Keynote speakers

Anton Hemerijck

Anton Hemerijck

Professor of Political Science and Sociology

Anton Hemerijck joined the EUI, as Professor of Political Science and Sociology, in January 2017. Trained as an economist at Tilburg University in the Netherlands, he took his doctorate from Oxford University. In his capacity of Dean of the Faculty of the Social Sciences at the Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam, together with Jonathan Zeitlin, he founded with the University of Amsterdam, the Amsterdam Centre for Contemporary European Studies (ACCESS EUROPE). He also directed the Scientific Council for Government Policy (WRR), the principle think tank in the Netherlands, while holding a professorship in Comparative European Social Policy at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. Between 1996 and 2000 he was senior researcher at the Max-Planck-Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne. In addition, he has held numerous visiting appointments, ranging from MIT to the University of Lisbon, the University of Antwerp, the Collegio Carlo Alberto of Turin University. Between 2014 and 2017, Anton Hemerijck was Centennial Professor of Social Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).  Over the past decade he frequently served as an advisor on social policy, social investment and the welfare state for the European Commission. Key publications include Changing Welfare States (2013) and The Uses of Social Investment (2017), both published with Oxford University Press.  

For  a CV and complete list of publications, please refer to the following website

Title of key-note: “Social Investment Complementarities and Wellbeing”

The concept of social investment has gained progressive traction in scholarly debates and policy-making arena’s. Like any notion of ‘investment’, social investment connotes the possibility of measurable ‘social returns’. Fundamental to social investment returns is the critical importance of the synergy effects of three complementary policy functions related to diverse aspects of social wellbeing: (1) improving the ‘stock’ of human capital; (2) easing the ‘flow’ of labour market and life-course transitions; and (3) maintaining and updating inclusive  social protection ‘buffers’. This makes assessing social investment ‘returns’ an intricate undertaking.  SFB (stock, flow and buffer) policies are not siloed interventions: their effectiveness depend on how they complement and interact with each other. Moreover policy complementarities can unravel differently for different social groups, and across different stages of the life course. Current approaches in both sociology and political science, as they remain stuck in a paradigmatic cul de sac of reducing welfare provision to (re-)distributive policy and politics, fail to grasp the multidimensional portent of social investment and wellbeing returns. To gain a better understanding of the character, accomplishments and problems with social investment policy mixes, there is an urgent need to improve on the methodological toolbox of welfare state research, as this. Our proposal is to develop a ‘layered’ methodology, based on five cumulatively complementary levels of analysis: (1) quantitative-macro analysis of welfare states’ SFB  efforts and alignment over the long run; (2) quantitative-micro analysis of the potential for policy interactions to smoothen individual life-course transitions; (3) quantitative-micro analyses of the subjective appreciation of such policy interactions; (4) qualitative-institutional analysis of (long-term) temporal sequences of SFB policy reform (and/or lack thereof); and (5) qualitative-institutional analysis of subnational social investment policy delivery at the local level. Each layer provides a distinct aspect of inferential leverage, based on fit-for-purpose methods for developing a comprehensive understanding of the general regularities in social investment (non-)returns and of the institutional mechanisms which (fail to) make policy complementarity work across EU welfare states, with a focus on (vulnerable) risk groups in the working-age population. In the final instance the five complementary layers of inference will be triangulated through a meta-analysis that explains – in a cumulatively plausible fashion – the concordant and discordant results from the different layers of analysis.

Hosted by

Institute of Sociology and Social Work
Faculty of Philosophy
Vilnius University

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