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A new social contract in western welfare states in an era of climate change, digitalization and ageing

  • Bea Cantillon (University of Antwerp)
Thursday 11 May 2023
Kamerlingh Onnes Building
Steenschuur 25
2311 ES Leiden

The Social Citizenship and Migration research program would like to invite you to a seminar given by Bea Cantillon (University of Antwerp).

Lunch will be served at this event, to attend please contact: e.suari.andreu@law.leidenuniv.nl


The main mission of the welfare state is to improve the living conditions of the vulnerable in society. For many decades, however, the welfare state has failed to reduce poverty among the active population, in Belgium and elsewhere in Western welfare states. This is not only related to policy failures, there is more to it. The simultaneous increase of poverty, employment and social spending point to a systemic crisis of the welfare state : increasingly it has become more difficult to achieve decent incomes for all while preserving sufficient work incentives without greater efforts in terms of the size and the progressivity of social spending. To better manage climate change, digitalization and ageing a new social contract is therefore needed. That social contract should build on the achievements of the post-war social welfare state but it has to offer more security: by putting a floor under incomes, by broadening the repertoire of work, by including taxes on wealth and carbon emissions in the redistribution process and by intensifying the cooperation in the European and global context.

About the speaker

Bea Cantillon is Professor of Social Policy and member of the Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy at the University of Antwerp. She has acted as a consultant to, among others, the OECD, the European Commission, and the Belgian government. Currently, she is member of the Belgian High Council for Employment. Bea Cantillon is fellow of the Royal Belgian Academy of Sciences and corresponding fellow of the British Academy.  She was awarded a Doctorate honoris causa by UCLouvain Saint-Louis Brussels and the Van Doorn Chair at the Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences in Rotterdam. Recent book publications include Reconciling Work and Poverty Reduction (with F. Vandenbroucke )and Decent Incomes for all ( with Tim Goedemé and John Hills ) both with Oxford University Press. She co-authored the book Social Indicators, The EU and Social Inclusion with Tony Atkinson, Erik Marlier and Brian Nolan also with Oxford University Press. Recently she published several papers on EU social funding, FEAD in particular.

About the program

The Social Citizenship and Migration program is one of the multidisciplinary stimulation programs at Leiden University. In the SC&M program, Leiden experts in public administration, law, economics, humanities and social and behavioural sciences look together at the issue of migration. They combine their knowledge of migration in the past, social patterns and perceptions of migrants, and share their findings with other researchers, policymakers and society at large. Find more information here.

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