Individual responsibilities and individual capabilities are becoming increasingly important in public policies of European welfare states. Therefore, it is said that European welfare states are developing in the direction of social investment states. In this article we argue that the shift towards the social investment state may lead to new social risks and new inequalities. Building upon Bonoli’s (2005) seminal article, we introduce the concept of ‘social investment risks’ to refer to these risks. In this article we explore and identify the development towards a social investment state in detail by focusing on different social policy trends in different welfare areas and by analyzing their impact on the individual level. We deconstruct the underlying assumptions of the social investment paradigm and reflect on the role of individual capabilities and social capital in the social investment state. We assess to what extent the distribution of these capabilities creates new social risks and new inequalities using examples from the Netherlands. Dealing with these new inequalities and new social risks may be considered new challenges for welfare states. Therefore, this article innovatively expands the borders of currentday welfare state research and explores the consequences of the social investment paradigm.

, , , , , , , ,,
Corvinus Journal of Sociology and Social Policy
Erasmus University Rotterdam

Benda, L., Fenger, M., Koster, F., & van der Veen, R. (2017). Social investment risks? An explorative analysis of new social risks in the social investment state. Corvinus Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, 8(2), 25–42. doi:10.14267/cjssp.2017.02.02