Approaches to social investment from the scientific perspective

This report presents the current state of research and scientific debate on the ‘Social Investment’ policy paradigm in European countries. An extensive review of literature and scientific sources is presented in this document covering the areas of social investment research in selected countries of the European Union.

The aim of the review was to identify innovative and strategic approaches to social welfare reform, which have been described in the existing scientific literature since 2000. Different types of scientific sources in 10 languages were reviewed including: academic papers, monographs, chapters from academic volumes, conference papers and scientific reports, both theoretical and empirical. Based on the review we answer research questions about defining the social investment concept, the main perspectives used to analyse the social investment, instruments of social investment, facilitators and limitations for their implementation in the welfare systems.

The review shows that social investment as an idea, concept and policy attracts attention and raises discussion among scholars and researchers. Some researchers and academics assess this new social policy paradigm very critically while others see it is a proper answer for current social, economic and demographic trends and challenges in Europe.

The report explains the reasons why this new paradigm and strategy of social policy has been established and developed by social scientists and policy makers. The analysis of scientific literature on the issues and problems of social investments collected as part of the query provides evidence of its significant contribution into scientific knowledge on the “Social Investment” concept, both in theoretical and practical terms. The issues covered in the scientific literature relate to relevant aspects of the concept of the “Social Investment; they form the basis for scientific reflections and stimulus for further research studies. Scientific texts can also serve practitioners involved into information searching, planning and conducting activities in the field of social policy.

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