section we draw conclusions about the responsiveness of the SWA. In Chapter  One we defined responsiveness as ‘the degree of congruence between policy developments, socioeconomic developments and changes in values of citizens and relevant actors’. In this section we therefore analyse to 163

The responsiveness of social policies in Europe Figure 6.3: Schematic overview of the developments of the SWA in the period 1996–2010 Problems with the implementation and results

Policy vision: ‘Everyone takes part’

Enactment SWA 1969 • Policy focus on working inside the sw-company

Current principles of the SWA • Policy focus on working outside the sw-company

• SW company aimed at developing disabled people

Business view

• SW company aimed at production

Inclusion thinking

• SW as temporary position

Ageing

• SW as permanent position

Restrictions: • Wrong incentives in the system – Favourable collective labour market agreement – Financing system – Attractiveness of the regulation • Labour market developments such as: – Polarisation – Influx of employees from Eastern Europe • Limited acceptance of disabled people in society

what extent the policy developments were a direct or indirect response to developments in the views of the media, politicians or citizens and socioeconomic developments. We also discuss what factors promote or inhibit responsiveness. In Chapter Three we concluded that policies can be responsive to three overarching logics: (1)  the logic of the external environment; (2) the logic of public preferences; and (3) the institutional logic. We stated that these logics can attach different desires and demands to policy change with the consequence that policy makers and politicians have to balance between these logics and find an appropriate response.The case of the SWA showed that policy makers have to balance between: (1) the desire from the institutional logic to make the SWA more manageable; 164

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(2) the logic of the policy environment where there is a deterioration in the employment position of disabled people and the ageing of the labour force that calls for more use of disabled people as employers; and (3) the logic of public preferences, which includes on the one hand the aim to include disabled people in society because it contributes to their welfare, and on the other hand the limited acceptance of disabled people in society. The study showed that the most prominent policy developments were a more stringent definition of the target group of the SWA and an increased focus on enabling the SWA population to work for a normal employer.With these policy changes policy makers responded mostly to the institutional logic and partly to the logic of public preferences and external environment.The policies appeared to be responsive to the aim of making the SWA more manageable and to the wish for inclusion of disabled people. But one thing should be kept in mind: many experts noted that the steps taken by policy makers were very cautious, as a response to the societal demand to be careful with the target group of the SWA. Policy makers (inevitably) did not respond to the remaining logics.The labour market developments and the limited acceptance of disabled people in society would make an extension of sheltered workplaces necessary rather than a focus on the outflow from SW companies to normal employment. In the Dutch case we observed a slow and gradual transformation of sheltered work policies. Although the formal policies have been altered only marginally, the gradual and slow transformation process has completely altered the characteristics of sheltered work policies in the Netherlands.The development can be characterised as a process of policy succession or ‘layering’ (see Chapter Three). The formal design of the SWA remained stable for quite a long time, although in the implementation the goals shifted from internal work at the sheltered work facility itself to (supported) work for an external employer.These changes were enabled by the addition of various new elements to the existing ones. The most important additions were the introduction of supported employment, extending the opportunities for the use of supported employment and the use of wage subsidies and the no-risk policy for employers. One of the goals of the case studies was to generate insights into the factors that explain policy change. In the case of the SWA we showed that, despite the need for drastic reform, the modifications to the Act were quite small, time after time. There are two factors that seem to have restricted more radical change, and therefore might be perceived as factors that to some extent restricted responsiveness.The first factor concerns what we have labelled as the ‘cuddle factor’ of the people who 165

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are employed in sheltered work facilities. Several interviews revealed that politicians did not dare to (radically) change the SWA because the target group is sensitive in society. Incidents and possible injustice related to the target group of the SWA receive relatively much attention in the media and also in parliament. A second obstacle for radical change of the sheltered work policy concerns the rights that have been acquired by people who are employed in sheltered work in the Netherlands. This mainly concerns the collective labour agreement that applies to them. In terms of salary and benefits this collective labour agreement is very favourable. It therefore does not encourage working outside the sheltered work facility. It appears difficult for a government to take away these acquired rights. This leads to a more or less classical path dependency explanation for the lack of change: choices from the past shape the future development of the policies.

The responsiveness of sheltered work policy: a comparative perspective Having discussed the responsiveness of sheltered work policies from a Dutch perspective, we return to our European perspective.The Dutch case showed a slow and gradual transformation of sheltered work policies. Due to political and institutional factors a radical reform of the SWA was postponed several times. In this section we reflect on the responsiveness of European sheltered employment policies, based on insights and lessons from our analysis of the Dutch case. We do this by discussing the most relevant developments or issues in the different logics of our ‘responsiveness triangle’ and the tensions that the developments create within and between the logics. Figure 6.4 shows the ‘responsiveness triangle’ for European sheltered work policies and introduces the relevant developments. In our view, many of the trends can be transferred to the European level, as most countries are confronted with similar challenges, like the euro crisis and the EU’s 2020 strategy for inclusive growth. Public preferences: inclusion and stigmatisation All European countries are confronted with pressures to develop disability policies aimed at the inclusion of disabled people in society. For example the European Commission has a strong programme focused on the inclusion of disabled people in society called ‘European Disability Strategy 2010-2020:A Renewed Commitment to a BarrierFree Europe’ (European Commission, 2010). In relation to employment 166

The responsiveness of sheltered work policies

Public preferences

Economic crisis

Institutional logic

Ageing labour market

Stigma and prejudices

Inclusion thinking

Decrease public spending on sheltered work/ increase participation in regular work

Government cutbacks

Increase public spending on sheltered work

Policy content

Figure 6.4:The responsiveness triangle of European sheltered work policies

External logic

it aims for many more disabled people to earn their living in the open labour market. The European Commission asks the member states to develop policies to realise this goal. It is not only the European Commission which has developed a strategy to include disabled people in society. For example the United Nations, and many interest groups of disabled people, strive for this goal. Parallel to the societal wish to include disabled people in society is the stigmatisation of disabled people in society (see for example: Goffman, 1963; Gill, 2001; Coleman, 2006). Stigmatisation concerns the disqualification of people from social acceptance because of their inability to be ‘normal’.Various studies show that disabled people are stigmatised in society (for example Corrigan and Watson, 2002; Murthy, 2002).This stigmatisation is a great barrier to the inclusion of disabled people in society and creates serious challenges for disabled people. The idea that disabled people are not ‘normal’ according to the public decreases the willingness of employers to offer them jobs and enable them to become accepted as a regular colleague. It can also have the consequence that disabled people stigmatise themselves (see for example Corrigan and Watson, 2002; Phemister and Crewe, 2012).This decreases their intrinsic ambition to work for a normal employer and increases their feeling of dependency on the state and/or family. The combination of the ideas of inclusion on the one hand and stigmatisation on the other creates obvious tensions for European countries. Inclusion aims for the downsizing of sheltered work facilities and the development of instruments to encourage the participation 167

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of disabled people in the regular labour market. But stigmatisation is a serious barrier to this goal. Stigmatisation itself calls for the continuation or expansion of sheltered work facilities because society does not fully accept disabled people on the regular labour market. Only after governments have been able to change the public’s ideas about disabled people as employees, can they opt for downsizing sheltered work facilities without affecting disabled people’s abilities to participate in society. Otherwise, they have to develop ‘hard instruments’ to force employers to employ disabled people. External environment: economic crisis and ageing of the labour market The most important development in the logic of socioeconomic conditions is of course the current economic crisis. All European countries are confronted with the effects of this crisis. As already mentioned in the introduction to this chapter, the crisis can have negative consequences for the employment of disabled people (ILO, 2009). For example OECD (2010) stated that the current job crisis is of great concern because it is likely that vulnerable groups like disabled people are hit hardest. It is hard to find data that show the exact effect of the crisis on the employment of disabled people. But for example Grammenos (2011) reported that the absolute increase in the unemployment rate was around one percentage point in the EU in the period 2008–09. And OECD (2010) noted that employment rates of disabled people are still low (despite increased efforts to increase their employment) and have been falling in many countries (see Figure 6.5). This points to the (increased) difficulties in finding jobs for disabled people. Another important development in the external environment is the ageing of the labour market. The ageing of society is taking place in every country in Europe (Bloom et al, 2011). As a result countries possibly have to deal with a shrinking labour force in the future, although there is some discussion about the direct effect of ageing on the shrinking of the labour force (Bloom et al, 2011). Countries have to develop responses to compensate for population ageing to prevent slower economic growth or the shrinkage of their economies. These two developments in the logic of socioeconomic conditions generate great tension for European governments wishing to promote the inclusion of disabled people in the labour market. On the one hand they are faced with restricted financial possibilities and large-scale budget cuts due to the crisis. Simultaneously, the crisis increases the need for government support, for example as a consequence of increased 168

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Figure 6.5: Employment rates by disability status

40

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Employment rates by disability status in the late 2000s (left axis) and trends in relative employment rates since the mid-1990s (people with disability over those without, right axis)

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0 0 * en nd ia co nd rk rg ny al da ce K ea ay ds ia d ia p. ly lia S m in p. ce d ry d 27 ed ela ton xi rla ma ou ma tug na an U Kor rw rlan ustr nlan ven k Re Ita stra U lgiu Spa h Re ree elan nga lan D o o Sw Ic Es Me ze en b er r Ca Fr Be N the A Fi Slo ova t ec G Ir Hu P i Au EC D xem G Po e O Cz Sl Sw N Lu

Disability ()

No disability

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Mid-1990s (D/ND)

Note: Throughout () in the legend indicates the variable according to which countries are ranked, in decreasing order. D/ND refers to the employment rate of people with disability relative to the employment rate of those without disability. * OECD27 refers to an unweighted average for 27 countries for employment rates and 19 countries for trends over roughly the past decade in relative employment rates. Estonia and Slovenia are not included in the OECD averages. Source: OECD (2010), Sickness, disability and work: Breaking the barriers: A synthesis of findings across OECD countries, p 51.

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unemployment. Many European governments will have to put much effort into meeting the EMU criteria, most notably a restriction of the budget deficit below 3% of their gross domestic product (GDP). On the other hand, the ageing of society calls for government subsidies to invest in the work skills of all citizens of working age. The risk of the economic crisis is that there will be less spent on the labour development of people, which results in a shortage of highly-skilled employees in the future. Examples of austerity measures already taken by some countries, which have a negative effect for the economic participation of disabled people, are the stop or reduction of innovative projects to bring disabled people to work, or subsidies to encourage employers to employ disabled people (for example Austria) (EASPD, 2010). Eventually this will (again) have negative consequences for the economic development of a country. Countries thus have to balance between their need for cutbacks in their spending and the need to invest in the work skills of their citizens. The policy system: government cutbacks and path dependency In the policy system there are two relevant ‘forces’. First, European welfare states have undergone two decades of budget cuts already and are likely to continue on this path (see for instance Pierson, 2001).The current economic crisis has reinforced this trend (see Farnsworth, 2011). A second relevant factor in the policy system is the policy content of sheltered work policies. Earlier we stated that the policy content differs between countries on various aspects like the design of programmes, budgets and the institutionalised involvement of employers. The direction in which policies develop also differs among European countries (see ANED, 2009). This mainly concerns the development from a policy aimed at care towards a policy aimed at integration (see Tables 6.2 and 6.3).This will eventually lead to different outcomes per country. The next section elaborates further on this. Consequences of the context in which European sheltered policies operate There are two logical options for the future development of sheltered employment in European countries: (1) extension or maintenance of sheltered work facilities; or (2) reduction of sheltered work facilities. Figure 6.4 visualised this for all developments. The figure shows that it is hard to develop a satisfactory response in the area of sheltered work because it is impossible to respond to all conflicting demands. It 170

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also shows that the distinctive force is the actual policy content of the countries concerned. If we add up the different tensions in the triangle we see three (necessary) policy objectives that need to be realised in order to deal with the dilemma of austerity versus care and solidarity with vulnerable groups: (1) the inclusion of disabled people in society and the labour market; (2) reducing public spending on sheltered work and disability policies; and (3) increased responsibility for employers. Building upon these objectives, we may state that the need for countries to respond to challenges in their institutional environment, to a large extent depends on the question of how their current policies are performing on each of these objectives.This need for policy change is dependent on several factors: 1. The focus on the inclusion of disabled people in society Countries that are already concerned with actively increasing the participation of disabled people outside sheltered work facilities and actually succeed in doing so may have a lower need to alter their policies than countries that fail to do so. 2. The level of the governmental costs Countries with high costs have a greater need to change their sheltered work policies than those with low costs. Sheltered workplaces are relatively expensive facilities. In order to realise budget cuts governments need to reform their sheltered work policies in a more efficient way. 3. The involvement of employers Employers play a crucial role in the ‘sheltered work policies of the future’. Employers are needed to include disabled people in society and also to (help to) carry the costs that disabled people put on society. Countries where the involvement of employers is already well organised have less need to change their policies than countries in which employers are less involved. Knowing these factors helps to predict the intensity and direction of European countries’ future sheltered work policies. All in all, the objectives seem to converge towards a decrease in traditional sheltered work facilities.The Dutch case clearly illustrates this. In the Netherlands, we may observe a relatively great emphasis on the inclusion of disabled people (see Table 6.3), high governmental costs (in the SWA) and little involvement of employers in sheltered work policies. This indicates a great need to change sheltered work policies. Several factors seem 171

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to have blocked the changes which seem necessary from the ideas of ‘institutional fit’ and responsiveness: the ‘cuddle factor’ of disabled people and the institutionalised rights of disabled people hindered the actual implementation of necessary reforms. Recently a major reform was planned to merge the SWA with other regulations into a new law in 2013 and to implement large budget cuts. The plans to reform the SWA were heavily criticised in society, which finally led to the end of the plan to reform when the Dutch Cabinet collapsed in April 2012. This shows how hard it can be to realise a ‘need for change’ and what a challenge it is to be responsive in the policy domain of sheltered work for disabled people.

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Conclusions: the responsiveness of social policies in three domains

Introduction In the opening sentences of this book we articulated the difficult challenge to welfare states in the era of ‘the Great Recession’: matching increasing needs, decreasing resources and heterogeneous public preferences. The previous chapters have illustrated, virtually without exception, the complexity, multicausality and tensions that go with this task. Three cases were studied in detail, each with its own ‘story’ and dynamics. From these three stories, this chapter aims to draw some lessons from the way the Dutch Government has dealt with these incompatible developments and tries to generalise these lessons to the European level. Let us first revisit the theoretical and practical framework that this study departs from. As we indicated in Chapter One and discussed in Chapter Three, the issue of responsiveness contrasts with the traditional view of social policy as locked-in, highly institutionalised, pathdependent systems. It also contrasts with the perspective of the so-called ‘new politics’ stream, in which smart politicians use political strategies to pursue their own ideological agenda (see Pierson, 2001).As we know from many more recent institutional theorists, institutional change is possible, as we have also seen in the three cases we described. In this final chapter we assess to what extent this change comes from adaptation to changing socioeconomic environments and public preferences and how these policy systems have dealt with the sometimes incompatible demands from these environments. To do so, we will start by a comparative analysis of our three Dutch cases. Next we address, and offer an explanation for, the main differences and similarities between the ways the cases have developed in the Netherlands. We then draw some overall conclusions from this analysis and also deal with the insights from the exploration of the development of the three domains on the European level. Finally, we formulate lessons that can be drawn from this study for the ways in

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which European countries may respond to the challenges that our current crisis offers.

A comparison between the three cases The point of departure for the analysis of the similarities and differences is the conceptual model that we developed in Chapter Three. In that chapter, we showed that policy is ‘caught’ between three logics: the internal logic of the policy system, the logic of the social-economic and social-cultural policy environment, and the logic of public preferences. Each of these logics is continually evolving.The developments within each of these logics are difficult to know and grasp, and the logics often point in different directions. The question here is how policy systems respond to these dynamics and tensions. In this section, we briefly touch upon the main characteristics of each of the cases on the basis of the central concepts in the conceptual model. We discuss the cases according to the order of their chapters.The development of the social assistance policy is covered first, next the labour market policy for non-Dutch employees and, finally, the provision of sheltered work. Social assistance policy in the Netherlands Policy development in the social assistance case in the Netherlands is easily described: in its implementation as well as its development, the emphasis lay on volume restriction over the past 15 years by, on the one hand, placing continually greater restrictions on the inflow and, on the other hand, putting an increasingly strong emphasis on the outflow.There has also been a strong focus on enforcing the rules and combating fraud – partly in response to social unrest. Public preferences about social assistance policy are relatively unambiguous: as to the importance of social assistance benefits as a safety net, there is a reasonably large consensus in politics, the media and among citizens.Their importance is undisputed in the Netherlands, in the sense that most citizens and politicians believe they should be there. At the same time, we encounter in these domains the beliefs that benefits are sometimes granted too easily, that people who are entitled to benefits have to make too little effort, and that fraud is a recurrent phenomenon in social assistance policy. There is little doubt about rights and regulations, but there is doubt when it comes to general implementation. It seems that the favour that everyone is prepared to grant is awarded without sufficient selection and criticism. This is a recurring picture in the entire social assistance case. 174

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The limited extent to which the significant dynamics in society and in the social-economic situation have trickled into social assistance policy is noticeable. Despite social turbulence, social assistance policy has remained relatively stable and unchanged.The only developments that have emphatically found their way in have been ageing in society and the subsequent necessity to increase labour participation. Other developments, such as the out of date social assistance database, the difficult labour market position of older workers, and flexibility in the labour market have met with no, or hardly any, response in social assistance policy. The adaptation process of social assistance policy has run jerkily, with two distinct, major policy changes: the introduction of the New Social Assistance Act in 1995, and the introduction of the Work and Welfare Act in 2004. Both of these adaptations followed the more or less classic pattern of ‘critical junctures’: institutional friction arose, which was reflected in disappointing policy performance and increasing social unrest about mistakes made in the implementation process and large-scale fraud.That unrest, in turn, resulted in large-scale policy innovation; policy was subsequently renewed – not by gradual alterations in emphases, but by revising the outlines, principles and points of departure. The major changes introduced in both above-mentioned Acts were able to be implemented because there was, and still is, relatively great support in society for limiting the rights, and emphasising the duties, of those entitled to social assistance benefits.As mentioned, social assistance as a facility has not been up for discussion, but the ‘deservingness’ of its circle of recipients has been. The distinction between the ‘good’ of the existence of a safety net and the implicit notions of whether, or not, someone deserves a place in that net, began to play an increasingly important role during the period we investigated. Apart from this, part of the actually far-reaching policy changes was not presented as such; legitimacy is based on something else. In the case of the Work and Assistance Act, it was the effective strategy of what is referred to in the literature as ‘blame shifting’. By presenting the Act as primarily an organisational intervention in the distribution of responsibilities between the Government and the municipalities, and presenting the subsequent cutbacks on, for instance, subsidised work, as ‘choices’ made by the municipalities, it proved to be possible to implement this change without large-scale protest. There certainly was support, but it was for something other than these rather fundamental changes in policy. The municipalities which, as the ‘receiving party’ of the changed policy, naturally only had eyes for this aspect of the change, 175

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did put up a struggle, but they also regarded the increased autonomy and responsibility as an opportunity to enjoy greater leeway in policymaking. They therefore did realise how drastic the change was, not only where implementation was concerned, but also in terms of content, but they also saw new opportunities for a more local interpretation of what used to be a national policy. The greatest tension between the different components to which the policy might be responsive can be observed in the contrast between a group of people entitled to a benefit with an increasing level of needs – older people, and often those with a combination of needs, including mental health issues, the labour market that places increasingly high demands on people, and the great emphasis on outflow and vocational rehabilitation.The policy must deal with a target group that is, by nature, moving further away from the labour market – in a labour market which, due to major autonomous economic and social developments, has become increasingly less responsive to the groups that belong to the population of social assistance recipients.The two supportive arms that support the policy conflict with each other even more, even though some corrective steps have been taken in implementation in order to considerably lessen the gap on some issues. Labour migration policies in the Netherlands The inflow of workers from abroad to the Dutch labour market has been regulated by the Act on the Employment of Aliens since 1995. The admission policy that is thereby pursued is aimed at drawing in the desired groups of people as well as excluding those who are not eligible for work in the Netherlands. Furthermore, the Act tries to regulate work circumstances for foreign employees by combating illegality, but also by enhancing work opportunities for the workers who have been admitted. The Act thus functions as a valve for the labour market; it aims to protect vulnerable sectors and allow labour migration for others with ample employment opportunities. At first glance, the results of the Act are positive. The problem of illegality has been combated to a significant degree. Illegality still occurs in the Netherlands, but it has become a less prominent issue in comparison with the 1990s. The index numbers of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, the UWV Employment Insurance Agency and the Labour Inspectorate also show that enforcement has become more effective and that an increasing part of labour migration takes place according to the rules stipulated by the Act. At the same time, however, it is difficult to make an assessment based on this type of 176

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index numbers since they do, of course, not include the part of labour migration that does not comply with the Act.A very significant part of labour migration occurs out of the reach of the Act – certainly since the expansion of the European Union. This allows for the tentative conclusion that the Act has become more effective where its specific domain is concerned, but that in a practical sense the domain itself has become more limited. In other words, the performance of the Act has improved, but its scope has grown smaller. In the period that we researched, the policy has changed almost continuously. The Act is a ‘lively’ policy domain, in the sense that its arrangements have undergone various changes on an annual basis. As a rule, these changes came about by amending the opportunities for enforcement and inspection and/or the adding of special clauses. It has been enforcement and inspection that developed the policy. In that respect, an important and determining element in the performance of the Act has been the turn of events in enforcement. The Labour Inspectorate sees to it that the Act is complied with, and it did so with a continually increasing number of staff during the period we studied. The implementation of administrative enforcement, together with the possibility of imposing an administrative penalty and the introduction of the principle of vicarious liability, has enabled the Labour Inspectorate to take strong measures. The policy now makes itself truly felt by offenders, unlike in the early years when the Act was first introduced. The developments in the supervision of compliance have made the policy more powerful. This appears to result in effectiveness. It is also significant that in recent years the development of the policy has focused more on admitting the ‘right’ groups of workers.At the top of the labour market especially, the Act tries to lower considerably the thresholds for admission, or rather, the thresholds are high – allowing exceptionally qualified talent only – but as soon as that requirement has been met, the restrictions on admission should be as limited as possible. Wherever the Act tries to protect the Dutch labour supply at the bottom of the labour market against competition from abroad, it actually tries to entice and draw in the foreign supply at the top. The performance of the Act has become more two-sided in recent years. Although the Act applies to a specifically defined policy area – the position of foreign workers in the Dutch labour market – the analysis reveals that public preferences about the Act are much broader than that. The analysis of the discourse in the media shows, first, that the image is determined not so much by the outlines of the policy as by the exceptions. It sometimes involves heart-rending cases that evoke pleas for liberalisation, but sometimes it is actually the exceptions granted 177

The responsiveness of social policies in Europe

that are put up for discussion as ‘unreasonable’ examples.A second trend that becomes clear is that the discourse has broadened significantly from economic discourse about the workings of the labour market – with supporters and opponents of labour migration – to social and cultural discourse. It now revolves around issues such as the quality of life and cultural development, and labour migration has in some cases become part of the debate about the integration of minorities. The policy domain of labour migration has shifted towards migration and integration issues – not in a formal or legal sense, but rather from the perspective of discourse, symbolism and social debate.This implies that the scope of public preferences to be taken into account – that is, the left side of our triangle – has widened. This reinforces the challenge for responsive policies even more. As for the political debate, we found relatively little focus on labour migration in the election programmes. There seems to be a political consensus about the fact that the Dutch labour supply deserves some degree of protection. Likewise, there is little disagreement about the usefulness and necessity of talent from abroad, although some parties do comment that there is a danger of a ‘brain drain’ in the countries of origin. In political programmes it was noticeable that labour migration became a hot topic mainly when it touched upon other policy issues – for example on the questions of whether asylum seekers should be allowed to work while waiting for their decision, what the consequences are of the inflow of labourers from Central and Eastern European countries on the Dutch quality of life, or to what degree specific economic sectors (such as agriculture, horticulture and the building industry) were hampered by the Act. Labour migration only became a cause for concern if it touched upon a more politicised issue, although in that case it often concerned the relatively marginal phenomenon of labour migration. So again, what we see here is a widening of the scope of public preferences as articulated by political parties. The Act’s policy environment changed considerably during the period that we studied. The implementation rules and arrangements for overseeing compliance were adapted from the inside, partly due to content related modifications, such as the addition of exceptional rules or honing the interpretation of existing categories, but partly also with the objective of sharpening the set of instruments for enforcement. An example of this is the introduction of vicarious liability. Major developments have been taking place in the external environment, making the Act’s foundation increasingly unstable. The labour market has grown more international, and labour mobility has become more 178

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and more ‘common’.The expansion of the European Union, moreover, causes a large part of labour mobility to take place outside the scope of the employment permit. The Act thereby loses some of its strength to act as a valve on the labour market. The Act still swims with the tide of change, and relatively effectively so, but this does put the policy’s point of departure to the test. Thus, a picture emerges of a change process that greatly resembles what is referred to as ‘layering’ in the literature: policy changes due to small, periodic modifications that concern the fringes, or the implementation of the policy rather than its outlines. But cumulatively, the analysis shows, these relatively small changes have been quite drastic. They have accentuated the two-sided nature of the policy even more. Both outer extremities of the policy – selective at the bottom and open at the top of the labour market – are gradually moving further apart. In addition, the Act has come under pressure because of the significant group of labour migrants who no longer need an employment permit to work in the Netherlands. The Act is no longer the central gateway to the Dutch labour market. It now only regulates a limited part of labour migration and employment of foreigners in the Dutch labour market. Apart from the Act’s closely watched gateway, other routes through other regulations are wide open. The Act was extremely responsive during the period we studied. Public preferences and political priorities were relatively quickly and efficiently incorporated into the policy. At the same time, the tension between the various logics became clear. This comes to the fore most strongly in the tension between the ‘open’ European labour market, resulting from new member states joining the European Union, and the social anxiety that the Dutch labour market will be ‘swarmed’ by Poles, Romanians and Bulgarians.Technical alterations have been able to incorporate many of the changes in the existing policy, often in the implementation arrangements and enforcement of the Act. The professionalism of the organisations that have been actively involved in this, strongly contributed to the responsiveness of the policy. Since they dealt with the policy with resilience, they managed to reinterpret and give a new meaning to the changeable circumstances and directions. In that sense, the Act is a successful example of policy that is responsive to the beliefs in society and the changing contours of problems. At the same time, the case makes clear how tense the relationship between the different components of the responsiveness triangle can be. In case of the Act, for instance, there has been much debate about the exceptions that might be needed, the robustness of sanctions, the sectors that require more leniencies, and the rigidity of the assessment for the top of the 179

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labour market. This shows that the voices to which the Act should be responsive differ widely. Sheltered work policies in the Netherlands As regards the case of sheltered work, we concluded that there have been three main ways of reasoning at play in the formal development of the Sheltered Employment Act: (1) only those who ‘truly’ belong there are admitted to sheltered employment; (2)  an increased focus on working for a normal employer; and (3) transfer of responsibilities from central government to the municipalities. Where the implementation and performance of the policy are concerned, various problems and reasons for dissatisfaction have been found. The volume of the SWA population continues to increase, the waiting list keeps growing longer, waiting times remain too long, the instrument for supported working is inadequately used, and there is insufficient outflow. The Act, these observations suggest, does not seem to have the correct incentives to realise its objectives.The policy still attracts too many new applicants and it retains people instead of encouraging them to work in normal employment. In practice, the policy only partly achieves its own goals. The Act’s policy performs mainly outside the spotlight.The media pay relatively little attention to the Act, and the reports that are published often entail reactions to plans and initiatives of the Ministry. When it comes to this Act, the media give little attention to its agenda; there is hardly any social debate about its objectives, design and implementation. In political debate there is more emphasis on the Act’s policy with ever growing, criticism of the Act as a regulatory scheme. Currently, pleas can be heard for the streamlining or merging of the different regulations for ‘the bottom of the labour market’.The collective labour agreement and the associated wages are also at issue.There is still wide support for sheltered work, but the way it is interpreted and organised is criticised. It is still unclear as to what the population’s exact beliefs about the regulations are. Research does not reveal clear development in the beliefs of Dutch people.They regard the people who are entitled to sheltered employment as an ‘endearing’ group that first and foremost deserve their support and are often not taken seriously. Employers hesitate to employ disabled workers, partly due to existing ideas about disabled workers in general and sheltered workers in particular. Disabled workers are viewed as a group that need protection and rightly so – they deserve ‘our support’ – but at the same time this means that, even

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with supervision and support, businesses are hardly inclined to take on sheltered workers and encourage outflow. In the development of the Act, the internal developments, within the policy system itself, were important. On the one hand, participation became an important general policy objective and, on the other hand, the wish for control became an increasingly great ambition.This was set against a background of external developments, in which the following three developments in particular determined the Act’s development: (1) the social desire (primarily from within the field itself) to include disabled workers in society and so, ideally, have them work for a normal employer; (2) a declining labour market position for disabled workers due to the increasing importance of competences as well as the competition of workers from Eastern Europe at the bottom of the labour market; and (3) a pool of disabled workers with a higher level of needs, especially due to a rise in the number of people with a severe and mental disability and the increasing average age. The Act’s policy change, that occurred in the period researched, may primarily be referred to as a process of layering, in which new elements are continuously added to the existing institution (see paragraph 3.2). For instance, during the 15 years that we studied, various elements were added to the Act, such as the introduction of supported work, the expansion of the opportunities to use supported work, and the deployment of wage subsidies and no-risk policies for employees. New additional instruments were continually sought to reinforce the outflow of disabled workers. As indicated in Chapter  Three, this process of layering may eventually result in fundamental changes. The Sheltered Employment Act is a good example. By adding the elements that we mentioned, the emphasis within the scheme has shifted to vocational rehabilitation and outflow to normal employers; the Act has become less of a sheltered provision, and more of a system that aims at the economic and social development of people. The policy has continually tried to respond to developments within the policy system and to changing circumstances. That responsiveness was encouraged by the proper monitoring of results and implementation by the Government. Policy makers knew relatively quickly and adequately what the policy’s results were. During the years that we studied, this offered the necessary policy information and evidence, which could act as a basis for alterations and adjustments. In many cases, these adjustments were aimed at measures to improve the outflow towards normal jobs. In Chapter Six, however, we saw that this was an extremely difficult task. The factors that hindered the responsiveness of the policy were: (1) the ‘endearing’ nature of the target 181

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group; politicians do not want to burn their fingers on the scheme; and (2) the rights acquired by the workers involved, as laid down in a collective agreement so that they are not enticed to seek a normal job and do not want the scheme to change. Such factors do not mean that adjustment is impossible, but the costs of that adjustment will be higher; politicians run political risks, and the legal status of the workers involved may not be carved in stone, but it cannot be changed easily or without great expense. Provisional conclusion Table 7.1 provides an overview of the central concepts in the conceptual model for each of the cases we studied.The condensed discussion of the three cases above primarily emphasises how varied the developments in the cases were. Again and again it is striking how difficult it is to make comparisons for this type of institution between cases or countries, due to the great number of variables that affect them (see also, for instance, Helderman, 2007). Each case has its own ‘story’, shaped by a unique combination of factors and actors, political considerations and external developments. Table 7.1 primarily illustrates the differences between cases, but it also reveals that the conceptual model developed does properly ‘catch’ the dissimilarity between the cases in umbrella concepts. We address the conclusions that can be drawn, based on this comparison, having compared the lessons from the Dutch cases with some of the European trends that we described in our case chapters.

Policy responsiveness at the European level In the previous section we discussed some insights that we obtained from the comparative case analysis in the Netherlands. In this section we will, tentatively, try to draw some lessons from the cases from a European perspective. The basis for this analysis is a short summary of the most important variables in each of the cases at the European level. As we have seen in Chapters Four, Five and Six, a great deal of variety can be observed throughout Europe in the design of each of the policy domains that we investigated. Moreover, we observed a lack of data and descriptions that enable comparative analysis in these domains. A common framework with which national policies are described is lacking. Most of the international comparative material – if available – comes from edited volumes that still demonstrate a wide variety in the variables that are analysed.We feel that the ‘responsiveness’ framework

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–– Declining volume. –– Declining inflow. –– Limited outflow via rehabilitation.

–– Activation. –– Outflow. –– Encouragement of municipalities. –– Limitation to inflow.

Social assistance policy

Public preferences Development of views in –– Worries about the media implementation. –– Focus on fraud. –– Attention is partly agenda setting. Developments in politics –– Emphasis on outflow and participation.

Policy implementation and performance

Policy development Formal policy changes

–– Individual cases are mediatized, although hardly representative for the issue as a whole. –– Some attention for social unrest caused by concentrations of low-skilled workers from CEE countries. –– Surprisingly little attention in politics. Parliament tied up with peripheral debates.

–– Enhanced selectivity of migration: open to ‘knowledge migration’ and restrictive regime towards low-skilled labour. –– Effective enforcement. –– Policy adapted to fit in with overarching EU migration policy. –– Increased discretionary power in executive agency and inspectorate. –– Policy is ‘made’ with many exemptions. –– Administrative fine strengthens enforcement.

Labour migration policy

Table 7.1: Comparison of the cases in the Netherlands

–– Increased criticism of the Act as a scheme (continued)

–– Limited attention in media. –– Focus mainly on policy initiatives.

–– Inflow only for those people who really belong there. –– More responsibility for municipalities. –– More emphasis on working for a normal employer. –– Increasing volume. –– Long waiting list and waiting time. –– Limited use of supported work. –– Limited outflow.

Sheltered employment policy

Conclusions: the responsiveness of social policies in three domains

183

184

Social assistance policy Labour migration policy Public preferences (continued) Development of public –– Doubts as to ‘deservingness’ –– The scheme has become interlaced with the opinion –– Anyone who is able to work general purport around migration. must work –– Influx is an issue, although often confused with –– Respect for ‘real’ cases permanent residence. –– Popular support for more selective migration. Development of the socioeconomic environment Internal –– Need for participation due –– Economic crisis and prospect of ageing: mixed to ageing. signals and diverse prospects for the domestic –– Volatile labour market. labour market. –– Increasing level of –– Little labour needed in the short term and knowledge. urgency for more protectionist policy (economic crisis), while strong need for high- and low-skilled labour in the longer term (ageing). –– Structural economic change decreases demand for low-skilled labour, while knowledge economy requires high-skilled workers. External –– Higher demands on –– Economic crisis influences international migration individuals. flows. –– Ageing of those entitled. –– Internationalisation and further European –– Culmination of problems of integration. those entitled. –– ‘Struggle for talent’ and inviting migration policy for high-skilled labour from inside and outside EU.

Table 7.1: Comparison of the cases in the Netherlands (continued)

(continued)

–– The wish to include disabled workers. –– Declining labour market position. –– Pool of workers with greater level of needs.

–– Participation objective. –– Controllability of the system.

–– Highly endearing nature and deservingness. –– Limited social acceptance of disabled people.

Sheltered employment policy

The responsiveness of social policies in Europe

Characteristic tensions

Limiting factors

Stimulating factors

Responsiveness Characteristics of change process

Labour migration policy

–– Layering and gradual split; the different pathways in the scheme are slowly diverging, while the policies are gradually changing shape in small incremental steps. –– Support for ‘strict’ approach. –– Labour market demands labour and is generally –– Political strategy of ‘blame supportive of policy. shifting’. –– Implementation arrangement is resilient and professional. –– Municipalities’ position of –– EU policy greatly limits the scope of national power. migration policy. –– Policy is overarched by debates about general migration and permanent residence. –– Highly ambitious but –– Two sided policy and divergent calls on policy: increasing disappointment inviting and open, but also selective and about the achievements of restrictive. rehabilitation. –– Policy made and changed in implementation; practical successes but possible political gaps.

–– Jerkily, ‘critical junctures’.

Social assistance policy

Table 7.1: Comparison of the cases in the Netherlands (continued)

–– Tension between outflow targets and labour market opportunities for the target group.

–– ‘Deservingness’ of the target group. –– Acquired rights.

–– Long time of stability before somewhat larger but careful changes. –– Layering. –– Proper monitoring.

Sheltered employment policy

Conclusions: the responsiveness of social policies in three domains

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introduced in this book may be of use in offering a common framework for in-depth country studies of institutional development. Against this background we can, however, tentatively identify some challenges and trends with which the different regimes are confronted. Table 7.2 shows very briefly the most important trends at the European level in each of the cases. For the case of social assistance in a comparative perspective, it appears that in Europe two distinct trends may be identified, which to a large extent depend on the level of social protection in different countries. A first group of countries can be observed to strive for an extension of minimum income protection. In the context of the current economic crisis, this leads to a remarkable tension: on the one hand there are worries about the financial sustainability of an extensive minimum income protection scheme; on the other hand the need for social protection has increased. There is a second group of countries that struggle with the unintended consequences of minimum income protection: the fact that some citizens rather rely on social assistance benefits than accept a job.All kinds of initiatives have been developed to activate this group, including work first or welfare-to-work approaches. From the little comparative data that are available – most of which were discussed in Chapter Two – we do not observe many barriers to reform in this case. Neither the path-dependent design of the policies nor public preferences seem to have affected the reform processes very much. However, the biggest challenge for reform is how to synthesise the wish for a more activating system of minimum income protection with the reality of a more competitive labour market and the lack of cognitive and social skills of many people living on a minimum income protection scheme. The case of labour migration involves dynamics at different levels. At the EU level, policy was developed strongly towards harmonisation and further integration. Internal labour migration was opened up completely for EU member states, but attempts to further harmonise immigration laws for non-EU members were put up for debate. Furthermore, policy in different member states has diversified. Countries have policies ranging from restrictive to accommodating and focused from low-skilled workers to high-skilled workers. Policies to strengthen the economy in the longer term often aim to attract high-skilled workers and enable permanent residence. Policies that aim to solve labour shortages, often caused by conjectural development, are generally focused on the shorter term and on low-skilled seasonal workers. These workers are not encouraged to become permanent

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Public preferences Developments in politics

Policy development Direction of policy change

–– No data at the European level.

–– Austerity and cutbacks (all European countries). –– Extending coverage and combating social exclusion (Southern and Eastern Europe). –– Limiting coverage to prevent long-term or permanent benefit dependency (other parts of Europe).

Social assistance policy

Table 7.2: General trends in Europe

–– Rise of populist sentiments and resentment of migration in general, which also decreases support for labour migration. –– Hardly any space to move around EU policy.

–– Harmonisation of domestic policy with dominant EU regulation on labour migration between member states. –– Most Northern and Western European economies deploy more stringent and selective migration policies for low-skilled labour, while adopting more accommodating and restrictive policy for low-skilled workers. –– Economic crisis draws new attention to labour migration policy, as migration is used as a valve to relieve the domestic labour market.

Labour migration policies

(continued)

–– Inclusion of disabled people high on the political agenda because of EU policies.

–– Cutbacks and austerity. –– More positive effects for disabled people. –– More attention for the ‘disabling environment’. –– From compensation to integration. –– Diverse trends in sheltered employment: decrease in some countries, increase in others.

Sheltered employment policy

Conclusions: the responsiveness of social policies in three domains

187

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–– In general support for minimum income scheme, but concerns about targeting.

Social assistance policy

Sheltered employment policy

(continued)

–– Economic crisis: more unemployment of disabled people. –– Ageing of society: in the future disabled people are needed as employees.

–– No European data. In the Netherlands sheltered work facilities have a group of clients with a higher level of needs to serve.

–– Varied opinions about low-skilled –– Sheltered employment is labour and the fear of losing increasingly criticised. domestic jobs, especially in the –– Double perspective: on the face of economic crisis. one hand claim for inclusion of disabled people; on the other hand still stigmatisation of disabled people.

Labour migration policies

Development of the socioeconomic environment –– No European data available. Internal –– No European data available. In –– Varying conditions on the the Netherlands: average level domestic labour markets of of people on social assistance European countries. decreases, as better skilled and better motivated have been ‘forced’ into employment. External –– Economic crisis: increasing –– Economic crisis: strong incentive demands for social assistance to protect domestic workers due to increasing unemployment. and reduce openness for foreign –– Ambitious EU 2020 goals. labour. –– Also: importance of sustainable growth and answer to ageing society, for which migration may be an opportunity.

Public preferences (continued) Development of public opinion

Table 7.2: General trends in Europe (continued)

The responsiveness of social policies in Europe

Characteristic tensions

Responsiveness Characteristics of change process

–– Possibilities for reintegration limited; ambitions high. –– Reality requires scheme for poverty reduction; mostdeveloped welfare regimes aim for reintegration.

Sheltered employment policy

–– Varies per country but in general sheltered employment does not seem to receive much attention and does not respond much. Very few countries report great changes in their sheltered work facilities. –– A valve for the domestic labour –– Tension between austerity and care. market, that is both restrictive –– Tension between ideology and and accommodating. reality: ideology asks for more –– Tension between EU project and inclusion of disabled people, lower national/domestic interests: valve costs for governments and a function of national migration greater involvement of employers. policy is overhauled by EU policy In reality inclusion of disabled that allows for free movement people in employment remains between member states, problematic. including CEE states.

Labour migration policies

–– Varies per country but in general –– Varies per county, but in not much resistance. general labour migration is not a prominent issue. Permanent residence is more of a problem.

Social assistance policy

Table 7.2: General trends in Europe (continued)

Conclusions: the responsiveness of social policies in three domains

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residents as their positions are directly related to the conjectural issues of the time. Labour migration policy in EU member states has become more restrictive, to protect the domestic labour market. Labour migration policy became an instrument for domestic labour market policy. In order to stimulate, support or protect the domestic labour market, policy became more accommodating for high-skilled workers and more restrictive towards low-skilled workers. In general, labour migration policy of member states became more selective in its position towards labour migration: in general, selective means restrictive for low-skilled labour and accommodating for high-skilled workers. As a result, the gap in policy towards both ends of the labour migration spectrum widened greatly. Low-skilled labour faces ever more restrictive policy, while countries are keen to accommodate the easy entry of high-skilled labour. The single labour migration policy has in effect split into two different schemes. In addition, worsening economic conditions and a problematic domestic labour market led to an increased demand by member states to regain some autonomy over labour migration. Meanwhile, however, EU policy moves towards further harmonising of labour market policy, including labour migration and if possible even permanent residence. This is understandable, from a long-term perspective and in light of the structural challenges the EU faces. In view of the upcoming consequences of population ageing and of the need to further strengthen the European knowledge economy, there is a long-term need for migration. In the case of sheltered work policies countries show different developments: some have extended their sheltered employment facilities while others have decreased sheltered employment. European countries share many developments in the different logics. The most important developments are: the current economic crisis, the ageing of the labour market, the demand for the inclusion of disabled people, the stigmatisation of disabled people and austerity measures by the government. This results in a tension between austerity and care. Summarising these developments, it seems that three objectives are important for the future of European sheltered work policies: (1) The inclusion of disabled people; (2) low costs; and (3) responsibility for employers. Our analysis showed that it is mainly the current policy content that explains the ‘need to change’ in order to achieve these objectives. It also showed that there are various factors hindering the desired change. In particular, the reality whereby disabled people are

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still stigmatised and jobs become scarce due to the crisis hinders their inclusion in society. Building upon the comparative case descriptions, several tentative insights about the responsiveness of social policies across Europe may be developed. First, the growing global and European interdependencies and interconnectivity lead to several convergent trends in the three policy domains (see Fenger and Bekkers, 2012).This is reinforced by the European Union’s ambitions in the context of the EU 2020 Strategy document, most notably the ambitions of sustainable and inclusive growth in Europe. Moreover, the current economic crisis has an impact on all European member states. The long-term consequences of this crisis will probably include a further increase in supranational decision making on national budgets, which will decrease national autonomy even further. But against the background of these important convergent trends, we do not only see convergence in national policies in the three policy domains. Many European countries have adapted some of their policies to the trends we have identified, but national differences seem to persist in all three policy domains. Many authors accentuate the importance of institutional path dependency for welfare state change (see, most notably, Pierson, 2000, 2001; see also Ebbinghaus, 2005). This implies that welfare regimes may develop regime specific solutions for the similar challenges that we have identified. But however strong and convincing path dependency theories may be, we found numerous examples in our case studies of off-path change as well: either direct, through critical junctures, or indirect, through processes of gradual evolution. Earlier in the chapter we introduced the concept of a ‘dynamic equilibrium’ to capture the volatility of institutions that appeared from our case studies. This therefore suggests the idea of lock-in and path dependency, but leaves us with the observation that regime specific answers to similar environmental challenges persist. The explanation that we explore in this section takes the ambiguity of the trends and developments as a starting point. In all cases we observed divergent and sometimes even incompatible trends. For instance, in the area of sheltered work we saw increasing pressure for the inclusion of disabled people in the normal labour market, whereas the clients who are entitled to sheltered work have increasingly severe disabilities, which limits their employability in the normal labour market.Virtually the same holds true for social assistance. In this case the competition at the bottom of the labour market from highly motivated workers from Central and Eastern Europe appears to limit the labour market possibilities for unemployed national residents. 191

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Many other examples may be given. The basic idea, however, is that both within and between the three different logics of responsiveness, divergent and even incompatible trends have occurred. Therefore, the concept of responsiveness not only concerns being responsive to changing environments; it also involves processes of ‘making sense’ and selection. Which trends are important enough to respond to, which other trends may be ignored? What possibilities are there to respond to trends, or what factors limit the possibilities for being responsive? So the concept of responsiveness not only has a dimension of ‘institutional fit’, it also has a cultural, or even social constructivist dimension. Our tentative hypothesis is that trends that challenge the institutional system are translated and prioritised – consciously or unconsciously – in regime specific ways. So regimes do not only shape the future development of social policies through the sunk costs or increasing returns that we know from path dependency theory, they also shape the challenges to which social policies should respond (see Pfau-Effinger, 2005). What is interesting from the comparative analysis is that – at least for some of the domains we studied in some countries – the direction of development seems to be quite clear. So the regime specific processes of making sense and selection lead to outcomes that give direction to the future development of the domain.This may be a path-dependent development, but it can also concern path departures. However, institutional factors affect the extent to which this direction can be implemented and its timing.Vested interests, political strategy or public preferences may (temporarily) block the implementation of a selected path of development. In various cases, however, we observed that this does not lead to the development of an alternative trajectory of development. The mode of institutional change may alter, or change may be put on hold for some time, but when a course of action has been chosen that seems to fit within the institutional logic, the socioeconomic logic and the logic of public preferences, this course of action is pursued consistently. In many European countries, this process is recognisable beyond the domains we have studied in this book, like reforms in the housing market or pension age reforms. What we theoretically learn from this comparative analysis is that the impact of institutional factors stretches beyond the traditional path dependency explanations like ‘increasing returns’ or ‘sunk costs’. It also affects the ways in which governments respond to changes in the environment, and may create barriers to the implementation of path-dependent as well as ‘off-path’ changes. There is no institutional imperative for responsiveness, but neither do policy makers have a free 192

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choice between all possible alternatives. Responsiveness is limited by the institutional design of policies and welfare regimes. Therefore, a more flexible and open design of policies may facilitate the responsiveness to dynamic and challenging environments. Our final section thus deals with the opportunities to create ‘resilient’ social policies in Europe.

Explaining the responsiveness of social policy: conclusions The case comparison both in the Netherlands and, in a more abstract way, at the European level, illustrates the complexity of the process of responsiveness. We use the tensions and complexity that we found to draw a number of conclusions here, which throw new light on the issue of responsive social policies and, more generally, the development of social policies in modern welfare states. A first conclusion as to the responsiveness of socially policy hardly needs any further explanation: policy systems do not operate in a vacuum, but more or less continually hover between public preferences, social-economic and social-cultural developments and the path dependencies and ideologies that are ingrained in the system. This results in a virtually continuous flow of small or large changes. The social problems that the policy systems that we studied wished to tackle were tenacious and complex. Definitive solutions could not be found for any of the cases in the period we studied. What remained were policy systems that were continually in a state of adjustment. The degree to which the case policies responded, and the manner and directions in which they did, varied, but each of the cases contradicted the representation of social policy as an isolated – Hogwood and Peters (1987) would perhaps even call it ‘autistic’ – system. Developments in the environment were hardly ever ignored in the cases we studied. More often we observed attempts to combat the developments or to make the system ‘robust’ – regardless of the trends in public preferences or socioeconomic conditions. This leads to an image of institutional development as a dynamic equilibrium, much more than as a lockedin path. This resembles the ideas Wolfgang Streeck developed in his Re-Forming Capitalism (2009). This perception of institutions as dynamic equilibriums reinforces the importance of the triangle of responsiveness that was developed in Chapter Three.The case studies at the Dutch level as well as from a European perspective gave these tensions more detail. For example, we found that these logics only rarely pointed in the same direction. We also found a high degree of heterogeneity within each of these logics. 193

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Responsiveness, therefore, does not only revolve around responding to changing circumstances, but far more around identifying , and dealing with, mutually and internally conflicting logics. This proved to be rather complex; there were many ‘developments’ and they were not unambiguous. In the case of labour migration policies, we saw clearly the tension between public opinion, which is reticent about the employment of workers from the new EU member states, particularly from Poland, Romania and Bulgaria, and the reality of European legislation and labour market policy. In the case of the participation of disabled workers, we also saw how sheltered employment was struggling with the differing points of departure existing within the sector (useful daily activities versus preparation for normal employment) and the social-economic reality of increasingly few vacancies for the lower educated, and unwilling employers.The same process could, to a certain extent, be seen in the social assistance case, where many efforts were aimed at the vocational rehabilitation of ‘hard core’ recipients, but where their chances of success were rather slim – as reality showed.This all took place against the background of increasing heterogeneity and variety in contemporary society. We have now empirically confirmed that the supposed tensions actually do occur and that they do affect the institutional development of the policy fields that we investigated. More specifically, it appears that the policy domains we analysed struggle with the tensions between public preferences, system logic and socioeconomic conditions, but also within these logics. In the Dutch social assistance case, the introduction of both the New Social Assistance Act and the Work and Welfare Act did justice to public preferences that benefit recipients could be dealt with more firmly and to the logic of the policy system, which was aimed at cutting back expenses and increasing labour participation. The reality of a continuously greater distance between the hard core of benefit recipients and the labour market, the few opportunities in the labour market for older employees, the issue of the labour market becoming more flexible, and the ‘leak’ from social assistance to other benefits are not, or hardly, considered.We can also observe this tension at the European level, in which the aim to establish an inclusive society in the context of the EU’s 2020 strategy conflicts with the reality of an increasingly deep crisis in Europe since 2008. In the case of labour participation by disabled workers, we saw relative calm in the area of public preferences which, at first glance, were reflected in the policy’s development. However, through a gradual process of budget financing and privatisation, a sheltered work system developed which focused more and more on outflow.This system has done justice to the social development of including disabled people and 194

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the necessity of increasing labour participation with a view to the ageing of society, but these are merely a sample of the relevant developments. In the instruments pertaining to foreigners in the labour market the same process was reflected; policy followed developments and was honed on the basis of what the policy maker observed in the environment, but these observations were rather selective. Some developments were given ample attention, whereas others were ignored. The benefits of admitting ‘talented’ workers were assumed relatively easily, whereas the use and necessity of the inflow at the bottom of the labour market had meanwhile been strongly doubted. In short, what is striking in the analysis of these three cases is – apart from a considerable degree of responsiveness – the tendency to underestimate the importance of developments that rendered the policy issue more complex. From this research we cannot answer the question of whether this happened for political-strategic reasons, or whether it was more a matter of pragmatic motives. In the first case, politicians would consciously choose to selectively ‘shop around’ in the complexity of the issues; in the second, the issue would be turned into something more manageable and orderly for the purpose of progress, clarity and policy performance. However, in both instances the performance of the policies is undermined. A conclusion that is not primarily related to the tensions in the responsiveness triangle concerns the volatility of systems’ boundaries. Many institutional theories seem to start from a perspective of a fixed – but dynamic – institutional environment. But in this study we also saw that responsiveness was regularly accomplished by stretching the systems’ boundaries. Normative discussions in associated policy domains exerted influence on the policy domains we studied. For example, the housing situation of the Polish – who, on the grounds of the Act on the Employment of Aliens were working legally – called into question the performance and legitimacy of that Act as a regulatory instrument. Another example is how the privately initiated food banks led to a debate about the performance of the Social Assistance Act.This ‘import’ of normative discussions from other policy areas was responsible for a considerably part of the policy changes that we found. It showed us the fluid boundaries of the, at first glance, pretty well defined policy domains. Finally, what is remarkable within the system logic is that a large part of the policy changes that we observed was aimed at optimising policy systems in a context of policy performance that had been disappointing for quite some time. As was to be expected, change strategies of policy maintenance and succession were implemented 195

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quite often, whereas policy innovations were a rarity. That is no more than what would logically be expected. It is also the way it should be; no one wants a welfare state that is in a permanent state of innovation. Policy maintenance and succession are change strategies that stay on the same ‘path’, a path that, however, has been demonstrated over a usually longer period of time, not to be the solution to the relevant social issue. In the Dutch cases we can observe this, for instance, in the area of social assistance. This policy domain covers a considerable cluster of policy changes aimed at optimising the sustained outflow from additional labour in the public sector or subsidised work. A large number of changes in that same social assistance are, moreover, aimed at the organisation of the vocational rehabilitation role, for instance through mandatory procurement from one supplier and mandatory outsourcing. Disappointing performance of the system is dealt with and ‘solved’ by honing the instruments that are already in place within the same system.Where, on the one hand, the policy can be considered to be highly responsive to developments and voices from inside and out, it is, on the other hand, also somewhat imperturbable; it continues on the road it has taken, even if it is paved with criticism and shortcomings. Explaining responsiveness On the grounds of the case studies, three important factors can be identified that exert influence on the degree of responsiveness: (1)  established interests; (2)  the perception of the target group’s ‘deservingness’; and (3) political strategies. We will elaborate on these factors. As regards the first group of factors, it was emphasised in the case studies, and particularly in the interviews we conducted, to what extent established interests can set limitations on the responsiveness of policy. This is partly due to these established interests being able to stand up against the practical implementation of changes, but also especially to their strong and, in many cases, institutionalised voice in calling attention to, and the consideration of,‘developments’.A typical example is the position of workers in the sheltered work sector. The rights that the workers acquired in this sector – through a collective labour agreement – have, to a certain extent, been obstructing a radical revision. In the employment scheme for foreign nationals, we also noticed that employers wanting to hire foreign workers in some sectors succeeded in negotiating exceptional rules, whereas others could not. Once the exceptions were established, they were very hard to reverse. The development of policy is thus strongly determined by what is already 196

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‘in place’, although responsiveness implies that it should also revolve around the question of how existing institutions may be adjusted to changing circumstances. Established interests obscure responsiveness; they do not obstruct it, but they do colour and affect it. The second group of factors that exert influence on responsiveness concern the ‘deservingness’ of the target group. Social assistance and other forms of support must, in the eyes of the public, be ‘deserved’, and society has strong, but also widely different, views on this. In various interviews, the respondents mentioned the ‘endearing nature’ of the workers in sheltered employment. This had led to a great sense of ‘deservingness’. That might sound patronising, but to our respondents this was a key explanation for the relative stability in this sector. Although the target group has not benefited from it directly, the provision has been maintained for them in a way that would be unthinkable in other areas of social policy. We also observed this phenomenon in the opposite sense: in various questions in Parliament, a contrast has been created between ‘the hard-working Dutch person’ and social assistance recipients, who get all sorts of ‘gifts’ like flat screen televisions, driving licences and long-term leave.The image of support for people who do not deserve it dominates. The ‘underservingness’ of the target group in this matter makes it easier to propose radical changes and is also utilised politically in some cases.We are not, please let it be clear, making any empirical observations here about who does and who does not deserve support and protection, but we have detected that this has become the track along which the social policy battle is fought.This came to the fore in all the cases, thereby revealing the policy struggle with this phenomenon, which is difficult to grasp. Third, the importance of political strategies to the responsiveness of policy is striking.The work by Pierson (1994), to which Chapter Three referred extensively, showed this to be still very relevant to our times. Apart from the problem in the field, be it empirically or actually, the way in which politicians present and underpin their changes makes all the difference for the successful change of policy. Political strategy matters and, therefore, politicians do too.The strategy of ‘blame shifting’ in the social assistance case allowed for the introduction of the Work and Welfare Act and the associated far reaching cutbacks. By presenting the changes not primarily as a political change in priorities but rather as a technical intervention in implementation, room for change was created. In both the Sheltered Employment Act and the Act on the Employment of Aliens it was more of a case of layering: increasingly small interventions that add up to fundamental changes.There seemed to be no ‘metastrategy’ behind this; small steps just seemed to be 197

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preferred, as they had more chance of succeeding – even if, meanwhile, in the domains of both Acts, it would have been quite conceivable and defendable to explore more drastic policy changes based on the changed circumstances. This conclusion should not be taken as our plea for drastic changes either, but simply as an observation of the political preference for small interventions where other options would have been feasible too – and that this strategy – explicit or not – seems to have worked relatively well in the cases we studied. With these three factors we have not fully clarified the degree or interpretation of responsiveness in the three cases, but we have identified three key factors that played an important role.

The design of responsive social policy: lessons for resilience In this study, we have extensively reported our empirical search for the responsiveness of social policy. The study has made clear that the road to responsiveness is paved with tensions and dilemmas. Given these tensions and dilemmas, in these final paragraphs we formulate some lessons that might contribute to the design of resilient social policies that are better equipped to deal with the increasing tensions and challenges in the economic crisis that currently affects all European welfare states. For this purpose, we will formulate four lessons for sustainable social policy in this section: 1. embrace rather than combat the complexity of policy issues in the social domain; 2. anticipate the reflexivity of society; 3. acknowledge the heterogeneity in society; 4. create a sense of ownership among citizens for social policies. Lesson 1: Embrace complexity Evidently, the world is ‘complex’.This is the opening line of many policy papers and/or academic discourses. Nevertheless, at the same time, we read few policy papers that actually acknowledge this complexity in its full meaning. The complexity is usually underestimated. In our view, complexity refers to the great number of actors and processes in a system which are also mutually intertwined. This leads to an almost fundamental unknowability of the system. Complexity is often regarded as a precondition that makes policy more difficult. Sometimes we see the opposite happening: reference to often even ‘growing’ complexity is 198

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then the prelude to a discourse which puts the policy into perspective and in the main suggests the impossibility and, in fact, uselessness of intervention by the government. We would like to regard complexity as a reason for seeking a different kind of policy repertoire. In the cases that have been discussed in this book the complexity of the problems was essentially underestimated. Good intentions did not cause any major mishaps, at least not in the cases that we studied. Policy does not always work, but it is going too far to say that it makes problems worse or creates new problems that would not have arisen without that policy. The picture drawn by Engbersen (2009) of ‘fatal remedies’, for instance, is in our view taking things too far, but the underestimation of complexity can be traced in the issues of the participation of disabled workers as well as in balancing the labour market through labour migration regulations and the outflow of longterm social assistance recipients. These are, as famously typified by Rittel and Webber (1973),‘wicked problems’ or untameable problems. A characteristic of these types of problems is that there are no simple solutions for them. Furthermore, there is no solution at all, otherwise the problem would have already disappeared. What does it mean if such complexity turns from an obstructing precondition into a policy’s point of departure? In each of the cases we could observe to what extent the Government struggled with the complexity of processes in society.The complexity is caused by the rigmarole of chains of cause and effect, the multitude of actors and the widely varying beliefs, interests and preferences. We saw that attempts to reflect this complexity and follow it in laws and legislation did in some cases lead to an almost continual flow of policy changes, without gaining more hold on the processes.We still observed a persistent belief in the existence of an effective solution in the policy domains concerned. That belief rarely materialised in the shape of instruments that were incorporated into the laws and legislation. The fact that results remained forthcoming was not ascribed to the complexity of the problems, but to failing implementation or poor organisation.The complexity of the issue and the environment became secondary to the implementation and organisation of the solution: since the problem was supposed to be solvable – was not allowed to be unsolvable – every setback was automatically a consequence of an incorrectly implemented solution. Intensifying the instruments and optimising the implementation organisations were the next strategies to be used in order to solve the problem.This process continued, and the policy expanded.Through more refined diagnostics, new target groups for the policy were ‘discovered’, again requiring the development of 199

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new interventions. Trommel (2009) showed us superbly that, at this juncture, the goals regarding the solution of social problems are merely increasing. ‘New welfare’ causes the work field to shift further from compensation of social risks to prevention of social risks. We referred to Jessop’s diagnosis of the ‘late modern probability of administrative failure’ (see Trommel, 2009) in Chapter Three for good reason. Van Eeten (2010) took it even further when he asked the question as to how a political-administrative system performs, which cannot acknowledge its own powerlessness and does not want to set limits to the ambitions that its environment sets. He himself also answered the question: ‘it becomes greedy, pushy, interfering, and totalitarian’ (Van Eeten, 2010:5). In answer to that, he argued that citizens may well be sensitive to indications that emphasise limited possibilities, conflicting developments and opposing beliefs. He claimed that we often: think that voters have outspoken and clear emotions when it comes to political issues. But Westen claims that voters usually have conflicting feelings, and that ambivalence is the standard, rather than the exception. Powerful messages do in fact make the conflicting feelings explicit. They are then connected with one another by means of a principle and translated into a political stand (Van Eeten, 2010: 26). Identifying the conflicting interest, accepting failure, emphasising complexity, and predicting uncertain outcomes are all communicative strategies that do this justice. The acknowledgement of modest ambitions, or the acknowledgement of powerlessness, does not necessarily lead to powerlessness and passivity,Van Eeten claimed.The acknowledgement of powerlessness does in fact create the possibility to act. If we apply these insights to the development of resilient and sustainable social policies in Europe, we can, for example, state that the acknowledgement that a considerable proportion of the employees in the sheltered employment sector will not be able to transfer to a normal employer creates a new perspective on the future of that sector. This takes away part of the solubility, but – paradoxically – it does create ample room for other solutions and directions. Only if we acknowledge that many employees in sheltered employment will probably never work in a normal job will we have space to think about the best content and organisation of their sheltered jobs and whatever is necessary to support this target group›s quality of life. Letting go of the urge to solve unsolvable issues does, moreover, release resources. 200

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These can be considered as cutbacks, but they can also be deployed for different social policy, be it for the same or another target group. The same applies to acknowledging the multiple needs – mental, financial, physical, and cognitive – of the hard core of social assistance recipients. This acknowledgement, which effectively means dropping the crude reasoning that this group should be led back to work in giant steps, clears the way for tailored arrangements. Acknowledgement of the unsolvability of part of the issue thus helps the creation of a new perspective for policy for the relevant target group. The reasoning above underlines the importance of a policy system that does not ‘fight’ against complexity, but acknowledges and embraces it to a certain extent. Although there are no instruction manuals for the development of policy systems that acknowledge complexity, we can distil a number of development directions from both the cases that we studied and the growing stream of literature about the steering of complex social systems (see for instance Teisman et  al, 2009). A characteristic of complex problems is that we do not know precisely what works, but generations of complexity research and practical experience have provided us with a number of models that improve the chances of success. First, the steering of such issues should be aimed at allowing solutions to ‘emerge’ more or less spontaneously. Steering is aimed not at the goal oriented development of solutions to problems, but at creating process driven preconditions in which fitting arrangements can come about. Part of the process is that the objective is found along the way – in interaction with the field and the parties concerned. Second, the actors themselves can and must make and discover these arrangements within the system. Dynamics and self-organisation are key concepts in considering complex social systems. The government develops arrangements that can act as a platform where others can get going – actively contributing while continually changing places with others; sometimes they come first, sometimes they cooperate, and sometimes governmental intervention is needed to get them going again. In all cases, however, there are more actors than government representatives actively involved, and in many cases the ratios will be such that most of the work and investment will lie with parties other than the government. Self-organisation works best when it is based on self-interests that are understood by all participating parties. Intervention by the government then entails the building of platforms where parties can discover, link up and interpret the overlap and mutual enhancement of those self-interests in the practice of cooperation. Third, it is usually different competing arrangements that emerge in this kind of system. Complexity and 201

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wickedness imply elements of variety and selection, as opposed to analysis and instruction. In particular, due to the fact that the best options are unknown, the best working option should be discovered in practice – which works best if there are multiple experiments running at the same time. In that case, governmental intervention comprises the organisation of a field in which that variety gets off the ground – for instance by protecting new players in the ‘market’ against existing parties – and where the mechanism of selection can operate, by, for instance, closing the process to cross-subsidies and scale advantages from other activities. Through such a process of social selection, the arrangements prove their sustainability. If desired, the government can afterwards codify the developing practices in legislation or ratify and formally legitimise them in another way. We do emphasise that this ratification itself should not be disruptive and, therefore, should not affect the process of selection. These are not simple activities for governments: they imply the ‘squandering’ of resources, since there is no early selection and prioritisation. It is inevitable that part of the investment vanishes in failing experiments. Furthermore, the process of selection may take a long time, be whimsical, and does not allow itself to be affected by the agendas of politicians or lobby groups. Not only is the final result uncontrollable, but also the process and timing will lie outside the government›s sphere of direct influence. In the cases that we studied, we found several examples of the preconditions that facilitate the quest for fitting arrangements. These preconditions are: local tailored work, in local networks, close to the source, using local intelligence and dynamics, and more room for variety and selection. Public actors, especially the municipalities, can play a leading role in this, but non-governmental alternatives are also conceivable. The freedom of implementing and supervising organisations can also be understood as such: close to implementing practice, they can make choices that fit in locally and that can also – sometimes with some effort – be incorporated into the policy framework. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, this is how the Dutch Act on the Employment of Aliens allowed for much leeway at the local level. This actually means that European governments’ social ambitions should become smaller rather than larger. These design principles also should be reflected in the content of the policy. They point towards a system of limited basic agreements for a small group, supplemented with specific local arrangements that are anchored in local communities, and offers room for dynamics, self-organisation and social selection. This group could be based on geographical links, but also professional fields, relatives, fellow religious believers, or be 202

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a group that feels mutual cohesion in some other way and wants to create solidarity. This will not solve the problems, or achieve the aims or the intended results, but it is precisely the point that the problems are assumed to be unsolvable. Instead, there will be room for other arrangements that could produce satisfactory results, according to local standards, with a local approach, shared by the interested parties and with their own rules and principles as to their justification. It takes administrative courage to accept this and give it meaning. However, reality teaches us that this is the only way through which we can get closer to a ‘solution’ for unsolvable problems. Lesson 2: Anticipate reflexivity Citizens, businesses and institutions are reflexive. They respond to governmental policies and have the, for policy makers somewhat annoying, characteristic of using this to their own advantage. They ‘understand’ what policy does and utilise that knowledge to maximise their own benefits from the policy.What we see throughout Europe is that citizens try to qualify for the most advantageous scheme. Is sheltered employment more advantageous or enjoyable than other occupational disability schemes? In that case, people will try to get access to it. Does the scheme for young disabled people provide the least pressure and the most freedom? Then, the scheme for young disabled people fills up. The list of examples of reflexive behaviour that we can make on the basis of this study alone is quite long and varied. We found forms of reflexive behaviour that were downright fraudulent, such as fraud regarding living status, since two single people living separately receive higher benefit than one cohabiting couple.We also came across forms of reflexive behaviour that could (at least, by many) be seen positively, such as the increased number of divorces due to the introduction of social assistance in various European countries, which gave women an independent income when they divorced. The question is, how policy can better understand such processes of reflexivity, if – to some extent – it can foresee them and also utilise them. As for the part that is unpredictable and emergent: how can governments deal with the unexpected? Reflexivity is not a new phenomenon, and it is not to be seen negatively in itself. However, problems do arise when policy tries to regulate the reflexivity that has occurred – often followed by a new circle of action and reaction. Governments often respond to reflexivity by issuing more precise legislation, which often further restricts citizens’ ability to act intelligently and strategically. This starts off a 203

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cat and mouse game between government and citizens, in which the one continually tries to outsmart the other. Meanwhile, regulatory systems expand further, until the point of departure becomes lost in the multitude of ever more specific details of the rules. To citizens, this expansion in provisions and standards is an annoying fact. They feel insecure, because they perceive that their rights are continuously eroded, while the policy becomes increasingly more complex and incomprehensible. An important lesson drawn from the cases in the Netherlands is that the relationship between citizens and government is by definition full of tension – especially in the social domain. Social policy touches upon the interests of citizens, who will thereby always be enticed to demonstrate calculating behaviour. In our view, this cannot be countered by increasingly refined and detailed legislation or continually harsher and more intensive checks.This does not imply that we are advocates of abolishing checks and enforcement. We do, however, stress that part of the necessity to check and enforce follows from the policy itself. To better deal with reflexivity, policy makers may take inspiration from different scientific disciplines, but it is primarily economics and psychology which have focused strongly on the actual behaviour of individuals in recent years. Behavioural economists have demonstrated to what extent the actual behaviour of individuals deviates from rational behaviour and how markets can be unexpectedly inefficient. Nevertheless, in our study we regularly came across policy proposals in which behavioural assumptions seemed to be based on the wishful thinking of the policy makers rather than on realistic presumptions. Reflexivity is by definition unpredictable, but not entirely unforeseeable from beginning to end. First, it is certain in advance that it will emerge. Second, an analysis of the system’s characteristics (of the different stimuli involved, for example) will reveal much about how the policy will work out in practice for the acting individuals. It is also significant that the prediction of behaviour will be overly based on two schools of thought that are now dominant: macroeconomics and ideology. People are neither pure rational decision makers nor ideological volunteers who, by definition, internalise a policy’s points of departure as principles and enjoy nothing better than seeing them in practice. That is why we are in favour of realistic social policy, where realism is our translation for incorporating well founded and ‘down to earth’ assumptions about reflexivity. This requires policy makers to uncover the behavioural assumptions in policy, and an assessment of their probability. Reflexivity can obstruct the effectiveness of policy in the longer term. Citizens, businesses and institutions ‘learn’ to deal with 204

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the policy. They bend the circumstances in such a way that they can use the policy to their maximum advantage or minimum disadvantage. As a consequence of this learning behaviour, the effectiveness of most measures declines over time. It follows that an important instrument for dealing with reflexivity is to keep arrangements open to change, so that any adjustments due to reflexivity can be dealt with in time. If we take reflexivity seriously, we do not build policy for eternity, but rather actively try to design resilient arrangements from which we are able to learn and absorb reflexivity. The concrete recommendation that can be derived from this, we believe, is that in processes of policy development, policy makers should anticipate not on the basis of desired behaviour of citizens in response to regulations, but rather on their undesirable behaviour. Brainstorming meetings, expert sessions and argument maps relating to citizens’ possible and most likely behaviour would be important inputs to this. Reflexivity cannot be entirely ruled out, is the lesson that can be drawn from the present cases. We may also ask ourselves whether that would be desirable. It is better to actively consider reflexivity in advance, while designing the policy. In certain cases reflexivity can be foreseen and therefore anticipated.The content and organisation of the scheme can also anticipate desirable reflexive behaviour to a certain extent. Apart from that, policy can be designed – in organisational terms – as ‘open’ and ‘learning’, so that it leaves room to modify the policy according to the interpretations as conveyed by its target groups and stakeholders over time. Furthermore, experience teaches us that in designing policy that way, it could be wise to determine the policy’s termination beforehand, for instance by specifying an end date. After all, experience also teaches us that social policy evokes such intense reactions sometimes, that it goes beyond its ability to absorb. In such cases especially, it often proves difficult to reverse the policy, as the established interests have bound themselves to it so strongly. A flexible design would then offer a way out. Without drastically changing the policy – and thus losing important political capital – the government could then adapt the policy to the citizens’ behaviour. Lesson 3: Acknowledge heterogeneity We started this study from a naïve perspective of a ‘fit’ between social policies and their environment. The idea of responsiveness implies a kind of uniform and recognisable package of values, interests, wishes and priorities which the government should fulfil. But we have seen in this book that, in practice, the package is multiform, ambivalent and, 205

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above all, agile in the course of time. The policy context is dynamic and crystalises often only with hindsight. After the event it is – for researchers, for instance – easy to identify which preferences and developments the policy should have been responsive to, and which not. Not knowing priorities – in their multitude – makes it difficult for policy makers to design policy that fits in with public preferences. It proves hard to pick up on signals and to filter, weigh and assess them – all the more so because these signals are increasingly varied in today’s pluriform society, and less ascribable to certain interests and persuasions. It is of course impossible to please everyone in situations of distributing scarce resources.This is not even desirable. It is not what the public wants, either. Legitimacy that stems from responsiveness has more nuances than simply following the public’s apparent preferences. An authoritative ‘no’ can increase legitimacy, whereas an excessively meek policy can erode its legitimacy. In other words, there is more to it than that. We believe that it is important that the public has a sense of being ‘recognised’ from the start. They should have the impression that policy makers have an eye to their interests and have in any case weighed their preferences correctly and carefully. The outcome may then be disappointing, but the process will possess legitimacy. Policy makers should, therefore, in any case try to develop a better eye for the different interests. In saying this, we emphatically do not advocate fixed procedures (the ‘Handbook for Monitoring the Environment’). We do plead, however, for a search for institutional channels or forums where this could be done. Existing institutions may play a role in this, but it does not necessarily have to be limited to these channels. Some subjects require entirely different channels. The questions that should be foremost in ‘finding the variety’ are more or less the same for all subjects.Where does the conversation take place with respect to what is going on, what developments are at play, and what should be done? Who are the conversation partners? Why? Which opportunities and ‘roots’ in society do they have? This study showed that it is increasingly difficult to gain insights into the relevant developments and public preferences. It, therefore speaks for itself, to invest in a strategy that in any case improves attentiveness, with continual attention rather than following more or less fixed, long-term procedures, and where the partners around the table are not a prominent part of the agreed problem, who stretch and cross the boundaries of the system, but may carry, or experience, new problems and solutions, with others who usually have, or use, a clear voice.

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Incidentally, having ‘an eye for variety’ and the development of greater attentiveness as regards the differences should not be confused with increased compliance with the public. The governments’ roles do certainly not have to fade away in following preferences. In many areas we actually see the role of the government growing stronger and more coercive. Specifically in the current time of crisis, the governments in some of the most affected countries – Spain, Greece, and Italy for instance – need to alienate themselves from their citizens by implementing massive budget cuts to safeguard the future of their countries. On a more limited scale, we also observed this in our Dutch cases. The concept of responsiveness as we perceive it therefore does not advocate an unquestioning following of the public, but rather a balancing act of different logics. European governments in our view should, however, allow for stakeholders to become involved in this balancing act, not by unquestionably following stakeholders’ opinions or citizens’ preferences, but by facilitating channels in which the articulation of preferences can take place. Lesson 4: Create ownership In his book Fatal Remedies – purposefully named after Sieber’s 1981 seminal work on the ironies of social intervention, Engbersen (2009) quotes an old statement by Kees Schuyt (1978: 94):‘The welfare state is like an orphanage. It cares for you, but you don’t get any attention.’ Or, as formulated by Frissen (2007), the welfare state is there ‘for’ its citizens, but it is not ‘theirs’. In this day and age, social policy in modern welfare states is usually implemented by anonymous, bureaucratic institutions, with a great emphasis on safeguarding equality and legal certainty. In some cases, there are attempts to give this implementation a ‘more human’ face by, for instance, providing clients with a regular ‘coach’, ‘account manager’ or ‘consultant’. Still, a great distance remains between citizens, dependent on social policy or not, and the organisation of social policy, its design and implementation. In this study, we also came across examples of ‘warmer’ contacts between citizens, businesses, institutions and social policy. In the case of labour market policy for foreign workers, we observed the emergence of local networks. Some businesses that provided sheltered employment acted as small communities, where the employees knew, helped and supported each other. In other words, examples of concerned social policy are not unthinkable. In our view, that involvement should be expressed in three ways. We would like to promote involvement, first in the development of policy and, second, in its implementation and 207

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organisation. Third, we would like there to be more involvement in the ‘ownership’ of arrangements, for both their users and non-users. To start with the first: the design of, and changes to, social policy are highly professionalised topics in many European countries. Although the dissemination of social dialogue has been actively promoted by the European Union, debates about the tenability of the welfare state are held in specialists’ terms by experts in appropriate channels. For instance, the discussion about the modernisation of the Sheltered Employment Act in the Netherlands is held in terms of the control position of municipalities, the outflow targets of the relevant businesses and the returns and results of business processes.The fundamental values and points of departure, however, are not, or hardly, put forward – not even if municipalities have to decide on the outsourcing of work or vocational rehabilitation programmes – while there are indeed more positions in the debate than only the specialized positions aimed at the optimisation of business operations.We therefore advocate a departure from the anonymous ‘receiving’ and ‘bringing’ of financial resources around which many arrangements in social policy currently revolve. If citizens are asked to make financial sacrifices, they at least deserve a clear insight into the destination of those sacrifices, and preferably a say in this. In the second place, we argue for strong involvement of private initiatives in the implementation of social policy. An example is that, over the past few years, a range of more or less private initiatives, aimed at the participation of people with disabilities (mainly mental disabilities), has arisen in Dutch society. Care farms, restaurants run by staff with mental disabilities, shops with homemade art – there is an entire industry of bottom-up private initiatives. In many cases, there is no relationship whatsoever with the formal sheltered employment sector. Thousands of people a year eat in restaurants or buy products. We have not even mentioned the many volunteers who support these initiatives.These are examples of ‘warm hearted’ initiatives, focused on the participation of disabled workers, aimed at their development and emancipation, but with a human face. An entirely different example is the development of so-called ‘food banks’ in the Netherlands.These, too, are examples of private initiatives aimed at bringing together surplus and demand, but they were soon to be depicted as excrescences of the bare welfare state in the political debate. In practice, therefore, we do see examples of what ‘concerned social policy’ might look like. These examples do not have the appearance of returning to old-fashioned charity as an answer to the bare welfare state. They are examples that

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give the implementation of social policy a more human face than the domineering, anonymous, bureaucratic institutions. In the third place, involvement can be created by involving users and non-users more in social arrangements. A large number of citizens’ current contributions to the welfare state are ‘subconscious’ contributions to ‘anonymous’ institutions.The involvement of citizens in the organised solidarity that lies hidden in collective arrangements could be increased, for instance by giving them a far clearer voice in the administration and policy of these arrangements. In many countries, forms of client participation do exist, but the voice of the people who actually ensure that benefits are available – the tax and social premium payers – is far less heard. Involvement in that sense could, for instance, take place by developing more cooperative forms of administration.The example of the Dutch Rabobank, a cooperative without shareholders, shows that even in a highly commercialised sector it is possible to create involvement in this way – even in this day and age. In the process of the construction and expansion of the welfare state since the early 1900s, the role of the government has in many social domains developed from a condition setter to the most important supplier. In education, care and social assistance, we have observed processes of what Frissen (2009) referred to as ‘statification’: the process of transferring initiatives from the not-for-profit sector into the domain of the state. The state fulfils this role in a formal-bureaucratic manner, with a strong emphasis on equality, neutrality and legal certainty. Based on this study, we can conclude that the legitimacy of ‘statified’ arrangements in the social domain is still high. However, what all three cases in this study also revealed is how much the domains we studied struggled with the persistence of the problems, the widely varying and sometimes conflicting developments in the environment, and the increasingly unrecognisable and heterogeneous public preferences.The complexity, reflexivity and heterogeneity do not easily allow themselves to be reduced to ‘statified’ bureaucratic arrangements. The four lessons that we have developed here may seem far from the day to day struggle of European governments currently to balance budgets or even save their countries from bankruptcy. Many of the government programmes that we have discussed in this book will be affected by the harsh measures that seem inevitable in many countries. But it should not be forgotten that the policy domains we have discussed in this book – providing social assistance, regulating demand and supply on the labour market, and taking care of disabled people – originate from combating the hardships of unemployment, poverty and illness. Therefore, revitalising the institutional arrangements of the welfare state 209

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is an important challenge for European governments, even, and perhaps even more so, in times of austerity. Our lessons aim to return social policies to their roots: solidarity among citizens in times of hardship.

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Index Page numbers in italics refer to tables.

a

c

Academic Network of European Disability Experts (ANED) 138, 142, 143 acceptance of rules of welfare state 26–7 Act on the Employment of Aliens (AEA) 111–12, 114–31, 132–3, 176–80 Africa, migration from 105, 121 ageing population and declining birth rates 42, 43 and disability 168–70, 176 and labour migration 106–7, 128 social assistance issues 69, 85–6 Amsterdam Treaty 1999 97 analytical framework 63–4 policy change degrees of 33–7 factors in 38–57 welfare states 31–3 see also logics

Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) 116, 117, 121, 122, 123, 127–8, 131 centralised, discretionary assistance systems 68 citizen-based but residual social assistance systems 67 citizens attitudes to labour migration 108–10, 120–1 to sheltered work 153–6, 180–1 to welfare state arrangements 9–11, 20–8 and government see government, and citizens involvement 209 preferences of see public preference ‘resigned citizens’ 46 civil servants, trust in 13–14 Clinton, B. (US President) 70 Commission Labour Participation 158 comparative perspective Europe 182–93 Netherlands 174–82, 183–5 social assistance policies 66–70, 90–3 trust 12–19, 85 welfare regimes 11, 18 welfare state arrangements 9–11, 20–8 see also labour migration; sheltered work complexity, embracing 198–203 conversion, strategy of 36 Council for Social Development (RMO) 47 Council for Work and Income (RWI) 86–7, 89, 158 criminals/ex-criminals 82

b Baumgartner, F.R. and Jones, B.D. 38, 46 Bekkers,V. 52 et al 48 Béland, D. 3–4 benefit fraud 2, 27, 72–4, 76, 77, 81, 84 benefits see social assistance birth/fertility rates 42, 43 Blekesaune, M. and Quadango, J. 27–8 ‘blocked agenda setting’ 46 Boasson, E. 4 Boudon, R. 53–4 Boutellier, H. 56 Brooks, C. and Manza, J. 45

229

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d decentralisation 49–50 discretionary relief systems 68 Delsen, L. 142–3 demographic challenges see ageing population Denmark and Sweden: labour migration policies 109, 110 Desain, E.J.P. et al 85 deservingness of benefits recipients 84–5 of target groups 197 design of responsive social policy 198–210 disability employment programmes 138, 139 income: integration and compensation 137–8, 139–40 models 136–7 policy instruments 138 trends 139–41 see also sheltered work discretionary assistance systems 68 distribution of prosperity, beliefs about 20–8 Ditch, J. 65 Drake, R.F. 136–7, 139 dual social assistance systems 67

e economic conditions and crises 1–3 disabled people’s employment 168–70 labour migration 103–7, 108–9, 113, 114, 125 economic internationalisation 40–1, 69 Elchardus, M. 48 Elmore, R.F. 33 employers labour migration 121, 124, 129, 131, 133 sheltered work 154, 155, 171, 180–1 employment see labour market participation; labour migration; sheltered work Engbersen, G. 53–4, 199, 207 environment-policy ‘fit’ 205–7 Esping-Andersen, G. 11, 18 established interests 196–7 EU 2020 Strategy 191 EU Blue Card (Lisbon Strategy) 98, 106–7 European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD) 142, 170 European Commission 97–8, 166–7 European integration 41, 132

230

European Migration Network (EMN) index 99–102 European Social Survey (ESS) 12, 14–15, 25–6 European Values Studies (EVSs) 108–9, 120 external environment 38–50 logic of 59, 61, 62–3

f family structure 69 feedback relations 46 Fenger, M. 49 et al 143 fertility/birth rates 42, 43 flexible labour contracts 87 Foreign Employees Act (Wabw) 1979 112–14 fraud 2, 27, 72–4, 76, 77, 81, 84 Frazer, H. and Marlier, E. 91 Frissen, P.H.A. 45, 55, 207, 209

g General Social Assistance Act (GSAA) 1965 71–2 Giddens, A. 53 global economics see economic conditions and crises; economic internationalisation Gough, I. et al 65, 66–7, 68–9 government and citizens beliefs about role of 24–6 relationship between 1, 56, 203–5 trust 12–19, 85 costs and sheltered work 170, 171 role of 207, 209 and self-organization 201–2

h Hall, P. 35, 36, 37 Hanesch, W. 69–70 hard work vs luck, opinions about 22–3, 24 Helco, H. 52 heterogeneity, acknowledging 205–7 ‘hiding’ reforms 51 Hobolt, S. and Klemmensen, R. 45 Hogwood, B.W. and Peters, B.G. 37 Hölsch, K. and Kraus, M. 66 housing and labour migration 117 Huitema, D. et al 58

References Index

i immigration 44–5 illegal 82, 83, 123–4, 128–9 see also labour migration inclusion of disabled people 171 and stigmatisation 166–8 income equality, opinions about 20–2, 23–4, 26 individualisation, socio-cultural differences and 42–5 institutional factors 4–5, 18, 192–3 International Labour Organization (ILO) 135

j Jehoel-Gijsbers, G. 158 Jensen, C. 38 Josten, E. 158

interactions, tensions and dilemmas 60–3, 193–8 luck vs hard work, opinions about 22–3, 24

m March, J.G. and Olsen, J.P. 60 media labour migration 122–5, 177–8 role in policy change 46–8 sheltered work 149–51, 180 social assistance 79–82 medical and social models of disability 137 middle class 44 Migrant Integration Policy Index (MIPEX) index 99–102

n

Kazepov,Y. 49–50 ‘knowledge economy’/‘knowledge workers’ 115–16, 127 Koehler, J. et al 98, 104, 106, 108

Netherlands Institute for Social Research (SCP) 10 new public management 49 New Social Assistance Act 1996 74, 76–7, 82 New Welfare School 55

l

o

k

labour, changing role of 44 labour market participation disabled people 157–8, 160, 161–3, 168–70, 181–2 social assistance reforms 76–7, 78–9, 81–2, 86–7, 89 labour migration comparative perspective 131–4 economic and social conditions 103–7, 125–8 mixed incentives 107 Netherlands 176–80 legislation 111–19, 128–31 views 120–5 social beliefs and attitudes 108–10 trends 95–103 EU level 97–9 EU member states 99–103, 186–90 Labour Migration Act 1994 95 Larsen, C.A. 28 ‘layering’/policy succession 36, 165, 179, 181 Lisbon Strategy (Blue Card) 98, 106–7 local arrangements 202–3 local municipalities 77, 78, 79, 82, 83, 175–6 logics 58–60

oil crisis 1970s 113 old age benefits, opinions about 25–6 see also ageing population Oliver, C. 4–5 O’Reilly, A. 142, 143 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) 137–8, 139, 140, 141, 143, 168 Osborne, D. and Gaebler, T. 49 ownership, creating 207–9

p parliament, trust in 14–15 passive behaviour 2 path dependency 34–5, 36, 50, 62, 170, 191, 192–3 Pierson, P. 50–1, 197 policy accumulation and reflexivity 53–7 policy belief systems 52–3 policy change role of media 46–8 see also analytical framework: specific issues policy innovation 37

231

The responsiveness of social policies in Europe policy learning 52–3 policy maintenance 35–6 policy success, factors undermining 54 policy succession/‘layering’ 36, 165, 179, 181 policy system 193 logic of 60, 61, 62, 63 sheltered work 170 policy termination 37 political ideology 18–19 political strategy 197–8 political-administrative developments 49–50, 200 politics labour migration 104, 122, 178 media influence on 47–8 of reforms 50–1 sheltered work 151–3 social assistance 69, 82–3 Pollitt, C. and Bouckaert, G. 35, 36, 37 Poor Law 1854 71, 72 poverty definitions and trends 87–9 and social assistance 82 private initiatives 208–9 public assistance systems 67 public preference 5–6, 45–6 disabled people/sheltered work 149, 166–8 labour migration 108–10 logic of 59–60, 61, 62 social assistance 79, 83–5, 89, 90, 92–3, 174 see also citizens; media

r Raven, J. 10, 19 et al 64 reflexivity anticipating 203–5 policy accumulation and 53–7 ‘resigned citizens’ 46 resilience concept of 5–6 definition of 58 lessons for 198–210 responsiveness concept of 3–6, 192–3, 207 design of social policy 198–210 explaining 193–8 Rigter, D.P. et al 74 rivalry, opinions about 22, 24 Rolef, S.H. 16, 18–19 rudimentary assistance systems 68

232

s Sabatier, P. 35, 36, 38–9, 52 and Jenkins-Smith, H. 34, 36 safety nets, integrated 67 Saraceno, C. 66 Schengen Agreement (1985) 105 Scientific Council for Governmental Policy (WRR) 40–1, 42–4, 55 self-organization and government arrangements 201–2 sheltered work comparative perspective 141–4, 166–70, 190–1 future development 170–2 Netherlands 163–6, 180–2 evolution of legislation 144–9 implementation and results of legislation 160–1 outflow to normal work and supported employment 161–3, 181–2 profile of employees 159, 160 social and economic developments 156–8 views 149–56 Sheltered Work Acts (SWA) 1969–95 144–5 1995–2009 148 1998 146 2005–08 146–9 ‘silent majority’ 46 social assistance 65–6 classification of regimes 66–8 common challenges to regimes 68–70 comparative perspective 90–3, 186 expenditure (% GDP) 92 Netherlands 71–91, 174–6 Social Assistance Act 1965–1995 72–4 social media 48 social and medical models of disability 137 social position of disabled people 156–7 social relations, changes in 44–5 social security law 58 trust in 12–15 types of provision 32, 49 see also social assistance socio-cultural differences and individualisation 42–5 socioeconomic factors (and social developments) 39–40 labour migration 103–7, 125–8 sheltered work 156–8 social assistance 85–7, 91–2, 93, 175 welfare state 18 stability of policy 34–5

References Index ‘Stockholm Programme’ 2009 97–8 Streeck, W. 55–6 and Thelen, K. 35, 36, 37 Sweden and Denmark: labour migration policies 109, 110

t Terpstra, J. 74 Trommel, W. 53, 55, 200 and Arentsen, M. 56 trust 12–19, 85

v van Dam, M. 56, 57–8 van De Brink, G. 46 van der Lans, J. 55 van der Meer, T. 14–15, 18, 19 van der Steen, M. 51 van der Zwan, A. 157 van Eeten, M. 200 van Santen, P. et al 161, 162 Visser, J. and Hemerijck, A. 52

w Walker, B. et al 58 welfare states analytical framework 31–3 complexity of 2 ironies of 207 policy performance 1–2 regime types 11, 18 support for 9–11, 17, 18 Witteveen, W. et al 48 women, changing role of 69 Work and Social Assistance Act 2004 (WSAA) 78–9, 82, 88–9, 175–6 World Values Survey (WVS) 12, 24, 26–7, 28

233

It includes a comparative analysis of recent developments in social assistance, sheltered work and labour market policies in the Netherlands, showing how policy makers are continually trying to incorporate societal transformations into social policies while being obstructed by the pathdependent development of welfare state institutions. The insights from the case studies are related to developments in other European countries in the areas of social assistance, sheltered work and labour market policies, and show how policy makers and politicians deal with multiple challenges, interests and perspectives on social policies. This book is essential reading for academics and students interested in the institutional development of social policies.

Menno Fenger is associate professor in public administration at Erasmus University Rotterdam. His research focuses on processes of policy change and institutional development in social policies. Martijn van der Steen is associate dean and deputy director of the Netherlands School of Public Administration. His research topics include public strategy, anticipatory governance and network governance. Lieske van der Torre is academic teacher in public administration at Erasmus University Rotterdam. She is writing a PhD about the management of sheltered work companies.

SOCIAL POLICY / Social studies

ISBN 978-1-44730-576-7

www.policypress.co.uk

The responsiveness of social policies in Europe_PPC.indd 1

9 781447 305767

THE RESPONSIVENESS OF SOCIAL POLICIES IN EUROPE • Fenger, Van der Steen and Van der Torre

Modern welfare states are confronted with a wide variety of social and economic developments, including individualisation, secularisation, globalisation and the changing preferences and ideologies of citizens. Using in-depth analysis gathered over 15 years, this book closely analyses the consequences of these significant changes for social policies, offering theoretical and practical insights about their responsiveness.

The

responsiveness of social policies in Europe Netherlands in comparative perspective The

Menno Fenger, Martijn van der Steen and Lieske van der Torre

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