Informations and abstract
Keywords: Social investment, Human capital, Productive social policy, Equality and efficiency, Skills
Since the 1990s, new ideas concerning the role and shape of social policy have emerged, which stress the productive potential of social policy and provide a new economic rationale for social policy provision. These ideas underpin what is now commonly referred to as 'social investment'. This article analyses the ideas behind this social investment perspective, outlines the policies that are associated to it, and discusses the extent to which these policies have actually been implemented in Europe, and with what success. It then discusses the critiques and possible pitfalls or shortcomings of the social investment perspective. Finally, the article underlines the relevance of a social investment strategy in Europe that focuses on human capital development and its preservation throughout the life-course, and suggests that there are lessons that could be drawn from the Nordic countries in the present context of economic crisis.