Two decades ago, leading social scientists published the much-cited Why we need a new welfare state (Esping-Andersen et al. 2002), in which they proposed a new welfare architecture centred around social investment strategies as a way to combine social justice commitments with competitive market economies. Today, social investment is a well-established policy paradigm with the Nordic countries, the UK and New Zealand often depicted as frontrunners. Social investment rationales are embedded in metrics to evaluate welfare policies from the level of international benchmarking in the EU and the OECD to models, such as the Social-economic Investment Model (SØM), developed by VIVE, tailored to measure cost-benefit of specific public programs.
So far, most social investment research focuses on the economic aspects of the rationale, while ethical and social consequences as well as subjective experiences remain understudied. Therefore, this research project sets out to investigate how social investment rationales work in everyday practice at the frontline of welfare states. The aim is to unravel the political, ethical and practical consequences of social investment rationales.
The research project is funded by the Independent Research Fund Denmark, Ditte Andersen is principal investigator, and it is planned to end in January 2027.
The research project encompass two tracks.
Track 1: Empirical case studies of social investments in care for marginalized citizens
Track 2: The social investment research group