For several decades, the Social Investment (SI) State has been heralded as the saviour of the welfare state while at the same time being criticised for being just another instance of neoliberal downsizing of the welfare state. Recently, efforts have been made to provide clearer conceptualizations of how to assess the existence and impact of SI. However, these attempts have hitherto mainly focused on the policy functions and -instruments of the SI state. This article contributes to existing research by offering a novel analytical framework on the capacity of street-level organisations (SLOs) necessary for implementing the central policy functions of the SI state and by elucidating how administrative reforms influence this capacity. The article applies the framework to the Danish case of the implementation Active Labour Market Policies (ALMP’s) in local job centres as the combination of being considered an SI ‘flag ship’ in terms of formal polices, while also having undergone multiple administrative reforms, make the Danish case highly illustrative for the central argument of the article - that the success or failure of an SI approach is not only determined by politics and formal policies. The empirical analysis reveals how the capacity for implementing SI policies have been enhanced by administrative reforms by furthering job centres’ room for discretion and their ability to make long-term investments and to promote integrated service provision across different service-areas. However, simultaneous the local job centres remain closely monitored and controlled through an external accountability performance measurement system.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Security
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2023


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