Themed ‘Which indicators for a better integration of the social investment concept and a move towards upwards social convergence’, this CESI-EPC workshop followed earlier editions on ‘Measuring the efficiency and effectiveness of social investment policies and designing the right policy mix’ on October 9 2015 and ‘How to integrate the concept of social investment in the macro-economic and fiscal governance instruments of the EU?’ on February 23 2016.
Chaired by Lieve Fransen, EPC external expert on social policies and former Director for social policies and Europe 2020 at the European Commission, the workshop featured interventions by Diego Collado from the Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy and Anton Hemerijck from the Free University of Amsterdam.
Reflections were presented by Claire Dhéret from the EPC and Frank Vandenbroucke from the University of Amsterdam. Further input was provided Klaus Heeger, CESI Secretary General, Fabian Zuleeg, Chief Executive and Chief Economist of the EPC, Christian Bodewig, Programme Lead for EU Member States at the World Bank, as well as by representatives from the Brussels-based organised civil society, among them the Social Platform, Eurodiaconia, Caritas and Solidar.
During the debate, a discussion ensued in particular about a possible measurement of specific impacts of specific social investments on individuals over time – After all, established indicators on, for example, poverty so far fail to shed light on which social policies impact on them to which degree and at which speed. The ability to measure impacts of social investments in more detail would make it easier for policy makers to design the right social investment measures, it was argued.
It emerged that such precise measurements are, however, conditioned by the ability of social scientists and social economists to deliver research results as exact as in “chemistry laboratories”. It was argued that in areas such as education and training, “proves stronger than plausibility” can be established, even if “delivering chemistry” is (still) difficult in other areas. In any case, several participants said, even plausibility should make a strong case in favour of social investments.
Based on the input of the three CESI-EPC seminars on social investments, the EPC will during the next months work on a publication on how to foster social investments in Europe.
Picture: Fabian Zuleeg, Klaus Heeger, Lieve Fransen and Diego Collado at the CESI-EPC workshop © CESI 2016