Activation for all? The development of activation regimes for incapacity benefit claimants in three vanguard welfare states
Literature on active labour market policy (ALMP) has not yet been able to generate as much insightful analysis for claimants of ‘inactive’ non-employment benefits, particularly those related to disability and ill-health, as it has for unemployment benefits more generally. Much groundwork has been done, but it falls short of being able to offer us a better understanding of the changing position of this claimant group within national welfare to work systems. In particular, there has been a lack of cross-national analysis.
There is much left to find out: are these claimants increasingly being seen as essentially the same as unemployment benefit claimants or are they still thought of as presenting a distinct policy challenge requiring new, innovative and well-funded approaches? How do they fare when times are tougher – does the burgeoning active policy agenda run aground when the problem of mass unemployment returns? It is argued that a cross-national analysis of recent changes in three welfare states will be able to shed light on the questions and one of the main issues that those answers will revolve around is the apparently highly fluid boundary between different claimant categories and the potential for them to be conflated by policy-makers in pursuit of an agenda.