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Activation or Workfare? Governance and the Neo-Liberal Convergence$
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Ivar Lodemel and Amilcar Moreira

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199773589

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199773589.001.0001

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Trajectories of Change

Trajectories of Change

Activation Reforms from Inception to Times of Austerity

Chapter:
(p.327) 12 Trajectories of Change
Source:
Activation or Workfare? Governance and the Neo-Liberal Convergence
Author(s):

Ivar Lødemel

Erika Gubrium

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199773589.003.0012

The chapter discusses changes in the strategies of national activation policies. The first policies focused on strengthening human resources. In the second wave, a move toward a Work First strategy resulted, which took place prior to the current economic crisis. So far, further curtailments of rights have resulted. In the United States, activation has been phased out and minimum income has largely been replaced by food stamps. Activation has also been reduced in Europe as part of new austerity measures. Instead of activation, reduced benefits and cumbersome application procedures have crisis-proofed the welfare state in the face of increased needs. In Norway the change toward Work First took place in 2013. This evidence suggests that the move toward Work First is part of a shared political trend associated with low unemployment and a reaction to the perceived shortcomings of the human resource strategy pursued in the first wave of reforms.

Keywords:   activation, economic crisis, first wave, human resource, minimum income, second wave, Work First

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