Activation and social inclusion: challenges and possibilities

The last two decades have seen an increasing focus on the activation of individuals receiving welfare benefits. This has entailed an attempt to transform employment assistance and social security systems to make them more employment-friendly through the development of explicit linkages between social protection policies, labour market participation and labour market programs. At the same time there has been a growing interest in the concept of social inclusion, and social inclusion has been a commonly stated goal of activation programs. However, despite some synergies between these two approaches, in other respects it is not clear that they are always compatible. This paper explores the extent to which activation programs are central to the social inclusion approach and the similarities and differences between these approaches. It then briefly examines the evidence regarding the ability of activation programs to enhance social inclusion. Keywords: activation, social inclusion, participation.

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