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A new kid in town? Active inclusion in European minimum income schemes

Sarah Marchal and Natascha Van Mechelen

No 14/07, ImPRovE Working Papers from Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp

Abstract: This paper assesses the current variation in activation strategies directed towards able-bodied persons of working age who rely on a minimum income guarantee in 20 EU Member states. First, we argue that the Active Inclusion notion developed by the European Commission in its 2008 Recommendation on the active inclusion of persons on a large distance of the labour market provides a useful device to categorize current activation strategies towards minimum income protection (MIP) recipients. Next we use this active inclusion concept in a fuzzy set ideal type analysis of purpose-collected institutional data to investigate to what extent current activation strategies reflect the Commission’s concept of active inclusion. We find that there are few countries where the activation discourse has remained a dead letter. Most countries have implemented policy measures that aim to discourage benefit dependency among MIP recipients. Nevertheless, behind the realities of activation strategies towards minimum income recipients seldom lies the notion of active inclusion as defined by the European Commission. Particularly, many countries adopt predominantly negative incentives to increase labour market participation rates, rather than enabling measures. The majority of countries relies heavily on financial and non-financial incentives such as strong reasonable job definitions or severe sanctions for non-compliance with job availability requirements to encourage employment.

Keywords: activation strategy; fsITA; active inclusion; minimum income schemes; EU social policy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I38 J60 J64 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014-12
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-eur and nep-lma
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (3) Track citations by RSS feed

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