New governance and the case of activation policies: comparing experiences in Denmark and the Netherlands

Colin Dale Lindsay, Ronald W McQuaid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article explores the importance of new forms of governance in active labour market policies (activation) in two countries: Denmark and the Netherlands. Drawing on research with key stakeholders in these countries, we analyse how new governance, and particularly processes of contracting-out and localization, have found expression in recent reforms to activation. We conclude that localization and contracting-out may have a future role to play in the development of more locally responsive and individually focused services. But both countries have encountered problems in promoting joined-up services through local jobcentres, while contracting-out has not always led to the tailored, individually focused services envisaged by policy-makers. In both countries, there are also concerns that the restriction of the Public Employment Service to a ‘gatekeeping and signposting’ role will lead to inconsistencies in the quality of services, exposing the most disadvantaged to greater social risk.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)445-463
Number of pages19
JournalSocial Policy and Administration
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2009


  • Unemployment
  • Employability
  • Public Employment Service
  • de-monopolization
  • Denmark
  • The Netherlands

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