Social care policy reform in the Netherlands and its effects on the welfare mix

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Although some may require more than others, during one’s lifetime everyone will at some point require some form of social care. The way social care is organized determines where and how people who require social care are being cared for and by whom. The role that the modern welfare state plays in the organization and provision of social care has grown tremendously after World War II. This, together with a rapidly growing percentage of elderly people in some developed welfare states and the sharply risen labor participation of women has meant that the study of social care policy should be of great interest to the field of welfare state research. However, social care research does not receive the attention it deserves because the concept of social care has not been adequately integrated into mainstream welfare state research. This study aims to overcome this problem by developing a definition of social care which has three dimensions: rights, labor and costs. This concept is then integrated into an analytical framework based on the idea of the welfare mix, which is prevalent in mainstream welfare state research. This framework is used to analyze a case social care policy reform in the Netherlands; the introduction of the Social Support Act (WMO). The analysis shows that this reform has reduced the role of the state in terms of responsibility, labor and costs, and has shifted these burdens towards the market and the family.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen