This chapter introduces the problems involved with responsive social policies. It start from the assumption that social policies are to be characterised as highly-institutionalised, path dependent systems. But against this background, various external development challenge the status quo of social policies. The chapter discusses both Dutch and international examples of the complex challenge of developing responsive social policies in societies that seem to be constantly changing. Building upon theoretical approaches on welfare regimes, the chapter discusses the three domains of social policies that play a central role in this: sheltered work, social assistance and labour market policies. This chapter argues that the current economic and financial crisis makes the issue of responsive social policies even more urgent and magnifies the tensions and dilemmas involved with responsive social policies.
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