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A crucial component of the new social investment paradigm is the provision of capacitating social services aimed at the early identification and mitigation of problems. We argue that conceiving of this paradigm change as a comprehensive and concerted investment is misguided. That perspective ignores more practical, piecemeal approaches in which costs and benefits are clarified through efforts at implementation, rather than estimated ex ante. Similarly, in this bottom-up approach, reform coalitions are not formed through comprehensive initial bargaining, but rather developed on the fly as programmes demonstrate their benefits and create clienteles. A crucial proviso is that decentralized efforts are carefully monitored to rapidly identify dead ends and generalizable successes. To illustrate the possibilities of the bottom-up approach, we discuss the Perspective 50plus programme for the activation of older workers in Germany and the current decentralization of social care in the Netherlands.


Comparative and Foreign Law | Law