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Technequality Webinar 3: 10 February 2021, 12.00 - 13.00h CET

This is the third webinar in a series of three. If you wish to attend, please send an email to Technequality-sbe@maastrichtuniversity.nl and we will send you an invitation.

Title: Which Regime Works best in Social Welfare? Comparison of Outcomes of Dutch RCT Experiments and Lessons Learned for Social Policy.

By Prof. Dr. Ruud Muffels (Tilburg University)

Abstract: 

Theory, but also empirical and simulation studies predict that current technological innovations (automation, robotisation, digitization, AI, big data) may have adverse employment effects notably for the low skilled welfare recipient, tempting us to rethink the assumptions underlying the social contract. Even before but certainly after the outbreak of the COVID-19 health crisis they face increasingly reduced chances for getting access to secure and fairly-paid jobs also while two in three lack the basic qualifications needed to acquire the lowest level jobs, let alone that also two in three consider themselves unfit to work due to serious physical and mental health issues. For these reasons nine Dutch municipalities (Deventer, Groningen, Nijmegen, Tilburg, Utrecht, Wageningen, Amsterdam, Apeldoorn, Oss) started in the fall of 2017 or early spring 2018 a two-year long rather unique randomized control trial (RCT) experiment to test three alternative regimes for people on welfare in which more than 5,000 beneficiaries participated. The treatments set up were (1) self-management, that is exemption of the application obligations and rendering more trust and autonomy to the recipient, (2) earnings release, that is rewarding welfare claimants for finding work with an extra workbonus and (3) tailored support, that is providing tailored and intensified counselling support to improve claimants’ work and social participation opportunities (e.g in education, training or volunteer work). The experiments are very different from but resemble some features of participation and basic income approaches from which policies can learn. The findings show that notably intensive support and earnings release regimes don’t have reduced employment effects compared to ‘workfare’ regimes while having in some cases positive effects on parttime work and on people’s self-efficacy, their trust in caseworker’ support and their health and welbeing. Using field experiments for testing the outcomes of alternative welfare regimes provide promiseful new avenues for welfare state policy reforms in an era of rapid technological and economic change.   

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