Social Europe and Well-Being

Social investment


Making impact real

15 April 2015


“Just as it took the New Deal and the European social welfare state to make the Industrial Revolution work for the many and not the few during the 20th century, we need new social and political institutions to make 21st century capitalism work for the many and not the few.”

Center for American Progress, Report of the Commission on Inclusive Prosperity, 2015

This paper makes the case for using the new €315bn European Fund for Structural Investment to foster investment into: (i) preventative and capacity building programmes (“social investment”); (ii) projects achieving at the same time financial and social returns (“public good”) and (iii) multi-stakeholders partnerships systematically addressing entrenched social issues (“systemic social innovation”); as a means of renewing economic growth across the European Union.

We have made this case because it is clear that austerity alone cannot put Europe back on the path to growth.

Through a comprehensive literature review and discussion of case studies we illustrate the power of collaborative approaches between the public, private and third sectors.

We argue that a multi-stakeholder approach is essential in order to properly account for the complexity of social needs. We show that public funds have the potential to leverage private capital, thereby providing the resources we need to create social change.

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