Barteleheimer, P., Verd, J.M., Lehweß-Litzmann, R., Lopez Andreu, Marti and Schmidt, T. (2012) Unemployment, intervention and capabilities. A comparative study of Germany and Spain. Transfer : European Review of Labour and Research, 18 (1). pp. 31-44. ISSN 1024-2589

Over the past 20 years, the social protection measures devoted to unemployed people in Europe have become more diverse. In an attempt to complement or curb cash transfers, many countries have put measures, services in kind and activation policies at the centre of social protection against unemployment. This article compares two countries with different policies: Spain, which still has very ‘traditional’ unemployment support with little emphasis on activation, and Germany, where there has in recent years been rapid change towards activation measures. The article evaluates these policies and their consequences on the unemployed by means of the capability model, investigating comparatively the effects of institutional intervention on the real set of options available to the unemployed in finding a decent job or pursuing training or other activities. The authors argue that cash transfers can increase capabilities ‘by default’, whereas more intervention-oriented public employment services need to give unemployed workers an active part in ‘tailoring’ supports to their needs.

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