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Rannveig Traustadóttir, James G. Rice and Kristjana Jokumsen

This chapter examines factors contributing to a successful transition to and inclusion in the labour market for minority ethnic youth and youth with disabilities in Iceland. The analysis is based on a qualitative interview study with minority ethnic youth and youth with disabilities in the 16–30 age range, as well as employers and labour market activation professionals. The data demonstrate that formal social regulation played an important role in employment outcomes. However, the outcomes were also dependent on a number of informal mechanisms and the nature of employment in question. Social networks appeared to be a key factor common to both minority ethnic youth and youth with disabilities. People of minority ethnic background often found employment as a result of their network of friends and family. In contrast, the factors for success for youth with disabilities tended to depend more upon activation counsellors, supported employment programmes and wage subsidies.

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William N. Dunn

The policy sciences, a multidisciplinary movement initiated by Harold D. Lasswell and a group of collaborators including Myres S. McDougall, Abraham Kaplan, and Daniel Lerner, provided a new vision of the relation between the social sciences and policymaking. Few before Lasswell had combined multidisciplinary breadth with a pragmatic theory of knowledge that saw ideas as instruments of practical action. Policy decisions were the consequence of an abductive (not deductive or inductive) process of responding to the indeterminacy that Dewey called a problem situation. The response required, first, stating a desired future outcome, and then identifying the causal mechanisms necessary to achieve it. Although there had been prior efforts to develop multidisciplinary research based on various social science disciplines, only the policy sciences integrated multidisciplinarity with a pragmatic theory of knowledge and action. This pragmatist perspective, which has touched virtually every aspect of teaching and research in public policy, not only mandated the creation of knowledge about the policymaking process, but insisted that such knowledge be used to improve that process. Lasswell’s theory of the decision process, contrary to critics who see that theory as a linear or mono-cyclical “stages heuristic,” is a product of John Dewey’s functionalist theory of social and behavioral change, on one hand, and Chester Barnard’s concept of the decision as the basic unit of analysis in policymaking. Lasswell’s theory of the decision process, properly conceived, should be reinvented in these pragmatist and functionalist terms.

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John Grin

The normal state of a policy domain is stasis: issues are solved and settled within, and reproducing, the domain’s structural features. Transformative change is the exception, but in the early 21st century a topical one: think of transforming welfare states, identity politics and the transition to sustainability. This chapter reviews theories that seek to explain stasis and change in the same terms. Using examples as illustrations, it discusses various branches of theory. Regarding punctuated equilibrium theory, there appears ample evidence for the main causal claims of the theory, but the role of agency and reflexivity remains obscure. Early neo-institutionalist theorizing is demonstrated to pay more attention to agency and ideas, yet more to explain stasis than change. On the latter account, interpretive and discursive neo-institutionalist theories do much better. Yet future theorizing may benefit from fields like transition studies and urban studies, where the intertwining of policy and societal practices is emphasized.

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Michael Howlett, Ishani Mukherjee and J.J. Woo

Anyone interested in policy studies, policy analysis, policy evaluation and policy management should be aware of, and knowledgeable about, the origins, nature and capabilities of different policy tools. They are a critical part of policy-making, providing the “means” by which policy “ends” are achieved, but also often becoming ends-in-themselves as supporters and beneficiaries build up around tool choices. They are and have been the subject of inquiry in many policy-related fields, including public administration and “governance” studies, but also various broader disciplines such as political science and economics and in policy analysis and policy studies writ large, as well as in sector-specific areas such as health studies, energy and utilities studies, labor studies, social policy studies, women’s studies, international studies and many others. This chapter examines, reviews and assesses what these literatures have to say about instruments and instrument choices and derives lessons from them concerning where the study of policy tools has been over the past three decades and where it is heading in the contemporary epoch.

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Edward C. Page

If policy is what government chooses to do or not to do, this leaves open the question of the nature of the choices made. They might not be made by politicians or senior officials, but rather be the result of the activities and decisions of those much lower down, or even people outside government. Some such choices might not really be choices at all, but rather reflect an undeliberated acceptance of inertia, external constraints or faits accomplis. The nature of choices made by government is thus highly diverse. This diversity can be significantly simplified by recognising that there are two main dimensions to all policy making: a heroic and a humdrum dimension. The nature of these two dimensions, their relationship and their significance are explored on the basis of one example drawn from UK experience, the 2002 Proceeds of Crime Act and its subsequent development and elaboration.

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Christer Hyggen, Lidija Kolouh-Söderlund, Terje Olsen and Jenny Tägtström

This chapter examines the situation for young adults in the Nordic countries in education and in the labour market. The authors identify the risk factors for school dropout, unemployment and NEET (not in employment, education or training). After discussing the impact of gender, minority ethnic status, disability and health conditions, the chapter further synthesizes evaluations of the Nordic tradition for Youth Guarantees, and reforms in the education system and active labour market policy measures aimed at reducing the risk of exclusion of young adults from the labour market. Previous research has, however, provided limited knowledge about the effectiveness of the different policy measures. The authors conclude by calling for more differentiated and nuanced outcome measures to improve the quality of future policy evaluations.

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Youth, Diversity and Employment

Comparative Perspectives on Labour Market Policies

Edited by Rune Halvorsen and Bjørn Hvinden

Including youth in the labour market is a major challenge facing many European countries. This book examines the transitions from education to employment with a focus on Nordic youth in the broader European context. The book combines insights from the social sciences and law by linking the challenges facing young people in general and the more specific barriers facing the more vulnerable groups of young people. Youth, Diversity and Employment provides original insights on the interdependencies or interaction between redistributive and regulatory social policies.
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Rune Halvorsen and Bjørn Hvinden

Many observers have considered the Nordic countries as a group of countries with shared priorities for redistribution-oriented provisions, and recently, a group providing similar responses to supranational and domestic expectations to adopt new and statutory social regulation instruments to ensure non-discrimination in the labour market. Yet, policy reforms since the late 1990s and early 2000s provide the authors in this volume with reasons to re-examine whether this is still the case and how the Nordic countries perform in facilitating the transition to the labour market for young adults. This chapter argues for seeing the Nordic countries as a case of both theoretical and political interest in the wider European context. The chapter presents the analytic framework for the volume as a whole and the main compositional factors relevant to examining old and new social risks and intersectionality for young adults in transition from education to employment.

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Martin Seeleib-Kaiser and Thees F. Spreckelsen

This chapter first investigates whether a ‘Nordic’ model exists with regard to youth labour market outsiderness, if compared to labour market outcomes in Britain and Germany. Second, the chapter examines how differences of youth labour market outsiderness in the Nordic countries, Germany and Britain are compounded by different types of outsiderness and gender differences. The authors analyse distributions of outsiders, their educational attainment, and time since having left school across countries defined by three welfare and education regimes. The analyses demonstrate that youth outsiderness in all countries affects women more than men. There seems to be no consistent Nordic regime when it comes to youth labour market outsiderness. Clear differences emerged when looking at the countries individually. By contrast, dualization characterizes Britain and Germany, which is consistent with previous research and theoretical expectations.

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Edited by David Levi-Faur and Frans van Waarden