Vertrouwensexperiment Tilburg: Werkt het en waarom wel of niet?

Translated title of the contribution: Trust Experiment Tilburg. Does it work and why or why not?

Ruud Muffels, Kirsten Blom-Stam, Stefan van Wanrooij

Research output: Book/ReportReport

82 Downloads (Pure)


Tilburg was in 2017, together with Utrecht, Wageningen and Groningen, at the forefront to start with a two-year lasting unique official experiment in social welfare, more specifically in the Participation Act (according to art. 83). Other municipalities such as Nijmegen and Deventer followed. It was called a 'social expedition' in Tilburg because the municipality and social institutions and the university joined forces to get it accepted in 2017 by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment.
The main idea was to support people on welfare in a different way with more confidence and positive attention, fewer rules and obligations, rewarding initiative for finding work, more self-reliance, tailored support and more freedom of choice. The aim was to investigate "What works better and why?". Tilburg but also the other municipalities wanted to look not only at the outflow to paid work, but also at what it does with the welfare recipient, his or her self-reliance, well-being and health and social participation. In the Tilburg experiment, three intervention groups were distinguished: group 1 was granted a waiver, self-direction plus additional release of earnings; group 2 only received extra guidance and group 3 received coaching plus extra release. Upon release in groups 1 and 3, Tilburg gave an additional work bonus of 2400 euros per year for full-time work. Tilburg therefore combined exemption and coaching with additional release of earnings plus another work bonus for full-time work. The results of the Tilburg experiment are overall rather positive. For outflow to full-time work, we found a small plus of 4 to 5% when compared to non-participants but not when compared to the control group. In the two groups with additional release, more people found their way into part-time work, although many said they experienced obstacles due to the reduction of additional housing and child care relief allowances, the complicated rules and calculations and the low net pay. For the other outcomes and especially for self-reliance, well-being, health and social participation, we found greater pluses compared to the control group. It was also striking that people experienced less poverty, especially within the treatment group of extra guidance.
What works? Among the disadvantaged, this is trust, positive attention and individual tailored support; trust, self-reliance and extra earnings release. Positive is also what it does to the caseworkers: they go to work 'happier' because they find more satisfaction in the work. Trust, even though it comes on foot, they say, get people moving, even the most vulnerable. It was unexpected to find the control group already at the start behaving differently, with larger positive effects with respect to outflow to paid work. Further research should show whether or not this is an experiment or Hawthorne effect because participants and caseworkers seemed to behave differently in an experiment. We have only been able to follow the people on welfare for 16 months, so we are very curious about how sustainably the exit routes are. Investing in people works, so is our conclusion.
Translated title of the contributionTrust Experiment Tilburg. Does it work and why or why not?
Original languageDutch
Place of PublicationTilburg
PublisherTilburg University/ReflecT/Tranzo
Number of pages118
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2020


Dive into the research topics of 'Trust Experiment Tilburg. Does it work and why or why not? Werkt het en waarom wel of niet?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this