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The pros and cons of ‘Quid pro quo’: client impact of obligatory participation in voluntary work as variety of conditional welfare

Publication of Urban Talent
P.H.J. Aa,van der, C. Vries, de | Conference contribution | Publication date: 26 June 2018
This paper advances the case for a contextualized perspective on client impact of obligatory participation in welfare to work as a form of conditional welfare. We argue that at least three types of potentially variable characteristics of programmes as they are actually implemented matter for understanding client outcomes: the nature of obligations, the room for individual choice and sanctioning policies. We illustrate this argument with a casestudy on client impact of the Dutch ‘Tegenprestatie’ programme, which obliges social assistance recipients to engage in voluntary work without labour market perspective. This programme combines a range of possibilities to fulfil the behavioural condition, ample room for individual choice and a soft sanctioning regime in practice. We find positive client impact on indicators related to wellbeing and social participation. Whether this leads to a justifiable example of conditional welfare is discussed.

Author(s) - affiliated with Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences

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