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New CSB Working Paper: The Active Welfare State Revisited

02 Nov 2012

This paper revisits social policy developments in Belgium in the decade 2000-2010 on the basis of stylized facts with regard to spending, employment, the social policy caseload, dependency rates and poverty. With regard to spending it focuses on the long-term evolution in Belgian public social spending and the extent to which the observed spending pattern accommodated the perceived emergence of new social risks.

By means of ‘budgetary effort indicators’, the analysis disentangles the impact of demographic evolutions from deliberate shifts in broad policy priorities. In addition, the paper addresses some critical points in the performance of the Belgian welfare state, such as the rising number of children at risk of poverty, the need to anticipate long-term demographic ageing, and (briefly) the need for structural changes in parts of the health care system. I conclude that preparing the next wave of social reform is imperative for this country.

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