Decentralization and centralization: governing the activation of social assistance recipients in Europe

Minas, R., Wright, S. and Van Berkel, R. (2012) Decentralization and centralization: governing the activation of social assistance recipients in Europe. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, 32(5/6), pp. 286-298. (doi:10.1108/01443331211236989)

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Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this article is to examine the governance of activation in relation to the decentralization and centralization of activation for social assistance recipients in Sweden, The Netherlands and the UK.

Design/methodology/approach – This paper outlines broad trends in the governance of activation policies in Europe, focusing on processes of decentralization and centralization in Sweden (characterized by a context of shifting national and local level governance of policies, cultivated within a strong tradition of active labour market policies); The Netherlands (where there has been a deliberate shift in governance towards the local level); and the UK (typified by highly centralized decision making in policy design but local variation in delivery).

Findings – The comparison identified different paths of decentralization and examines how these processes interact and overlap with modes of centralization/coordination of policies. Finally, the paper demonstrates the interface between the modes of decentralization and centralization.

Originality/value – The investigation of vertical changes in the governance of activation in three country case studies provides an original in-depth analysis of types and paths of decentralization and centralization.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Wright, Dr Sharon
Authors: Minas, R., Wright, S., and Van Berkel, R.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences
Journal Name:International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy
ISSN:0144-333X
ISSN (Online):1758-6720

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