Personal attention helps people to get out of social welfare

Het Parool

Is the strict way in which Rotterdam wants to help people get out of social welfare more effective than the “soft” means of Amsterdam? According to Jan van Ours, Professor of Applied Economics at Erasmus School of Economics, personal attention works anyway.

The incentives for municipalities to do something about the large number of social welfare benefits have led to creativity in policy. Accepting a job is financially not a big step forward due to income-related allowances and discounts, causing people to stay in social welfare.

The number of social welfare benefits varies according to the situation on the job market. In bad times, the number of social welfare benefits rises. The other way around, in good times the social welfare benefits lower. Right now, we find ourselves in good times on the job market which means social welfare benefits decrease. That in both cities the total amount of social welfare benefits declined should therefore not come as a surprise. In the last two years Rotterdam has done a better job compared to Amsterdam, while looking at a longer time span, Amsterdam is more constant.

Which policy is better, strict or friendly? According to Jan van Ours we should not underestimate the importance of personal attention. It will lead to leaving social welfare benefit programs faster, regardless of the approach.

Erasmus School of Economics
More information

Read the entire article on Het Parool, 6 September 2019 (in Dutch).