Dutch local trust experiments: Workfare or social Investment – what works better and why?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientific


In this chapter, the findings of a unique random control trial (RCT) experiment in five Dutch municipalities are discussed, which aimed at comparing the effectiveness of current ‘workfare’ policies with a more lenient way of supporting people on social assistance. The latter is based on rendering trust and autonomy to the welfare recipient on the one hand, rewarding him/her for finding paid work (earnings release) and offering more intensive mediation and tailored support on the other. The main research question of the study was what social policy intervention works better with regard to both people’s employability and wellbeing. Pre-selected outcome measures focused both on outflow to paid work but also on improving the wellbeing, health, capabilities (opportunities), social integration and self-management capacities of the people participating in the RCT. The chapter sketches the design and aims of these five trust experiments in the Dutch social welfare system and the relationship with ‘social investment’ policies (Hemerijck, 2017). Then, the theoretical ideas underpinning the various treatments and the conceptual model for the research are set out. Next, the main results of these two-year lasting trust experiments are discussed. Finally, while referring to Wim's rich contributions, the chapter briefly reflects upon the lessons for social policy that can be learned from these findings.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLeading social policy analysis from the front
Subtitle of host publicationEssays in honour of Wim van Oorschot
EditorsTijs Laenen, Bart Meuleman, Adeline Otto, Femke Roosma, Wim van Lancker
Place of PublicationLeuven
PublisherAcco Press
ISBN (Electronic)9789067842280
ISBN (Print)9789067842280
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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