Revija za socijalnu politiku, Svezak 27, Br. 3 (2020)

Veličine fonta:  Mali  Srednji  Veliki

Social Investment in an Age of Austerity: A Comparison of Family Policy Reforms in Four European Countries

Sonja Blum, Sónia Correia, Mikael Nygård, Tatjana Rakar, Karin Wall


The focus of this article is on family policy reforms in four European countries – Austria, Finland, Portugal, and Slovenia – between 2008 and 2015. These years were marked by the ‘Great Recession’, and by the rise of the social-investment perspective. Social investment is an umbrella concept, though, and it is also somewhat ambiguous. This article distinguishes between different social-investment variants, which emerge from a focus on its interaction with alternative social-policy perspectives, namely social protection and austerity. We identify different variants along the degree of social-investment: from comprehensive, over crowding out, towards lean forms. While the empirical analysis highlights variation, it also shows how there is a specific crisis context, which may lead to ‘crowding out’ of other policy approaches and ‘leaner’ forms of social investment. This has led to strong cutbacks in family cash benefits, while public childcare and parental leaves have proved more resilient in the investigated countries. Those findings are revelatory in the current Covid-19 pandemic, where countries are entering a next, possibly larger economic crisis.

Cijeli tekst: PDF

Revija za socijalnu politiku (Online). ISSN: 1845-6014