Financing social investment for an economy of well-being: Moving from good practices to a paradigm shift

16 July 2019
Claire Dhéret (Head of Social Europe & Well-being programme and Senior Policy Analyst) and Marta Pilati (Policy Analyst)

Growing socio-economic disparities in the EU, both within and between member states, pose a serious threat to the Union’s social model, political viability, and its economic strength. In the absence of adequate levels of public investment, and with the added pressures of an ageing population and societal changes, Claire Dhéret and Marta Pilati make the case for a paradigm shift in the financing of social investment. The latter is based on the idea that investing in human and social capital enhances individuals’ capabilities and enables them to successfully participate in society and the economy, resulting in a more skilled, resilient and healthy workforce.

But where will the money come from? In this Policy Brief, Dhéret and Pilati investigate the unlocked potential of EU financial instruments in fostering social investment, and the unique opportunity provided by the next Multiannual Financial Framework (2021-2027) and the InvestEU programme. Although the Commission’s efforts have been commendable so far, they argue for additional EU measures to ensure the creation of a genuine market for the social economy, which will not only help re-invigorate Europe’s social model but also make it a global champion for an ‘economy of well-being’.

The EU can do this by: (1) ensuring that financial regulation is not an obstacle to social investment; (2) supporting social innovation throughout the entire social policy production chain; and (3) integrating national social investment strategies into the larger European policy framework.

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