The World Politics of Social Investment

Recent research on the development and implementation of social investment (investment in human capital, work-care support policies and active labor market policies) has shown that there is some level of implementation of social investment policies not only in different regions of Europe, but also in Latin America and South East Asia. However, one cannot speak of a general development of a social investment welfare state, as the phase but also-and especially-the specific substance of the social investment agenda varies strongly between these regions. Why have social investment ideas and policies been more developed in some regions and countries than in others? Going beyond different structural pressure, the project aims at theorizing the politics of social investment and testing different explanations empirically. The aim is to assess what are the political conditions for the development of social investment policies. Given that similar governments in different contexts have adopted different strategies with regard to social investment, the project investigates the institutional and socio-structural factors that enable or prevent political support coalitions for social investment.

This project will assess the political conditions for the development of social investment policies, investigate the politics of Social Investment in Europe, Latin America and East Asia along the following three questions:

  1. What explains the content of the social investment agenda? (empirically: identify framing and the effect of institutional legacies – constraints, economic strategy- on the social investment agenda in different regions of the world)
  2. How does political conflict over social investment map onto other conflict lines and cleavages? (empirically: identify actor positions, dimensionality, links between actor positions on different issues).
  3.  What political coalitions support or prevent a social investment turn ? (empirically: identify reform coalitions and the institutional and structural conditions that produce them)