Social assistance, activation policy, and social exclusion: Addressing causal complexity

Petrovic, Marina (2009). Social assistance, activation policy, and social exclusion: Addressing causal complexity.

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  • Author Petrovic, Marina
    Title Social assistance, activation policy, and social exclusion: Addressing causal complexity
    Publication Date 2009
    Abstract This paper contributes to a more systematic understanding of the link between government supported social assistance programs and social exclusion which are viewed as a complex social phenomenon. In the paper, social exclusion is defined as at-high-riskof- poverty rate and low work intensity. The primary focus of the paper is on the underlying causal processes and combinations of relevant conditions leading to social exclusion among the able-bodied social assistance beneficiaries of working age. Another aim is to explore more systematically if and how activation and socio-professional integration policies as part of the social assistance programs will relate to poverty and work intensity. The study puts forward a two-step fuzzy set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fsQCA) as a novel methodological approach for treating social exclusion in ten European Union (EU) countries with developed social assistance and activation schemes. Relying on the fsQCA and set-theoretic relations, this paper deals with complex causal hypotheses in terms of necessary and sufficient conditions under which the defined social exclusion outcomes occur. The findings favor activation policies playing an affirmative role in the fight against poverty and low work intensity. However, the analysis shows that while low activation appears to be a necessary condition for the occurrence of higher exclusion, it is not sufficient to yield the desired outcomes. Instead, it reveals two possible paths leading to the social exclusion outcomes, each combining at least two different conditions such as the level of development of social safety nets and the share of social protection spending on social assistance. Key words: social exclusion, social assistance, activation, necessary and sufficient conditions
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    Created: Fri, 13 Dec 2013, 12:13:43 JST