Policy-Making in Unemployment Services: How Street-Level Organizations Balance Discretion and Policy Compliance

Dorte Caswell, Matilde Høybye-Mortensen

Research output: Contribution to conference without publisher/journalPaper without publisher/journalResearchpeer-review


The development of paternalist policies, such as the increase of punitive methods in welfare services, has been identified and analysed internationally (Mead, 1998; Soss et al., 2011a). The combination of these with an emphasis on instruments such as competition and performance measurement has been labelled neoliberal paternalism (Soss et al., 2011a). The focus of this article is one such punitive method: the use of economic sanctions towards cash benefit recipients in Denmark. These sanctions are implemented in ways that enable performance measurements of the welfare providers. Punitive sanctions have gained more political legitimacy and are being more widely used as a tool to improve the willingness of the unemployed clients to participate in activities under the canopy of active labour market policy. This does not only affect unemployed people, who are highly employable, but also those who are categorised as having problems besides unemployment (Caswell et al., 2011).
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2013
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - 2013
EventInternational conference on Public Policy - Grenoble, France
Duration: 26 Jun 201328 Jun 2013
Conference number: 1


ConferenceInternational conference on Public Policy

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