Theories of justice concentrate on principles and criteria, rather than on implementation. This paper fills that gap, introducing the situational contract as an institutional design in which public support is geared to improve individual capabilities. The design is result oriented and is inspired by Amartya Sen's capability theory. It reduces information asymmetries and controls unintended use. Conditions are broadly specified by law and in protocols of good practice that emphasize the reciprocal nature of rights and obligations. Public service motivation is enhanced and targeting further improved by mandating front-line agents to customize deliveries and conditions in line with the political guidance received in the protocols mentioned, on the basis of comply or explain.

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Journal of Human Development and Capabilities
Department of Public Administration

Wolfson, D.J. (2015). Implementing Fairness in Social Policy. Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, 16(2), 272–286. doi:10.1080/19452829.2014.939062