Governing Activation in Europe: Diverse Responses to Common Challenges?
European welfare states have seen a deliberate shift from passive to active and activating labor-market measures. While there are numerous studies assessing associated national policy changes, a wide-open gap remains regarding the governance of activation. Accordingly, this study proposes two central questions:
- What explains cross-national trends of convergence and divergence in the governance of activation?
- How are decisions made by policy makers implemented at the local level, why so, and with what effect?
By answering these questions, this study will not only generate policy-relevant knowledge, but also contribute to the literatures on institutional change, international policy diffusion and social learning. While a general overview provides insights to the organization and evolution of most western activation governance systems, four countries have been selected for in-depth case studies: Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. These four cases represent four reform-oriented countries with converging organizational features, and yet diverging local strategies of policy implementation.
Currently a new application for external funding is being prepared. Additional data has been collected, new research papers have been presented at international conferences and workshops, and several preparatory articles have been published or are currently under review or in print.