Local Policies and the European Social Fund: Employment Policies Across Europe 9781447346524

This book reviews how local social and employment policy fields react to the European Social Fund (ESF) to determine the

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Table of contents :
Front cover
Halftitle Page
Title Page
Copyright Page
Table of Contents
List of tables and figures
List of abbreviations
Acknowledgements
Series preface
1. Introduction
2. Social and employment policies in Europe from a multilevel perspective
Cohesion policy, soft tools and strategisation: the European dimension
Between implementation and autonomy: the role of the local level
The local level in a European context
3. Domestic responses to European money: A theoretical perspective
Europeanisation research: core concepts and challenges
A field perspective on the process of change
Changing fields of local labour market policies
4. The research programme in a nutshell
A conditional perspective and suitable tools
The empirical basis of the study
Basic strategies and key decisions in calibration and analyses
5. Comparative insights into local responses to the European Social Fund
Using European money: descriptive discussion of the usages of the ESF
Experiencing the effects of EU funding: descriptive insights into ESF-induced change
The bigger picture: patterns of responses to the ESF across Europe
6. What responses under what conditions? Formal qualitative comparative analyses and preliminary interpretations
Contextual conditions for usage of the ESF
Contextual conditions for ESF-induced change
A preliminary typology of local responses to the ESF
7. Beyond numbers: Using case study insights to support interpretation
Administrative burdens and stable fields: non-usage of the ESF
Establishing routines and standards through the ESF: usage and change
Strategic action versus cognitive processes: usage without change
8. A broader perspective on local policies and the European Social Fund
A typology of local responses to the ESF
Generalisation beyond the EU?
Implications for theory
9. Conclusion
Main argument and summary of the findings
Contributions and limitations of the study
On ‘Trojan Horses’, incentives and conditionality in the EU
References
Appendix: Calibration material
Set concepts
Coding framework
Case profiles
Index
Back cover
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LOCAL POLICIES AND THE EUROPEAN SOCIAL FUND

Also available in the series Welfare, populism and welfare chauvinism By Bent Greve Why, in a time of increasing inequality, has there been a recent surge of support for political parties who promote an anti-welfare message? Using a mixed methods approach and newly released data, this book aims to answer this question and to show possible ways forward for welfare states. HB £75.00 ISBN 9781447350439 168 pages June 2019

Dualisation of part-time work The development of labour market insiders and outsiders Edited by Heidi Nicolaisen, Hanne Cecilie Kavli and Ragnhild Steen Jensen This book brings together leading international authors from a number of fields to provide an up to date understanding of part-time work at national, sector, industry and workplace levels. HB £75.00 ISBN 9781447348603 248 pages June 2019

The moral economy of activation Ideas, politics and policies By Magnus Hansen By rethinking the role of ideas and morality in policy changes, this book illustrates how the moral economy of activation leads to a permanent behaviourist testing of the unemployed in public debate as well as in local jobcentres. HB £75.00 ISBN 9781447349969 208 pages September 2019

For a full list of all titles in the series visit: bristoluniversitypress.co.uk/ research-in-comparative-and-global-social-policy

LOCAL POLICIES AND THE EUROPEAN SOCIAL FUND Employment Policies across Europe Katharina Zimmermann

First published in Great Britain in 2019 by Policy Press North America office: University of Bristol Policy Press 1-9 Old Park Hill c/o The University of Chicago Press Bristol 1427 East 60th Street BS2 8BB Chicago, IL 60637, USA UK t: +1 773 702 7700 t: +44 (0)117 954 5940 f: +1 773-702-9756 [email protected] [email protected] www.policypress.co.uk www.press.uchicago.edu © Policy Press 2019 British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data A catalog record for this book has been requested 978-1-4473-4651-7 hardback 978-1-4473-4652-4 ePdf 978-1-4473-4653-1 ePub The rights of Katharina Zimmermann to be identified as author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved: no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without the prior permission of Policy Press. The statements and opinions contained within this publication are solely those of the author and not of the University of Bristol or Policy Press. The University of Bristol and Policy Press disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any material published in this publication. Policy Press works to counter discrimination on grounds of gender, race, disability, age and sexuality. Cover design by Andrew Corbett Printed and bound in Great Britain by CPI Group (UK) Ltd, Croydon, CR0 4YY Policy Press uses environmentally responsible print partners

Contents List of tables and figures vii List of abbreviations viii Acknowledgements ix Series preface xi 1

Introduction

1

2

Social and employment policies in Europe from 7 a multilevel perspective Cohesion policy, soft tools and strategisation: the European 8 dimension Between implementation and autonomy: the role of 13 the local level The local level in a European context 18

3

Domestic responses to European money: A theoretical perspective Europeanisation research: core concepts and challenges A field perspective on the process of change Changing fields of local labour market policies

25

4

The research programme in a nutshell A conditional perspective and suitable tools The empirical basis of the study Basic strategies and key decisions in calibration and analyses

45 45 49 55

5

Comparative insights into local responses to the European Social Fund Using European money: descriptive discussion of the usages of the ESF Experiencing the effects of EU funding: descriptive insights into ESF-induced change The bigger picture: patterns of responses to the ESF across Europe

61

v

26 29 36

62 69 76

Local Policies and the European Social Fund

6

What responses under what conditions? Formal qualitative comparative analyses and preliminary interpretations Contextual conditions for usage of the ESF Contextual conditions for ESF-induced change A preliminary typology of local responses to the ESF

81 82 90 96

7

Beyond numbers: Using case study insights to support 103 interpretation Administrative burdens and stable fields: non-usage of 104 the ESF Establishing routines and standards through the ESF: usage 107 and change Strategic action versus cognitive processes: usage 114 without change

8

A broader perspective on local policies and the European Social Fund A typology of local responses to the ESF Generalisation beyond the EU? Implications for theory

123

Conclusion Main argument and summary of the findings Contributions and limitations of the study On ‘Trojan Horses’, incentives and conditionality in the EU

143 143 147 151

9

124 132 139

References 155 Appendix: Calibration material Set concepts Coding framework Case profiles

169 170 174 186

Index

205

vi

List of tables and figures Tables 2.1 4.1 4.2 5.1 5.2 5.3 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5

The different facets of the ESF as an integrated governance tool Basic case selection criteria Labels of fuzzy-set variables Concepts and set memberships for usage Concepts and set memberships for change Fuzzy-set memberships of usage and change Fuzzy-set scores for the analysis of conditions for usage Analyses of necessity and sufficiency for usage and ~usage Fuzzy-set scores for the analysis of conditions for change Analyses of necessity and sufficiency for change and ~change Solution paths for response patterns

13 53 56 68 74 77 86 88 91 94 98

Figures 3.1 3.2 4.1 5.1 6.1 8.1

Appropriation of an external event and the transformation 35 into field change The double-staged process of field change 43 Ideal-typical relationship between usage and change 58 Empirical representation of usage and change 79 Empirical response patterns and solution paths 100 A typology of responses to the ESF 131

vii

List of abbreviations ALMP ASEAN CEE CRPM EAFRD EC EES ERDF ESF EU FOCEM GDP IAI LTU MLG NGO NUTS OECD OMC OP PES PLIE QCA SAF TTR

active labour market policy Association of Southeast Asian Nations Central and Eastern European (countries) Comisión de representantes permanentes del Mercosur European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development European Community European Employment Strategy European Regional Development Fund European Social Fund European Union Fondo para la convergencia estructural del Mercosur Gross Domestic Product Initiative for ASEAN Integration long-term unemployed (policy) multilevel governance non-governmental organisation Nomenclature des unités territoriales statistiques Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development open method of coordination operational programmes public employment services Plans locaux pour l’insertion et l’emploi qualitative comparative analysis strategic action fields truth table rows

viii

Acknowledgements Writing a single-authored book is a lonely task. You become an expert in topics no one else seems to be really interested in, you get to know your data with an intimacy that others will never experience, and only you alone know about all the thoughts that will never appear in the final piece of work. Perhaps it is the loneliness of this work that makes the support from those who did accompany me on the path so remarkable. Writing a book might be a lonely task, but support and backup is nevertheless essential, wonderful and invaluable. The gratitude I feel for the various forms of support I experienced during the years I worked on this book is enormous. Without a doubt, the research and the writing process would not have been possible without the financial support of the European Union (EU)funded project LOCALISE (GA No  266768) and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation) (DFG)financed research group ‘Horizontal Europeanisation’ (FOR1539), and the publication process would not have succeeded without the great team at Policy Press, the fantastic input from the series editors and the anonymous reviewer, and the invaluable language edit. However, there are also numerous people who supported my writing in a much less institutionalised manner. These are, first of all, Martin Heidenreich, who strongly supported and encouraged me and gave me responsibilities to grow with, and Paolo Graziano, who patiently endured my interest in Europeanisation but luckily agrees that there is more out there. Furthermore, I am truly indebted not only to all the interview partners and experts who shared their most valuable insights into the world of European Social Fund (ESF) funding, but also to all my project colleagues in LOCALISE for their support and generosity. Also of great importance was the inspiring cooperation with my colleagues in Oldenburg and Berlin, namely, Patrizia Aurich, Fabian Gülzau, Deborah Rice, Lucia Leopold, Thomas Lux, Jannika Mattes, Ole Oeltjen, Norbert Petzold, Christina Siebolds and Kerstin Zemke. Thank you for sharing office space, coffee, conferences, PhD experiences, EU project management skills and many things more. Special thanks go to Jan-Ocko Heuer for being the perfect academic companion, for commenting on fancy figures, for making coffee whenever necessary, and for doing nightshifts for the sake of scientific correctness, and to Steffen Mau who taught me a lot and supported me in many ways, and made my stay at the European University

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Institute in Florence possible, where the final pages of this book were written. This wonderful place was a perfect setting for reflecting on the current state of the EU, and I also thank Ellen Immergut for her warm welcome there. My sincerest apologies I would like to convey to friends from the ‘real world’, who – if lucky – had to endure strange remarks on cream skimmers and refuseniks, or – if unlucky – had to find out that someone deep down in the scientific jungle sometimes overlooks the most important things in life. Thank you for bearing with me and for being forgiving. The very same also applies to my family – to my parents, who not only believed in me and encouraged me, but also supported my work, and especially to Tim, Hannah and Joshua. They undeservedly come last in these acknowledgements, but they are the ones who accompanied the writing process from the very first to the very last word, know about all the ups and downs, and had to put up with my monologues during breakfast, lunch or dinner. Luckily, this did not spread over to bedtime stories. Without you, I would most probably have suffered from various nervous breakdowns. You cheered me up, had my back, cooked the meals and cleaned the house, still asked about my day, believed in me and loved me. My biggest thanks go to you for this invaluable support.

x

Series preface Heejung Chung (University of Kent, UK) Alexandra Kaasch (University of Bielefeld, Germany) Stefan Kühner (Lingnan University, Hong Kong) In a world that is rapidly changing, increasingly connected and uncertain, there is a need to develop a shared applied policy analysis of welfare regimes around the globe. Research in Comparative and Global Social Policy is a series of books that addresses broad questions around how nation-states and transnational policy actors manage globally shared challenges. In so doing, the book series includes a wide array of contributions, which discuss comparative social policy history, development and reform within a broad international context. Initially conceived during a meeting of the UK Social Policy Association Executive Committee in 2016, the book series invites innovative research by leading experts on all world-regions and global social policy actors, and aims to fulfil the following objectives: it encourages cross-disciplinary approaches that develop theoretical frameworks reaching across individual world-regions and global actors; it seeks to provide evidence-based good practice examples that cross the bridge between academic research and practice; and not least, it aims to provide a platform in which a wide range of innovative methodological approaches, may it be national case studies, larger-N comparative studies or global social policy studies can be introduced to aid the evaluation, design and implementation of future social policies. The topic of this monograph by Katharina Zimmermann is on one of the key issues in the heart of debates in many European countries at the moment – namely, the role of the European Union and the implementation of cohesion policies at the national level. Despite growing Euroscepticism, harmonisation of European social policies is progressing, as is evidenced by the introduction of the new European pillars of social rights which aims to deliver new and more effective rights for citizens across Europe. Zimmermann’s book thus comes at a critical time to shed light on how European Social Funds help shape the implementation of local labour market policies, examining 18 detailed local case studies across six European countries. In this way, it speaks to some of the core aims of our book series by providing an in-depth examination of how supra-national/global actors affect

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local social policies – what we consider a relative undeveloped field. Zimmermann’s contribution stands out in its ability to capture the different policy levels comprehensively. The book also contributes to the field methodologically, through the qualitative comparative analysis approach, to better capture the complexity of the implementation process and find patterns of different approaches made. This excellent monograph provides us with a useful and timely tool to examine the role of supra-national organisations in regional integration and as the engines of change in local policies, a theme gaining importance across the globe.

xii

1

Introduction Cohesion Policy’s added value goes beyond investment in growth and jobs. Through its unique model of multi-level governance, it involves local and regional actors in the policy design and delivery, bringing in more efficiency and local knowledge. It “levers-in” and safeguards compliance with other Community policies – be it in the field of state aids, environment, transport, support for innovation or the information society. It works as a “Trojan horse” to improve and modernise public administrations, to enhance transparency, and to foster good governance.... (Danuta Hübner, Commissioner for Regional Policy, 2008) The well-known ‘Trojan Horse’ myth refers to a stratagem employed by the Greeks to conquer the city of Troy around the 12th century BC. Nowadays, the term has become a metaphor for a kind of hostile entity introduced from the outside but not recognised as such at first, just like the Greek soldiers who hid inside the wooden horse presented as a gift to the Trojans. It is, of course, entirely reasonable to use this metaphor to describe a computer virus that initially appears to be a harmless app, but why would we use this to describe European Union (EU) cohesion policies? Is it necessary to be ‘hostile’ towards domestic public administrations or other spheres in order to achieve compliance with EU policies? Are the European and the domestic level at war? Although anti-EU populist movements might indeed seek to create the impression that the EU is an enemy that diminishes domestic power and threatens democracy, this is, of course, not what Danuta Hübner means when she calls EU cohesion policies a ‘Trojan Horse’. Rather, she is obviously referring to the particular design of cohesion policies, where funding is linked to a number of programmatic and organisational features – ‘levering in’ and trying to achieve compliance with EU strategies in fields where regulatory competence and hierarchical power do not exist. EU policies might not be enemies in a wooden horse seeking to take over the member states, but they could very well be seen as monetary incentives in a ‘gilded horse’, seeking to bypass regulatory pathways for imposing influence on member states.

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In the myth, the Trojan people accepted the horse as a gift and were then confronted with Greek elite soldiers within their city walls. In cohesion policy, the gilded horse in the form of EU structural funding particularly targets subnational actors in the member states – regional and local administrations, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), businesses, associations and individuals. As so-called ‘beneficiaries’, they are eligible for EU funding, but this funding is intended for specific purposes and demands compliance with comprehensive procedural requirements. A person or institution wishing to access this money has to comply with the conditions – economic goods are offered in exchange for desirable behaviour in the same way as other incentivising policy instruments such as environmental taxes or subsidies for taking up jobs. However, what distinguishes cohesion policies from those ‘standard’ incentives is, first, that they are embedded in a particular multilevel setup rather than being part of a larger policy package in nation states, and second, that the desirable behaviour that is to be delivered in exchange for cohesion funding is probably not easy for the beneficiaries to grasp and is not easy to measure. The EU does not have general regulatory competences like nation states, but policy making and governance follow their own logic and differ across policy sectors. In some fields, such as social and employment policies, hierarchical policy making is not possible, yet time has shown that greater coordination among member states’ policies is nevertheless advisable in light of developments in other fields (the ‘spillover’ effect). In social and employment policy fields, so-called ‘soft tools’ were developed at the European level to achieve a better alignment of national frameworks and to increase adaptation to EU strategies. By pushing member states to report how they performed in relation to specific benchmarks, by making such performance statistics public, by introducing reporting duties or by sharing best practice examples, the EU sought to achieve alignment and adaptation in a ‘soft’ and non-hierarchal manner. When it turned out that the soft tools were not as successful as desired, one of the remedies was to create an even stronger link between financial incentives from cohesion funding and the soft tools and programmatic aims of EU policies. Cohesion funding has long been used as a financing tool for EU policy strategies, and it is closely linked to reporting and benchmarking procedures. For the beneficiaries of the funding, this means that what they have to deliver to receive the money involves implementing socalled ‘aid conditionalities’, that is, programmatic policy objectives and procedural requirements. Projects are funded if they address

2

Introduction

the right target groups and involve the right cooperation partners. Implementing a project means implementing European ideas and also applying a particular ‘project logic’, with specific funding, monitoring or reporting procedures. All of these programmatic and procedural aid conditionalities communicate particular concepts, practices, ideas and beliefs. And beyond the technical implementation of EU funding, these might, of course, have multiple effects at the beneficiary level. This book focuses particularly on these potential effects of cohesion policy at the ground level. It seeks to unravel what happens in practice when the beneficiaries are confronted with the ‘gilded horse’ of cohesion policy. This goes much beyond the question of how ‘successful’ cohesion policies are in implementing EU strategies, but addresses the more complex EU-induced change processes at the subnational domestic level. While the argument may apply to EU cohesion policies, the empirical focus is on the European Social Fund (ESF) and its role within local labour market policies. I have chosen this focus not only because it was necessary to limit the research interest to something of a reasonable and processable size, but also because the ESF has played a special role in the cohesion process. Established in 1957, it is the oldest EU cohesion tool, and because it funds EU social and employment policies, it also operates at the very heart of a specific governance constellation. Notably, the soft policy tools mentioned earlier were developed in this very field of social and employment policies, and it is this field that has most fiercely resisted greater integration efforts. Yet it is simultaneously considered a crucial element for pushing forward – and maybe rescuing – the European unification process. Especially since ‘disintegration events’ such as the Brexit process, social inequalities within Europe have been accused of being a major driver of nationalism, right-wing populism and Euroscepticism. Whether greater harmonisation of social security systems and more EU-wide ‘real’ redistribution is a utopia, the EU’s last chance, its destruction, or all of these three things, is a question that goes far beyond the scope of this book. Nevertheless, social and employment policies are of crucial relevance for European unification, and they deserve particular attention at the most basic level of their implementation. How local actors put the policies into practice, how they deal with what comes from the European level and what this might mean for the local actors, their organisational structures or even their policies and programmes are vital but so far under-researched questions. While much research has been done on the role of EU policies in national social and employment domains, the role of the

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subnational level – and particularly the perspectives of those who put the policies into practice – has not been considered in anything like sufficient depth. This is especially striking given the crucial role of EU funding and related governance attempts, as described by Danuta Hübner at the outset of this chapter. This is why this present study sets out to understand what the ESF ‘does to the local level’ from a comparative perspective, and asks what role the ESF plays in local labour market policies across Europe. More precisely, the study is interested in how local policy fields respond to the ESF, what shapes their responses, and what the effects of these responses are in terms of change in local policy fields. While this book’s substantive interest is in local labour market policies and European funding in a multilevel context, the analytical perspective is rooted in a particular research strand, namely, the research on Europeanisation, conceptualised as domestic adaptation to the EU (Vink and Graziano, 2007) or EU-induced domestic change (see, for example, Falkner et al, 2005). The aim is to find out more about ESF-induced Europeanisation processes in local labour market policies from a bottom-up perspective. This means that the empirical analysis starts at the level of the involved actors and asks how they react to the ESF and what this means for the local policy fields. Empirically, the study achieves this by conducting comprehensive in-depth case studies on local labour market policies in 18 different local cases across six European countries (Sweden, the UK, Germany, Poland, France and Italy), which reveal how local actors perceive and use the ESF, and how this shapes local policies and institutions. The analyses, which utilise qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) in combination with case study-based interpretations, reveal that the ESF money is not an attractive ‘gilded horse’ for local actors in each and every circumstance; instead, what is relevant is whether actors feel they are able to navigate the complex bureaucracy of the funding world or to deal with the co-funding requirements, or whether external funding is important because their own local environment does not provide them with stable financing and/or does not allow them to implement their preferred measures smoothly. Similarly, the actual impact of the ESF on local policy fields – for instance, in the form of increased cooperation between different local actors, the incorporation of EU-specific policy contexts into local programmes or a ‘projectification’ (for example, particular forms of monitoring or budget planning) of local implementation processes – depends on a variety of circumstances, which include whether and to what extent public actors support applying for and using the funding.

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Introduction

The book is structured in nine chapters (including this introductory chapter). Chapter 2 sets the stage by discussing social and employment policies at the European, national and subnational level, and by looking at the interdependencies of these different levels. This also includes a discussion of the ESF’s development trajectory from an unconditional simple financing instrument towards a complex governance tool that is meant to reinforce European social and employment policies by combining financial incentives with procedural and programmatic requirements. Chapter 3 then offers an analytical perspective: how does the local level respond to the new challenges presented by the ESF? In order to deal with methodological issues that arise when studying what is happening on the ground in a comprehensive multilayered setup, the study combines two research perspectives from two theoretical approaches: on the one hand, it draws on the Europeanisation debate from political science in order to understand how the ESF can be conceptualised as a powerful EU resource that is potentially of great interest for local actors. On the other hand, it adopts a sociological field perspective (more precisely, the strategic action field approach advocated by Neil Fligstein and Doug McAdam) in order to grasp what is happening on the ground within the local policy fields that encounter the ESF as an EU resource. The combination of these two debates, which to date have not been brought together, proved particularly useful for conceptualising the processes that this book is interested in, and for developing a number of theoretical expectations that will subsequently guide the empirical analyses. The research perspective developed in Chapter 3 is a conditional one, meaning that it focuses analytically on the contextual conditions that underpin the usage of the ESF and its impact on local policy fields. Chapter 4 lays out the epistemological aspects of this perspective, and prepares the methodological ground for empirical analyses of both the usage of and impact by the ESF and the contextual conditions behind these phenomena. This chapter provides a basic introduction to the core elements of QCA, as well as offering insights into case selection, data gathering and data processing. Chapters 5, 6 and 7 present the results of the empirical analyses stepwise: Chapter  5 focuses on providing descriptive insights into usages of the ESF and ESF-induced change. Here, empirical insights are presented in order to depict what different dimensions of usage and change look like in the empirical reality across the 18 local cases. Chapter 6 climbs up the ladder of abstraction and analyses in a formal manner, based on QCA, the contextual conditions behind different

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patterns of usage and change; this exercise reveals highly interesting insights into the interplay of different contextual conditions, but necessarily remains at a very abstract level. Chapter 7 therefore feeds these abstract results back to the qualitative material from the case studies. Here, the different phenomena that emerged from the QCA are interpreted in light of case knowledge. The combination of the QCA results and the interpretative discussions allow for a sound sensemaking process. On the basis of the comprehensive sense-making interpretations, Chapter 8 finally brings together the insights from the three empirical chapters and condenses them into a typology of local responses to the ESF. Here, three types of local responses are identified: a first type, the refuseniks, is characterised by the absence and irrelevance of the ESF in the local fields of labour market policies. For local actors in this type, the funding bureaucracy and co-funding requirements are a heavy burden, and at the same time, their own local field is, in their eyes, characterised by adequate financial, political or institutional stability. In such contexts, the local actors do not perceive the ESF as an attractive funding opportunity and deliberately refuse to use it. In contrast, in the second type, the cream skimmers, local actors mostly feel that their field is at least partially unstable due to weaker socioeconomic conditions or political instabilities; they hence cannot implement their preferred policies in a smooth manner. Thus, they see the ESF as a tool to push forward their own ideas of good employment policy measures, but do not engage with the underlying EU policy objectives or the procedural aspects in a more in-depth manner. This prevents ESF-induced change in these local cases and means the usage of the funding is still superficial. In the third type, the transformers, the usage of the ESF appears less strategic. Local cases of this type commonly use the ESF, a process that is ‘normalised’ by public interventions. This usage is then transformed into stable routines and hence indicates ESF-induced change, for instance, when actors build up cooperation through ESF projects and maintain these networks beyond the projects, or when projectification is learned in ESF administration and then also used in other contexts. Chapter 8 presents these three types and also discusses whether and to what extent they can be generalised beyond the studied local cases, and even beyond Europe. Chapter  9 concludes with a summary of the argument and the findings, highlights the main contributions of the book, and reflects on how the findings can be linked to current debates on the state of the EU.

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2

Social and employment policies in Europe from a multilevel perspective What are social and employment policies? And how do they relate to labour market, social services and economic policies? At first sight, this seems to be a simple question to answer. Usually, employment policies refer to the macro-economic efforts of countries to influence labour supply and demand, while labour market policies mostly mean passive and active measures to support unemployed people as well as labour regulations. The term ‘social policies’ commonly refers to social protection and public services that seek to improve people’s wellbeing, such as health services. However, in practice, clear distinctions are often difficult to draw. The boundaries between the three policy dimensions are always blurring, and both the process of European integration and the turn towards activation has increased the overlap significantly and made differentiations even harder to make. At the European level, social and employment policies are almost inseparably intertwined and have somehow become a fixed label. The term ‘EU social and employment policies’ now also describes measures and instruments that most probably would have been counted as belonging to labour market policies at the national level. At the same time, there is evidence of an approximation process underway between labour market policies and social policies in several European countries. Flexicurity agendas and a strong supply-side focus have emphasised the combination of passive and active instruments for unemployed people and the importance of linking them to social protection and social services to increase employability. Against this backdrop, the main purpose of this chapter is to give a broad overview of the dynamics and trends within social, labour market and employment policies1 in a European multilevel context in the last few decades, and to better specify and illustrate the actual relevance of the subject at hand. First, the chapter provides an overview of what is going on at the European level by discussing the development, organisation and objectives of EU social and employment policies, and particularly of the EU’s structural funds. Here, the genuine character of the ESF as an integrated governance tool emerges. Second, the focus is on domestic welfare policies in European welfare states. The

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main historical steps towards the development of the currently existing schemes are addressed, in particular decentralisation and the role of the local level in organising and implementing social and employment policies. Third, based on reflections on the existing literature, the two dimensions are combined – the ESF as a particular EU governance tool and the local level, which specifically functions to implement social and employment policies – in order to develop a genuine perspective on the role of the ESF at the local level.

Cohesion policy, soft tools and strategisation: the European dimension While at the national policy-making level there are relatively clearly defined portfolios or ministerial responsibilities, at the European level, there are no clear-cut distinctions between economic, social or employment policies. The process of European integration did not start with the explicit aim of building a supranational or federal EU, but can be described as a path-dependent, incremental process of institution building. Different policy areas have become harmonised step by step, often driven by spillover dynamics, that is, integration in one field often led to further action in other fields (Haas, 1964).2 In the early days of the European project, this incremental process was most visible in economic policies, yet since the 1990s it has been increasingly evident in the domain of social and employment policies (among others). Accounts of European-level employment policies often take the European Employment Strategy (EES) of 1997 as their starting point. Yet efforts to achieve social cohesion and better labour market conditions in Europe have been taking place since the very beginning of European integration, and are inseparably tied to EU structural funding. The Treaty of Rome (1957) included the aim of regional social cohesion, and the ESF was created in 1957 with the very specific aim to ‘improve the possibilities of employment for workers and to contribute to the raising of their standard of living’ (EEC Treaty, 1957: 3). At that time, the ‘cohesion’ dimension of the fund was rather limited, since it was not allocated based on a particular redistribution mechanism, and only the height of the financial contributions to the ESF budget were defined based on a country’s labour market situation (EEC Treaty, 1957: 67; see also Kopp-Malek, 2005: 54). The regional focus of the Treaty was also limited.3 Although in the preamble the objective of ‘reducing the differences existing between the various regions and by mitigating the backwardness of the less favoured’ (EEC

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Social and employment policies in Europe from a multilevel perspective

Treaty, 1957: 1) was mentioned, no explicit regional instrument was specified. As Manzella and Mendez (2009) argue, this is related to the economic and policy context of that time, which clearly emphasised national responsibilities (2009: 5–6). However, in the course of the 1960s, regional policies gained greater attention in the European Community (EC), and in 1968, a Directorate-General dedicated to regional policy was established. It was also in this period that direct contact between the European and subnational level was initiated for the first time (Manzella and Mendez, 2009: 7). In 1975, the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) was launched, a structural investment tool with the aim of correcting major regional imbalances (Council of the European Communities, 1970: 1). The ERDF’s redistributional approach was much more elaborate than the ESF’s approach in that the financial allocations to the member states were linked to quotas based on their socioeconomic situation. However, although the ERDF explicitly sought to achieve regional cohesion, the member states themselves were still in charge of distributing the funds to the regions, as well as funds for administration and necessary interactions with the European Commission. This situation significantly changed with the joint reform of the ESF and ERDF in 1988, which has been consistently interpreted as a turning point in EU regional and cohesion policy (Bachtler et al, 2013: 45). Against the backdrop of first, ever-increasing regional disparities, second, the accession of Greece, Spain and Portugal in 1981 and 1986, which had significantly lower-income average levels than the other member states, and third, the rise of internal market programmes that would lead to economic restructuring within countries, regional cohesion policy was put high on the political agenda (Bachtler et al, 2013: 46). In addition, new governance modes made the 1988 reform a significant step both in EU cohesion policy and in European integration as a whole. Here, the so-called ‘partnership principle’ undoubtedly played a crucial role. It established formal procedures for close interaction between the European Commission and national, regional and local authorities for all stages of the implementation process (Council of the European Communities, 1988), and ‘was presented by the Commission as the guiding principle of the whole reform’ (Bauer, 2002: 771). Since then, domestic public authorities at various levels have been concerned with the so-called ‘programming procedure’, the drafting of the ‘Operational Programmes’ (OPs) and the implementation process. The aim here was to achieve administrative decentralisation, greater predictability, improved assessments and a

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more coherent implementation of the additionality principle, that is, to ensure the funds complemented domestic funding sources rather than substituting for them (Bachtler et al, 2013: 48). The straightforward programming procedure and other procedural elements that beneficiaries and administrative authorities had to follow prompted the ESF to acquire a somewhat ‘carrot-like’ incentivising role. In other words, the fact that particular procedural requirements defined by the EU needed to be fulfilled in order to receive funding (Tömmel, 1994: 113) has meant that the funds have acted as incentivising governance tools since the reform in 1988. However, at that time, the funds still had much less aid conditionality than is evident at present, and thus their steering potential was still relatively weak. Accordingly, the procedural and programmatic requirements beneficiaries had to comply with were moderate. Although the funds’ regulations defined clear target groups for the ESF (for example, long-term unemployed people, young people or people at risk of unemployment), the negotiations did not define a programmatic pathway to achieve the general objectives by supporting these groups (Council of the European Union, 2006). This left remarkable scope for interpretation on how to deploy the funds, both for the national and subnational authorities involved in the planning and implementation process, and for the actual beneficiaries of the money.4 To address this, the regional focus and governance mechanisms of programming and partnership were further strengthened and enhanced in the subsequent reforms of the structural funds in 1993 and 1999. This consolidation took place in parallel to the establishment of a particular EU policy in the field of employment that bundled together and streamlined previously separate efforts related to the movement of workers, occupational safety regulations and anti-discrimination at work. At the same time, it broadened the EU’s concept of social and employment policies. At a time when there was a need for welfare state reforms in most European countries due to high costs and relatively low employment rates, and given the increasing economic coordination between member states and thus a greater need for harmonious action with regard to jobs and employment, the EU was searching for an ‘appropriate Union level mechanism in the face of substantial resistance to “Europeanizing” employment policy’ (Mosher and Trubek, 2003: 65). Two important steps in this regard were the White Paper on Growth, competitiveness, and employment by the European Commission (1993) and the Amsterdam Treaty in 1997, which launched the EES mentioned above. In subsequent years, further coordination procedures

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Social and employment policies in Europe from a multilevel perspective

were developed and added to the portfolio of the EES. Since the programmatic implementation of the employment guidelines had never been binding due to member state resistance to harmonisation in the field of social and employment policies, the idea was to facilitate their implementation by linking them to procedural requirements (Goetschy, 1999). Besides monitoring and reporting based on guidelines, these procedures included benchmarking using clear quantitative indicators, a sharing of best practices and ‘naming and shaming’ (Borrás and Jacobsson, 2004). In other policy fields – such as social inclusion, health or pensions – similar tools were enhanced or introduced, and the label ‘soft governance tools’ emerged to describe non-binding procedures. In 2000, the procedural requirements were brought together and labelled the ‘open method of coordination’ (OMC). The OMC was intended to allow for the integration of EU policy programmes into domestic social and employment policies by establishing procedural routines, bringing certain topics on to the agenda and ‘getting a foot in the door’. This approach was supposed to be reinforced in two ways: by linking the ‘soft tools’ to the Lisbon objectives, and also by leveraging the EU structural funds’ financial dimension. A particular European social model with an emphasis on human capital investment and active welfare states was an explicit and central part of the Lisbon Strategy, and policy makers regarded the OMC and the cohesion policy as crucial instruments for achieving greater convergence among member states (European Council, 2000). However, the link between the Lisbon Strategy and the structural funds only became explicit when the Lisbon Strategy was revised. When the EES and ESF were reviewed in advance of the reforms of the structural funds in 2006, the objectives for the EES and ESF were reformulated so that they were partly overlapping. Furthermore, the so-called Lisbon Strategy targeting required 60 per cent of ESF spending to be used to finance Lisbon Strategy objectives. In light of several evaluations concluding that the Lisbon Strategy failed to meet its promises with regard to the policy goals, and that the OMC did not become a powerful tool for coordination (Blanke and Kinnock, 2010; European Commission, 2010; Treidler, 2010), the following European strategy, Europe 2020, sought to cure the shortcomings of the Lisbon Strategy by increasing the steering potential of EU governance (Blanke and Kinnock, 2010: 16). In order to achieve this, the ‘European Semester’ was established, an overarching process coordinating the EU’s macro-economic policies with soft tools in the concerned policy areas (that is, social and employment, research

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Local Policies and the European Social Fund

and innovation, and energy; see European Commission, 2016b). As part of the European Semester, reporting procedures that already existed as soft tools in the OMC now became embedded in a very straightforward and streamlined annual cycle. The non-binding actions in the fields of social and employment policies were linked to the macro-economic procedures, which had access to binding tools and financial sanctions for non-compliance (Zeitlin and Vanhercke, 2014: 23). This was supposed to strengthen compliance pressure among member states. While these tight procedural requirements were a crucial step towards reinforced commitment and compliance with EU social and employment policies (as with the entire Europe 2020 strategy), financial incentives probably played an even more essential role from a governance perspective. Tying structural funding closely to the overall macro-economic strategies and procedures was the culmination of an ever-increasing direct interaction between the European level and subnational level in the implementation of the funds. Due to its long history and consequent embeddedness in local and regional implementation and policy-making structures all over Europe, this connection between objectives, procedures and funding not only gave EU actors the chance to get a foot in the door of domestic social and employment policies via the streamlined ‘soft tools’; it also allowed them, in fact, to put many feet in the door. Furthermore, the link between EU social and employment policies, the procedural requirements of the soft tools and the financial incentives of EU funding not only strengthened member states’ incentives for complying with EU social and employment policies, but also reinforced the interaction between the European and subnational level. In a nutshell, studying the role the ESF has in local labour market policies means not only dealing with the redistributive aspect of the ESF money, but also with aid conditionality and procedural requirements. Financial incentives seek to encourage compliance with desired behaviour – namely, the implementation of the Lisbon Strategy objectives and the procedural aspects such as the partnership principle – and to reallocate resources. However, the financial incentives not only aim to make a particular behaviour cheaper; they also seek to establish routines and initiate learning processes and habit building (see, for example, Knill and Lenschow, 2005). This complex interplay between different governance tools and their attempts to influence behaviour is the reason why the ESF can be described as an integrated governance tool. Table 2.1 summarises the different aspects of the ESF as an integrated governance tool.

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Social and employment policies in Europe from a multilevel perspective Table 2.1: The different facets of the ESF as an integrated governance tool Governance Attempt to influence approach Instruments behaviour of addressees Redistribution Financial means No influence on individual behaviour, reallocation Incentive Programmatic Indirect non-hierarchical objectives influence of behaviour Procedural requirements

Indirect non-hierarchical influence of behaviour

ESF dimensions ESF money Country-specific recommendations, ex ante conditionality Partnership principle, reporting procedures, programming process

Source: Author’s own

The complex governance structure of the ESF is not just part of the bigger picture of ‘experimental’ (Sabel and Zeitlin, 2008: 274) and complex (Tömmel and Verdun, 2009, 2013) EU governance. As will be outlined throughout the remainder of this chapter, the reinforcement of financial incentives and the direct EU–subnational link reflect a particular trend in social and employment policies in most EU member states: European countries have experienced an increasing emphasis on the local level as a key player in labour market policies, related to a general decentralisation trend and an ‘activation turn’. Together, these dynamics at the European and at the domestic level have given rise to a particular setting for the implementation of EU social and employment policies, as the local level has begun to play a new role in implementing both European and national policies.

Between implementation and autonomy: the role of the local level Labour market policies in Europe have been inseparably intertwined with the welfare state since its very beginning. The development of the welfare state in Europe was initiated in the late 19th  century. At this time, industrialisation had engendered new societal risks, social conflicts had arisen, and the nation state was gaining increasing relevance. In contrast to earlier times, being out of work was slowly being acknowledged as a societal problem and not as an individual one (Weishaupt, 2008: 60). Against this backdrop, Bismarck introduced a statutorily organised social insurance system in Germany in order to reduce the risks of the capitalist economy, disempower the socialist party and the unions, and prevent uprisings. A core aim of these measures was to ensure the smooth functioning of the labour market by ensuring and increasing workers’ productivity and to ameliorate

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extreme inequalities (Briggs, 1961). Other European countries followed suit, but it was only after the Second World War that welfare states were extensively developed and expanded in most European countries. In the course of this expansion, labour market policies were also enhanced. Early job-matching systems were locally organised and related to decentralised poor relief schemes (Weishaupt, 2008: 61); later on, they were developed into fully fledged and centralised job placement schemes. After the Second World War, there was an extensive expansion of statutorily organised social security (that is, passive benefits) in most European countries, as well as a systematic construction of national (demand-side) labour market policies. Since the 1960s, a turn towards ‘active labour market policies’ (ALMPs) has occurred across Europe. This shift towards ALMPs was driven by a change in economic conditions: at a time of increasing unemployment, merely passively transferring unemployment benefits led to financing problems. Furthermore, globalisation, demographic changes and industrial shifts (for example, new skills requirements) confronted labour markets with new challenges. In this context, as Weishaupt has shown (2008: 65), the idea of actively intervening in both the supply side of the labour market – by offering vocational counselling, guidance to jobseekers and targeted vocational training – and in the demand side – by creating employment opportunities via different measures – was strongly promoted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Furthermore, the OECD supported a centralisation and nationalisation of job placement and ALMP measures, which strengthened the role of national governments and centralised organisation in labour market policies. Nation states were called on to take greater responsibility for employment regulation, labour markets and unemployment protection. Nowadays, ALMPs exist – albeit in different forms – in all European countries, and can be understood as the third pillar of labour market regimes, in addition to passive unemployment benefits and job placement. ALMPs are largely regulated, financed and administered at the national level in the various European countries, and for decades they existed in parallel to and decoupled from more decentralised social assistance schemes in most welfare states. These social assistance schemes were successors to the earlier poor relief, and, in this tradition, were mostly administered and financed by municipalities, although they followed national regulations on benefit levels or eligibility criteria (Heidenreich and Rice, 2016a: 1). Social assistance,

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Social and employment policies in Europe from a multilevel perspective

but especially social services such as childcare or counselling, were highly decentralised for a long period (Bahle, 2003: 6). Although the introduction of ALMPs and their emphasis on supply-side labour policies fostered a closer link between social policies and ALMPs in some countries (particularly in Northern Europe) up until the 1990s, we can nevertheless identify a general tendency towards separating the ‘world of employment’ and ‘the social world’ across Europe, both from a programmatic and an organisational perspective (Bahle, 2003; Heidenreich and Rice, 2016a). This changed from the 1990s onwards, when, at a time of increasing unemployment, the OECD promoted labour market flexibilisation interlinked with social protection (OECD, 1994: 49), and the role of the local level in organising and financing labour market policies was emphasised (OECD, 1994: 53). The EU took the same line and established ‘flexicurity’ (referring to the nexus between social security and flexible labour markets; see Wilthagen, 1998) as a guiding principle in the EES. A strong focus was put on high employment rates and the inclusion of long-term unemployed people and other ‘weak groups’ into the labour market (Goetschy, 1999); this pathway soon acquired the label ‘activation’. From an organisational perspective, the idea of enabling previously excluded groups to access the labour market … implies an activation agenda which comprises (1) flexible labour markets, (2)  work incentives of social benefits, (3)  a “homogenisation” of benefit systems and (4)  the introduction of enabling services. (Künzel, 2015: 65) While flexible labour markets and benefit system reforms were generally tackled at the macro level, work incentives and enabling services addressed the micro level, with particular measures that entailed direct interaction with the beneficiaries. Among these enabling services, childcare played a particularly crucial role for increasing female employment, but at a later stage, services such as psychosocial counselling, support for homeless people or debt counselling were also discussed (Heidenreich and Rice, 2016a). From a governance perspective, flexicurity and activation thus require an assemblage of the ‘social world’ of locally settled social services and the national ‘world of employment’. In practice, this was achieved in most countries by enacting decentralisation reforms. Such reforms also triggered a new debate at the local level in activation policies. Several scholars observed trends of administrative decentralisation

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Local Policies and the European Social Fund

with a parallel political centralisation (for the distinction between different forms of decentralisation, see Schneider, 2003: 33, and Pollitt, 2005: 374–6). For example, Minas et al (2012) investigated decentralisation processes in activation policies in Sweden, the UK and the Netherlands, and found … increasing central control by transferring political or financing responsibility or both to the centre but not in outcome in terms of varying organisational solutions. (Minas et al, 2012: 295) In their comprehensive study on ‘rescaling social policies’, Kazepov and colleagues came to similar conclusions (2010), and Loughlin has observed ‘a significant strengthening of regional and local autonomy’ (2007: 400) and new patterns of fiscal relations, which included less of their own resources such as taxes and fees but greater leeway in the spending of central grants (2007: 398). Comparable observations have been made by numerous other authors working on European welfare states (among them, see Finn, 2000; Bahle, 2003; Künzel, 2012; Heidenreich and Rice, 2016b). In activation policies, we can thus observe an increasing centralisation of political control in parallel to a decentralisation of organisational aspects. This applies to decisions on target groups, service catalogues or counselling strategies (Heidenreich and Rice, 2016a). Furthermore, as part of a financial restructuring of social and labour market services, there was a financial decentralisation in the sense of greater autonomy in financial decisions in the implementation process (for example, resource pooling, contracting out and bidding for calls; see van Berkel et  al, 2012; Zimmermann et  al, 2014). Thus, administrative and financial autonomy was transferred to lower territorial levels, which has had crucial implications for the actual implementation process and policy outcomes. As Newman puts it: This goes beyond the idea of the “street level bureaucrat” applying discretion in local offices, and opens up the idea of policy as an unfinished, dynamic domain. (2007: 365) From a policy cycle perspective, we could thus speak of a centralisation in policy making and a decentralisation in the implementation stages.5 Consequently, the subnational level can be understood as an interface between political policy making and governance, and between service delivery and final outcomes.

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Social and employment policies in Europe from a multilevel perspective

Given this decisive interface function of the subnational level, it is not surprising that EU strategies have focused particularly on this level. This is where structural funding is targeted and where infrastructural reforms are put into practice – the subnational level is therefore not only a decisive interface between national policy making and outcomes, but also between European policy making and potential effects. However, as I discuss later, its role in multilevel policy making in the EU is underestimated, as existing studies have rarely included the level of policy implementation and service delivery in a systematic manner. Implementation is usually understood as a purely domestic matter with little relevance for the ‘bigger games’ of multilevel policy making; the decisive role of lower levels in this game is hence often underestimated and overlooked. This is a gap the present study seeks to fill. In order to study what is going on at the local level when structural funding comes into play, it is necessary to define what exactly the ‘local level’ is. This is, of course, a tricky task. All over Europe, many different structures for territorial subdivisions exist, and in terms of the role of structural funding in labour market policies, Polish gminas (municipalities) are difficult to compare with Italian comuni or German Kreise (districts) without going into great detail regarding the specific politico-administrative competences, the organisation of service delivery structures, the role of trade unions and churches, and so on. Hence, in order to achieve a certain comparability and to allocate funds fairly, EU regional policy makers have developed a standard system for classifying the territorial subdivisions in European member states. The so-called NUTS standard (Nomenclature des unités territoriales statistiques) is mostly based on already existing administrative units in countries, but where necessary, administrative units are aggregated on the basis of geographical, socioeconomic, historical, cultural or environmental characteristics (Eurostat, 2018: 3).6 Yet although NUTS is a good starting point for making subnational entities comparable across different national settings, it only gives limited information on the actual politico-administrative constitution of a country, and does not inform us at all about responsibilities, institutional setups or actor constellations in particular policy fields. Of course, these are related to a country’s general territorial organisation (for example, whether it is a federal state or a decentralised one, or how municipal administration is organised), but the particular political, administrative or financial regulations may differ substantially across policy fields. Consequently, in order to avoid an extremely fine-grained but probably unconvincing top-down definition of the local level in the

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Local Policies and the European Social Fund

EU, the present study suggests adopting a bottom-up perspective, which defines the local level by its substantive role in the field of interest.7 As my interest is in labour market policies and the activation of unemployed people, I wish to study these lowest territorial subdivisions – which I define as ‘local level’ for the purpose of this study. In these subdivisions, a certain degree of fiscal administrative autonomy exists in policies towards bringing unemployed people (and particularly disadvantaged groups) into work. The local level is thus nested in a variety of different – and analytically equally relevant – higher levels. These could be various subnational levels, the national level, the European level and also further levels between and beyond. All of these levels may be of decisive relevance for what role the local level actually plays in a particular dimension and how it shapes the practices of policy implementation. For example, the national level might define the upper limit for unemployment benefits and the administrative procedures local offices need to follow when making payments, the regional level could provide project financing channels, the district level, with its corporatist networks, could shape the local cooperation practices, and the local level and its long-established welfare associations may play a role in service provision. The actual institutional and spatial design of selected local entities might differ across different countries and regions, but they are nevertheless quite comparable in the dimension of interest: their role in implementing labour market policies and thus their interface function with regard to policy making and related outcomes. How this function matters in the context of EU funding and how the ESF connects the local and the European level is discussed next.

The local level in a European context So far, I have argued that, when studying domestic reactions to EU social and employment policies, it is necessary to include the subnational dimension of these domestic policies in the picture, because (1) the EU policies that seek to play a steering role directly address the subnational level and it has a decisive interface function, and (2) the activation turn and the decentralisation wave have strengthened the role of the subnational level in labour market policies. Of course, research on the subnational level in a European context is nothing new; it was already a fashionable topic in the late 1980s and during the 1990s, when there was a boom in literature on ‘Europe of the Regions’. It seems that at a time of increased integration efforts at the European floor (enlargements, the completion of the single market,

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Social and employment policies in Europe from a multilevel perspective

the Schengen Agreement and the Maastricht Treaty), there was also a need to clarify and balance the role of the different territorial and politico-administrative levels within the EU. Under the label of ‘Europe of the Regions’, there were three key debates. The first was probably the most distant from EU policies. The main argument was that in parallel to harmonisation and European integration, increasing decentralisation and regionalisation were occurring, for example, in the Basque region, Flanders or Wales. Here, ‘Europe of the Regions’ meant an emerging regionalism or movements towards greater regional emancipation (Loughlin, 2007). However, although not directly dealing with EU policies and politics, the debate nevertheless linked the increasing regionalism to the European integration process and the institutional strengthening of the subnational level within the EU. A second debate was concerned with EU cohesion policy as regional policy, that is, as targeted towards the regions. This debate discussed financial allocation and policy objective matters, as well as the role of cohesion policy for new member states and poorer regions (see, for example, Bachtler and Michie, 1995). The ‘Europe of the Regions’ was thus understood as a ‘Europe for the Regions’ from a programmatic and financial perspective. Closely related to the second debate, but more focused on the procedural and organisational dimension, was the third strand, the governance debate. This discussion was interested in the new relationship between the different politico-administrative levels in the EU. It gave rise to a new theoretical concept within a tradition that reads the EU as a system ‘sui generis’ rather than a supranational organisation. While the argument that there is a specific EU governance form, characterised by particular modes of interaction between the national and the European bodies, was not new (Scharpf, 1985), this strand of theory added a further level: the subnational one. Gary Marks and Lisbeth Hooghe (see, for example, Hooghe and Marks, 2001) developed an approach that suggested a new reading of European governance and to some extent also of the EU itself. Their multilevel governance (MLG) approach built on the observation that in the course of the European unification, authority had become increasingly multilayered and ‘has come to be shared across global institutions, regional organisations, such as the EU, national governments, and subnational governments’ (Schakel et al, 2015: 271). Hence, in the MLG approach, the slogan ‘Europe of the Regions’ means an inclusion of further analytical levels in the political and institutional game of the EU: subnational actors.

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Local Policies and the European Social Fund

More recently, the debate has also included the ‘local level’ – in its many different facets. Although this iteration of the debate does not necessarily draw on MLG concepts, many of the studies focusing on the local level in the EU discuss the role of structural funding. In this strand of research, there are two types of studies: those directly interested in the role of the funds, and those that start with a broader EU urban perspective but then usually contest the notion that structural funds play a crucial role. Examples of the latter include de Rooij (2002), who studied the impact of the EU on Dutch local governments and found that the absorption and organisational adaptation of the EU structural funds are vital in this regard (de Rooij, 2002: 464–5), or Marshall (2005), who assessed whether European funding has provoked shifts in the institutionalised norms, beliefs and values of urban actors in the UK and found that the funds have an impact on networks of involved actors or their planning behaviour (Marshall, 2005: 678). The vast majority of the EU urban literature strand is qualitative by approach; it typically focuses on only a few case studies and rarely adopts a larger cross-country comparison. This is true for de Rooij and Marshall, but also for Fleurke and Willemse, who, for instance, focused on two municipalities and one province in the Netherlands when investigating EU effects on subnational decision making (Fleurke and Willemse, 2007). Likewise, Hamedinger and colleagues included a small crossnational comparison when studying a ‘European turn’ in urban politics in Graz and Dortmund (Hamedinger et al, 2008). Yet, despite having quite different foci, several of the studies have shown that structural funds are decisive when it comes to urban Europeanisation. At the same time, they also indicate that there is not one narrative of urban Europeanisation but many. Local factors seem to shape the role and influence of the EU funds to a large extent. For instance, de Rooij has stated that the size of the city and to some extent its socioeconomic position serve as explanatory factors when it comes to the usage of EU opportunities (2002: 464), and Hamedinger et al have found several ‘local influence factors’, such as a traditionally strong political role of local governments, the system of cooperative federalism or a tradition of securing the local welfare state (2008: 2683). However, since broader comparative studies on the explanatory factors and conditions underpinning local/urban Europeanisation are rare, it is still hard to see the bigger picture. Yet there is another strand of literature that can offer a different perspective in this regard. Within this, several authors have looked at the actual capacity of domestic institutions and actors to deal with ‘what comes from the EU’, often, but not exclusively, with a focus

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Social and employment policies in Europe from a multilevel perspective

on Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries. The observations on the role of administrative capacity in cohesion policy are striking here. As comparative work shows, factors such as whether domestic administrations have sufficiently skilled human resources, whether they efficiently coordinate between different policy-making and implementing bodies, and whether relevant procedures and tools can be established (Bachtler et al, 2014), play a crucial role not only for the absorption of EU funds (Tosun, 2014), but also for implementation (Milio, 2007) and broader Europeanisation patterns (Bachtler et al, 2014). However, administrative capacity is not merely a condition for absorption or implementation; it is also an outcome of Europeanisation processes. As several studies have shown, public administrations in individual member states are subject to EU-induced change and transformation processes (see, for example, Knill, 2001; Kassim, 2003; Massey, 2004; von Alemann and Münch, 2006; Münch, 2006; Heidbreder, 2011), and while not all studies explicitly focus on the role of structural funding, they nevertheless often refer to its crucial influence. Going beyond public administrations, other studies have also addressed the more general trend towards ‘projectification’. Kovách and Kučerová (2006) have noted the rise of a new ‘project class’ in Central Europe, which is related to project-based funding and planning in rural development. Likewise, Godenhjelm (2013) has made similar observations in the field of fisheries in Finland. Büttner and Leopold (2016) have applied these empirical observations to a more general level and developed a perspective on ‘the project world of EU funding’. They discuss the emergence, establishment and cultural logics of project-based funding, and show that in addition to the rise of particular management, auditing, measurement and accounting practices in everyday public policy making, Europe is also witnessing the rise of an ‘EU expertification’, which expresses itself in new occupations such as EU fundraisers or EU project coordinators (Büttner and Leopold, 2016: 63). Similar procedural observations are reported in research on partnerships. As mentioned, the partnership principle is a crucial element of EU cohesion policies, and it refers both to a partnership between the EU and subnational authorities, and to a partnership between different types of actors at the (subnational) domestic level. While the former aspect is regularly dealt with in the ‘Europe of the Regions’ literature and also in scholarship on local and urban Europeanisation, the second – more horizontal – one has still not been broadly investigated. Nevertheless, a few studies show that partnership arrangements established via structural funding can indeed have an

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Local Policies and the European Social Fund

influence on local networks and cooperation, albeit not always the intended ones. For example, Milio has shown for Italy that, while partnership can increase the quality of policies and implementation, it can also trigger counterproductive mechanisms due to clientelistic behaviour (2014: 396). Dabrowski has adopted a comparative perspective and studied partnership arrangements in three regions in Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary (2014). He also observed self-interest-driven behaviour (Dabrowski, 2014: 377), and argues that the existence of incentives for cooperation is vital to overcome reluctance (Dabrowski, 2014: 378). According to him, adjustment to partnership has been shaped by domestic institutional legacies at different levels (Dabrowski, 2014: 378). In addition to these studies on particular facets of Europeanisation via cohesion policies (for example, projectification, partnership, decision making or empowerment of cities), there is a strand of literature that is – similar to the present study – concerned with the role of the ESF in domestic activation or welfare policies. For example, Verschraegen et al (2011) studied the effect of the ESF on three Belgian regions and found that it had a ‘catalytic’ impact on the development of activation measures, on the governance of employment policies and on the general framing of policies (Verschraegen et al, 2011: 67–8). According to the authors, this impact is driven by different mechanisms, namely, leverage, conditionality and learning (Verschraegen et al, 2011: 63– 5). Van Gerven et al (2013) have built on the same framework and made similar observations for the Netherlands and Spain. In these two countries, Europeanisation was visible in activation policies, albeit to different degrees. With regard to the differential outcomes, the authors highlight the role of past experiences with the ESF, the regional problem load, the availability of resources and uploading capacities, and call for a more nuanced view on the matter that also takes into account other potentially relevant variables (van Gerven et al, 2013: 522–4). Findings from other studies support the notion that structural funds have a clear potential to affect domestic (subnational) activation policies (for instance, in the field of educational welfare; see Pop and Stănuş, 2014), actors’ preferences (see, for example, Adshead, 2014) or decision-making processes (see, for example, Graziano, 2010), but they also suggest that the actual shape and degree of the effects may strongly depend on (subnational) domestic factors. All in all, research on the role of regional and cohesion policies for the domestic level is already a relatively established field that builds on debates on ‘Europe of the Regions’ from the late 1980s and early 1990s. However, these studies mainly focused on governance aspects

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Social and employment policies in Europe from a multilevel perspective

and regional empowerment and were less interested in actual EU effects at lower politico-administrative levels. This changed in the 2000s, when scholars started to study the local and urban level and devoted attention to the Europeanisation of (subnational) activation and welfare policies via cohesion policies or to phenomena such as partnerships or ‘projectification’. These studies clearly pointed to Europeanisation processes related to structural funding, and indicated that the funds may have a substantial impact on local structures (for example, partnership cooperation). Yet they also suggested that local factors (for example, local politics or administrative capacities) are of vital relevance in this regard. Almost all the existing studies have adopted a qualitative case study perspective – which is, of course, appropriate when investigating processes and mechanisms. Nevertheless, a broader comparative perspective on the matter that would enable us to achieve a better understanding of the more general patterns of Europeanisation via structural funding and the role of local factors in this regard is still lacking. It is precisely here where the present study seeks to step in. The following chapter develops a theoretical approach that opens up a bottom-up perspective on the role of the ESF in local labour market policies. Notes For the sake of readability, in this book the generic term for all three dimensions is ‘social and employment policies’. However, whenever necessary, the book applies different labels for policies at different politicoadministrative levels: when speaking of activities at the European level, the term ‘EU social and employment policies’ is used. For national policies, the three ‘standard’ definitions – employment policies for the macro-economic dimension, labour market policies for active and passive unemployment measures and labour regulations, and social policies for social protection and social services – are used. Furthermore, the label ‘activation policies’ is used where appropriate. For the subnational level, the book mostly refers to ‘local labour market policies’, a label that also includes social services if they are explicitly linked to labour market issues and targeted towards increasing employability and labour market integration. 2 ‘Spillover refers to a situation in which a given action, related to a specific goal, creates a situation in which the original goal can be assured only by taking further actions, which in turn create a further condition and a need for more action, and so forth’ (Lindbergh, 1963: 10). 3 The term ‘regional’ is used differently in different strands of the literature: while sometimes it is used to refer to intermediate politico-administrative levels between the local and the national (for example, Tuscany), other 1

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Local Policies and the European Social Fund

4



5



6



7



debates refer to regions as territorial entities with particular common historical geographical or cultural features (for example, the Basque country), which may or may not overlap with politico-administrative levels. Other definitions of regions refer to larger parts of a continent (for example, Northern Europe) or to world regions (for example, Latin America). Consequently, the definitions of regional policy, regionalism or regional cohesion also differ. This book mainly uses the term ‘region’ to describe politico-administrative levels between the national and the local level, mostly coinciding with NUTS 2, as this is also the basis for European regional policy. However, when referring to other scholarly debates, the study draws on different applications of the term ‘region’ (particularly in Chapter 9); in such cases, it will be marked as such. Organisations that receive ESF funding for running ESF projects are called ‘beneficiaries’. These can be public administrations, NGOs, social partners, charities or companies. The individual people participating in these projects are called ‘participants’. Of course, these are only general trends, and the actual processes in the different European countries differ in the degree and in the design of decentralisation. In the Appendix at the end of the book, case profiles give insights into the decentralisation patterns in activation policies in the countries under study. NUTS  0 refers to nation states, NUTS  1 corresponds to major socioeconomic regions (for example, the Bundesländer in Germany, or to groups of regions in several other countries), NUTS 2 usually refers to basic regions (for example, to regioni, provinces or voivodeships), and NUTS 3 refers to smaller regions (often districts, departments or counties, or groups of those). In addition, there are two levels of local administrative units (LAU 1 and LAU 2), which are applied to municipalities or communes. The assignment of territorial subdivisions to NUTS levels is highly complex, mostly because the NUTS system is used for statistical purposes and the categories are supposed to be highly precise and distinctive. From an analytical viewpoint, this strategy fits perfectly with the bottomup research perspective discussed in the Europeanisation literature. When adopting a bottom-up perspective, the researcher is not only able to check ‘if, when, and how the EU provides a change in any of the main components of the system of interaction’ (Radaelli and Pasquier, 2007: 41), but also to investigate the role of different multilevel factors without anticipating them. What is the role of the national system in the adaptation process? How do regional actors frame it? Is the local political setup more important than the national? Answering such questions from a perspective that does not rely on the ‘national container’ (Beck and Grande, 2007) is entirely possible when using a bottom-up research design.

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3

Domestic responses to European money: A theoretical perspective In the previous chapter, I showed that in the late 1980s and 1990s, there was a boom in the literature on the ‘Europe of the Regions’ (Bachtler and Michie, 1995; Loughlin, 2007). It was also in this context that the debate on methodological nationalism (Beck and Sznaider, 2006: 3) was advanced in sociology and attention was drawn to the subnational level as an independent research entity (Jeffery and Schakel, 2013). However, although the scholarship concentrated on subnational (mostly regional) levels as entities with their own voices and particular roles within the global or European multilevel system, it focused less on their interaction with the European level. As also outlined in the previous chapter, the subnational level in European countries has played a decisive interface role in the field of labour market policies, as the activation turn and the decentralisation wave strengthened the role of the subnational level, and consequently EU policies directly addressed it in their steering intentions. However, this decisive role of the subnational level is still significantly under-conceptualised in the literature. Although the political science literature has extensively studied ‘the domestic adaptation to European regional integration’ (Vink and Graziano, 2007: 7) under the label of ‘Europeanisation’, most studies in this strand have focused on national policies, structures, actors or ideas and their responses to what was happening at the European level. It is only more recently that – particularly in the context of European funding – some scholars have also studied the subnational level from a Europeanisation perspective. Despite this, there is still a significant lack of comparative studies and analytical approaches with regard to subnational responses to the EU. For this reason, this chapter sets out to develop a conceptual perspective on the responses of the subnational level to European funding, first, drawing on the Europeanisation literature. However, given that this body of literature does not provide entirely satisfactory tools for capturing the specific role of the subnational level and particularly the processes of change that might be linked to the ESF, in a second step, I introduce a field theoretical perspective, which is

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then merged into a third step with the Europeanisation debate in order to develop a unique perspective on domestic responses to the ESF.

Europeanisation research: core concepts and challenges The most prominent analytical approach in the Europeanisation debate is undoubtedly the ‘goodness of fit’ approach (Börzel, 1999; Cowles et al, 2001). This assumes ‘that Europeanization is only likely to result in domestic change if it is “inconvenient”’ (Börzel and Risse, 2003: 60–1). This means that for EU-induced change to happen, certain adaptational pressure at the domestic level is required. Such adaptational pressure would arise if domestic policies or institutions did not show a fit, in the sense of not conforming to the European model. Furthermore, Europeanisation would not be expected to arise if there was a perfect fit, since no adaptation would then be necessary. From an analytical perspective, the approach seeks to analytically link a cause at the European level with an effect at the domestic level by modelling the necessary conditions under which the effect would take place (that is, adaptational pressure due to misfit; see Börzel and Risse, 2003: 58). When it emerged, the ‘goodness of fit’ concept was well received as a simple but convincing way to open the black box of the topdown EU–domestic relationship. In subsequent years, authors in this tradition and other scholars further developed the model by introducing sufficient conditions that influence the process of EUinduced change. These sufficient conditions were called mediating factors (or mediating institutions), terms that referred to particular domestic conditions that either foster or hinder EU-induced domestic change under given adaptational pressure (Radaelli, 2000; Börzel and Risse, 2003): In case of high adaptational pressures, the presence and absence of mediating factors is crucial for the degree to which domestic change adjusting to Europeanization should be expected. (Risse et al, 2001: 9) With regard to the actual nature of the mediating factors, scholars have generally identified four different factors: multiple veto points, formal institutions, change agents and informal institutions. The first of these, multiple veto points, refers to the power of domestic actors that might oppose adaptation in the face of Europeanisation pressures. The more veto points exist, the more they might hamper adaptation (Börzel and Risse, 2003: 58). Second, formal institutions facilitating

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adaptation might exist, since they provide the actors with material and ideational resources to induce change (Börzel and Risse, 2003: 58). Third, change agents or norm entrepreneurs are understood as able to mobilise in the domestic context and persuade other actors to redefine their interests and identities (Börzel and Risse, 2003: 59). Finally, informal institutions, which are conducive to consensus building and cost sharing, might exist, thus supporting an internalisation of new norms and the development of new ideas (Börzel and Risse, 2003: 59). The ‘goodness of fit’ approach with the mediating factors soon became the ‘standard model’ in Europeanisation research (Caporaso, 2007: 27–9), and was applied on various occasions (see, for example, Martinsen, 2005; Bache, 2007). In response to this ‘standard model’, Gerda Falkner and colleagues (Falkner et  al, 2007; Bähr et  al, 2008; Falkner and Treib, 2008) showed – in an extensive empirical research project that served as a basis for inductive theory building – that adaptational pressure and mediating factors are too rigid to adequately explain the different mechanisms of compliance with EU policies. They found that in different countries, different factors influenced the transposition of EU law and derived three different ‘worlds of compliance’ that differ with regard to cultural, political and administrative factors in the implementation process (Falkner et al, 2007: 404). This compliance approach triggered considerable debate in the Europeanisation literature, and several empirical contributions that also went beyond the ‘three worlds of compliance’ followed (Leiber, 2007; Toshkov, 2007). When soft law and new governance forms became more relevant, this also led to further development of the Europeanisation toolbox. One earlier example of work that conceptualises ‘new EU causes’ is the work of Knill and Lehmkuhl (2002), who have identified three characteristic influence mechanisms of different EU policies. According to their approach, European policies can (1) prescribe a specific national model for implementation; (2) influence national opportunity structures; or (3) concentrate on the framing of domestic beliefs and expectations (Knill and Lehmkuhl, 2002). Thus, they not only understand concrete EU policies (that is, hard law) as potential causes of EU-induced change, but also ‘softer’ impulses, such as procedural requirements or incentives. Furthermore, the new analytical approaches also sought to conceptualise the mechanisms of change, that is, how EU ideas transform domestic structures, policies or institutions. In this regard, this work developed the notion of misfit from policy (or institutional) misfit to ideational misfit (López-Santana, 2006).

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At this time and in this overall body of research, scholars became increasingly creative with regard to research design. More specifically, even if they did not always explicitly state that they were doing so, many scholars began building their Europeanisation analysis on a reading of EU policy and governance requiring analytical tools beyond the classical standard model and its extensions. If Europeanisation in the sense of EU-induced change can be understood as the second wave of European integration research, such concepts that move away from (or do not consider) the standard model can probably be labelled as a second wave of Europeanisation studies. Within this ‘second wave of Europeanisation’, a ‘bottom-up’ research perspective gained increasing prominence. This perspective had already been promoted earlier by Claudio Radaelli, a pioneer in Europeanisation studies (see, for example, Radaelli, 2003, 2004: 4; Radaelli and Pasquier, 2007: 41). As he puts it: By using time and temporal causal sequences, a bottomup approach checks if, when, and how the EU provides a change in any of the main components of the system of interaction. Finally, “bottom-uppers” try to measure the consequences of all this in terms of change at the domestic level. Of course, one can see this as yet another mechanism of “impact”, but with the qualification that the notion of impact goes beyond the “reaction” to Europe and includes creative usages. (Radaelli and Pasquier, 2007: 41) One relatively detailed analytical approach that explicitly seeks to deploy a bottom-up perspective is the so-called ‘usages of Europe’ approach. With reference to the act of usage, this research conceptualises the ‘national adaptation to the European level’ (Jacquot and Woll, 2003: 6) from an actor-centred perspective. The European level is understood as providing a set of opportunities or resources for domestic actors. Here, there are various types of resources (for example, ideas, legal resources or discursive references) that are used by domestic actors for different purposes: strategic, cognitive and legitimating (Woll and Jacquot, 2010: 118). ‘Strategic usage’ is deployed by bureaucratic actors and decision makers using institutions, legal resources or budgetary resources. Their political work is termed ‘resource mobilisation’ (Woll and Jacquot, 2010: 118). ‘Cognitive usage’ refers to situations in which elements such as ideas or expertise are used by political entrepreneurs, advocacy coalitions, public policy networks, experts or epistemic communities. The political work in question entails argumentation, framing of political action or problem

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building (Woll and Jacquot, 2010: 118). Finally, ‘legitimating usage’ means justification or deliberation by politicians or lobbyists. Here, political resources, public space or discursive references are the key elements (Woll and Jacquot, 2010: 118). The ‘developers’ of this usage concept (Cornelia Woll and Sophie Jacquot) are political scientists, but they explicitly intended the usages approach to serve as a sociological perspective on Europeanisation that addresses the interplay between action and institution and emphasises the role of strategic action oriented by the EU; they thus adopt a more general perspective that is, in theory, able to go beyond Europeanisation (Jacquot and Woll, 2003). The usages approach argues in the tradition of sociological new institutionalism, but it also adds rational choice institutionalist elements by emphasising the role of strategic action (Jacquot and Woll, 2003: 4). In a nutshell, the ‘goodness of fit’ approach and the usages approach represent the most prominent concepts in the Europeanisation literature, with the former adopting a top-down perspective (Jacquot and Woll, 2003) and the latter a bottom-up perspective. Although both perspectives are concerned with the role of EU policies, ideas, institutions, politics or structures with regard to the domestic level in the member states, they focus on different aspects. The top-down perspective is mainly concerned with Europeanisation as a measurable impact or an outcome of EU-induced change at the level of the member states. The (bottom-up) usages approach deals with the process of Europeanisation and emphasises the role of domestic actors in this regard. As will become clear later in this book, it is this differentiated focus on Europeanisation that is helpful for conceptualising the key topic of this book: the role of the ESF in local labour market policies. Nevertheless, there is still a crucial gap in the picture: the conceptualisation of domestic change. As this book is interested not only in the mere implementation of or domestic compliance with EU regulations but also seeks to unravel unintended and unexpected effects of the ESF in local labour market policies, we need further analytical tools that go beyond the Europeanisation concepts and that are able to analyse domestic change within the local context. As will be discussed in the following section, a social field perspective is most helpful in this regard.

A field perspective on the process of change The introduction of the concept of fields into social sciences is often associated with Pierre Bourdieu’s scholarly work. He adopted

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the notion of fields from the natural sciences (especially physics, for example, gravity or magnetism), and applied it to social life. The concepts of fields in the natural and social sciences share an epistemological background since they assume that space – both social and physical – is relational, and the field is determined by the field elements and their relations to each other (Hilgers and Mangez, 2015: 2). To speak of a field is ‘to give primacy to this system of objective relations over the particles themselves’ (Bourdieu and Wacquant, 2004: 82). In recent years, a number of scholars have sought to synthesise different strands of debates in the broader context of field theory and sociological new institutionalism, and have added their own thoughts and empirical knowledge to develop general theories extending from the micro to the macro level. Among them are Neil Fligstein and Doug McAdam, who developed a theory on what they call ‘strategic action fields’ (SAF), a theory on social action and social order that seeks to go beyond the (sub)disciplines of sociology, political sciences and the related disciplines (Fligstein and McAdam, 2012: 4). According to the authors, SAFs are understood as the … fundamental units of collective action in society. A Strategic Action Field is a constructed mesolevel social order in which actors (who can be individual or collective) are attuned to and interact with one another on the basis of shared (which is not to say consensual) understandings about the purposes of the field, relationships to others in the field (including who has power and why), and the rules governing legitimate action in the field. (Fligstein and McAdam, 2012: 9) The approach contains basic statements on the structure of fields, the role of actors and action, the micro-foundation of social action and the broader field environment. The authors then use these basic elements to develop propositions about the dynamics of field emergence, stability and change (Fligstein and McAdam, 2011: 2). In fact, the focus on field change is one of the major aspects that distinguishes Fligstein and McAdam’s work from previous field approaches and makes it highly valuable for the purposes of this book. As will be shown below, Fligstein and McAdam have developed a comprehensive and straightforward approach towards field change. Before discussing this approach in greater detail, I wish to provide a brief and selective introduction to Fligstein and McAdams’ concepts of fields, as this

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illustrates what field change can look like and what dimensions of a social field can be subject to change. The dimensions of a field Although Fligstein and McAdam do not clearly emphasise disentangling different field elements, their concept nevertheless strongly hints at a number of different dimensions, which are also described as potentially subject to change. In their basic definition of SAFs, they mention three different elements that serve as a basis for action in the field: … purposes of the field, relationships to others in the field (including who has power and why), and … rules governing legitimate action in the field. (Fligstein and McAdam, 2012: 9) The purposes of the field is a substantial dimension of fields. As collective action and actors play a crucial role in this approach, shared substantive objectives – or ends, as the authors call them (see, for example, Fligstein and McAdam, 2012: 53) – are the common thread that prompt actors to take into account other actors (see below). If they do so routinely, they are regarded as members of the field (Fligstein and McAdam, 2012: 167). Thus, Fligstein and McAdam use the shared substantive rationales (or purposes) behind action as a starting point for defining the field. However, rather than describing the fixed boundaries of a field, substantive objectives are probably better described as gravitational forces that shape a certain radius to the field. ‘Relationships to others’ deals with the action dimension of fields. According to Fligstein and McAdam, all interaction in the field is about ‘who gets what’ (2011: 3). Actors perceive and interpret the rules of the field, others’ positions and others’ actions from their individual positions in the field: The reactions of more and less powerful actors to the actions of others thus reflect their social position in the field and their interpretation will reflect how someone in their position who perceives the actions of others as directed at “people like them” will react. Their reactions to those actions will be drawn from the repertoire of behaviors that they can mobilize under the rules in reaction to others given their position in the field. (Fligstein and McAdam, 2011: 4)

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In the SAF approach, the relationship between actors, their endowment with power (that is, resources – see below) and their relationship with the rules of the field is basically expressed in terms of two different categories of actors: incumbents and challengers (Gamson, 1990). In order to understand the notion of action in the SAF approach and the relationship between incumbents and challengers in the field, the idea of social skill is crucial. Fligstein and McAdam’s concept of social skill refers to ‘… the ability to empathetically understand situations and what others need and want and to figure out how to use this information to get what you want’ (2012: 178). Social skill thus describes the ability to mobilise structures and achieve collective action in the field. This ability to achieve cooperation is deployed by actors in the field in the service of group interests (Fligstein and McAdam, 2012: 206). The third aspect, rules, refers to a structural dimension of fields, conceptualised as those ‘forms of action and organisation which are viewed as legitimate and meaningful within the context of the field’ (Fligstein and McAdam, 2012: 11) and ‘structure relations and action in the Strategic Action Field’ (Fligstein and McAdam, 2012: 162). Besides rules, resources are also a crucial aspect of the structural dimension of fields. In several sections of their book, Fligstein and McAdam link the question of power implicitly or explicitly to the distribution of resources (2012: 84). Especially in discussions of the methodological challenges of field research, it is clear that power is, to a large extent, conceptualised via resource command in this approach: In some ways, actors have to use what they have. They may or may not know if what they have is powerful enough to allow them to organize the field. But they will take what the system gives and use it as a resource. (Fligstein and McAdam, 2012: 181) Hence, both rules and resources are conceptualised as the two main elements providing structure for the action in the field. However – and this is a particularity of Fligstein and McAdam’s approach in relation to several other new institutional arguments – rules and resources only indirectly structure action in SAFs. The authors, to some extent, establish subjectivity and social constructionism as a filter between the structure and the actors (and their action). The structures of the field only come into play via the subjective perceptions of the actors, who interpret their relative positions in the field and frame their action on the basis of their own understanding of the rules and resources. How

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actors understand their position in the field or how they make sense of what others are doing is shaped by their individual perceptions of the rules and resources. In a nutshell, fields thus have a substantial, structural and actionrelated dimension. As will be outlined in the following, these three dimensions may be subject to change under certain conditions. Field change As already mentioned above, change and stability in fields is at the very heart of Fligstein and McAdam’s SAF approach. They differentiate between three different field states: emergency, stability and crisis (Fligstein and McAdam, 2012: 170). SAFs are conceptualised as arenas where there is a constant jockeying around field positions, which permanently restructures the field. In this process ‘[c]onstant adjustments are being made, and the field is always in some form of flux or negotiations’ (Fligstein and McAdam, 2012: 97). These constant adjustments are individually so modest that they cannot be classified as field change at all. However, cumulatively, over time, they have the potential to put a field in motion (Fligstein and McAdam, 2012: 103). Such incremental destabilisation of a field will not necessarily cause change. Nevertheless, an ‘episode of contention’ may start, which could then result in field transformation. Fligstein and McAdam describe an episode of contention as ‘a temporally bounded period of intense contestation during which the rules and power relations of a given field are very much up for grabs’ (2012: 176). When an episode of contention starts, a certain process in the field happens, according to Fligstein and McAdam (2011: 9). Usually, an external event is perceived as a threat or opportunity by one or more field actors, which might then trigger ‘innovative action’ in the field, that is, forms of action that were previously not part of the routines in the field (Fligstein and McAdam, 2012: 21). The more dependent a field is on another field, the more likely it is that an event in a nearby field will be perceived as a threat or opportunity. This is especially true for resource dependencies (Fligstein and McAdam, 2012: 100). However, the mere perception of an external event as a threat or opportunity will not suffice to trigger innovative action. This perception also needs to be linked to organisational resources that can be mobilised by the actors who possess them. This is what Fligstein and McAdam call ‘organizational appropriation’ (2011: 9). Actors need to command the organisational resources that are relevant for actors responding to the threat or opportunity. Furthermore, fields are more

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resistant to external challenges if they are generally stable (Fligstein and McAdam, 2012: 96–7). If an external event triggers innovative action in the field, this creates a general sense of uncertainty for actors regarding the rules and power relations (Fligstein and McAdam, 2012: 21). This sense of uncertainty is not necessarily perceived as a clear crisis by all field actors, but they usually know that something is at stake and that taken-for-granted rules are no longer self-evident. The actors struggle to reframe the field structures and are ‘expected to propose and seek to mobilise consensus around a particular conception of the field’ (Fligstein and McAdam, 2012: 22). It is at this point that the scene may change, signified by new constellations of actors, new field structures and new forms of collective action that are understood as legitimate in the field. However, just as not every external event is perceived as a threat or opportunity, not every episode of contention is followed by a field change. Actors experiencing an episode of contention might just return to established modes of interaction in the field and thus re-establish the previous order, because whether innovative action is transformed into change again depends strongly on the context in which the innovative action takes place. As Fligstein and McAdam have pointed out, the resettlement of a field after an episode of contention is highly comparable to field formation, since both involve ‘creating a stable order out of a previously chaotic action arena’ (2012: 105). Furthermore, they stress that because of this similarity, similar contextual conditions are of relevance: …  we can expect the social skill of incumbents and challengers and the stabilising hand of state actors to be important in both sets of circumstances [field settlement and field transformation]. (Fligstein and McAdam, 2012: 105) Social skill is so essential for creating a stable order because it mostly entails the ability of socially skilled actors to bring routinised order to the chaotic arena. In a situation where the rules of a field are unclear, and actors are suffering from uncertainty, it is the skill of empathetically understanding situations, mobilising resources and (existing) structures and achieving collective action that very often leads to a new order in the field. Only socially skilled actors will be able to establish new orders that remain stable and serve as a basis for new field structures. They do so by transforming an innovative – and destabilising – action into an accepted, routinised and reproduced action.

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Such an internal resettlement by socially skilled actors might represent the only mechanism of field transformation, but as Fligstein and McAdam point out, in our modern states, field order is very often externally facilitated (2012: 94). Most fields in modern societies – and especially policy fields, of course – are strongly shaped by statutory regulations. State actors are able to impose order on the field by various means (for example, sponsoring particular groups, certifying certain norms, sanctioning or legalising specific behaviour or providing particular resources); this then provides the actors in the field with new rules and resources. A statutory intervention could thus enable the transformation of innovative action into field change by providing external legitimisation of such action. To sum up, it can be stated that field change is actually driven by two different processes: (1) the appropriation of an external event (perceived as a threat or opportunity), which leads to innovative action that destabilises the field, and (2) the transformation of this innovative action, resulting in field change. Both appropriation and transformation are processes that are enabled or facilitated by particular conditions (for appropriation, this is whether the external event is perceived as a threat or opportunity, whether the field is stable and whether the field actors command the relevant resources; for transformation, it is whether socially skilled actors bring routinised order into the field, and whether the stabilising hand of the state provides legitimisation). Figure 3.1 illustrates these processes and the related conditions. Although this is a very ‘attractive’ and helpful approach, which provides analytical tools for capturing processes and dimensions of change, it is obviously still highly abstract. In order to make it applicable to this empirical study on the role of the ESF in local labour market policies, I next link the Europeanisation debate to the field theoretical insights. Based on this, I derive theoretical expectations from this, which can subsequently guide the empirical analysis.

Figure 3.1: Appropriation of an external event and the transformation into field change EXTERNAL EVENT

INNOVATIVE ACTION TRANSFORMATION if (and/or) • socially skilled actors bring routinised order into field in motion • stabilising hand of the state provides legitimisation

APPROPRIATION if (and/or) • external event is perceived as threat or opportunity • field is unstable • field actors command relevant resources

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FIELD CHANGE

Local Policies and the European Social Fund

Changing fields of local labour market policies The notion of change is at the core of EU integration and Europeanisation research: scholars are interested in questions such as how European institutions have evolved over the last decades, what effect particular EU laws have had at the domestic level, how attitudes towards Europe have changed, and so on. Nevertheless, the two perspectives previously outlined in the Europeanisation debate (top-down and bottom-up) differ remarkably with regard to how they conceptualise change. The top-down perspective captures change in absolute terms due to EU influence (‘to what extent are the domestic models now similar to the EU model?’) and the bottom-up model takes the domestic level as the point of reference and measures change in relative before–after categories (‘to what extent is the current domestic situation different to a situation before?’). The difference between these two concepts of change is often also linguistically evident, although most authors are probably not aware of it. While top-down studies frequently make use of language that suggests a causal argument (‘impact’, ‘affected by’, etc; see Knill and Lehmkuhl, 1999; Caporaso, 2007), bottom-up studies utilise more process-describing terms (‘incorporation’, ‘transformation’, ‘change’; see Radaelli, 2003, 2012; Vink and Graziano, 2007). This diverging notion of change is due to differences in the research foci in the two perspectives, as outlined above: the bottom-up approach (and especially the usages approach) is interested in the process of Europeanisation, and the top-down perspective is mainly interested in EU-induced change as an outcome of this process. As this book is interested in the role of the ESF in local labour market policies both with regard to the process and the outcome, the most appropriate approach to adopt is an integrated bottom-up/ top-down perspective that starts by analysing at the subnational level but also takes into account what comes from the European level. Empirically, the study is therefore interested in detecting change as it is expressed in differences between the current and previous status quo in the different dimensions of local labour market policy fields, and seeks to link these differences to a process triggered by the ESF. But how should such differences in local fields between present and past situations be captured, and how should the process of change be observed? Here, the field theoretical approach introduced above is of great help. According to Fligstein and McAdam, fields are dynamic, and a certain degree of change is always underway. However, fundamental

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change is often triggered by exogenous events. In line with Chapter 2 on social and employment policies in a multilevel system, the ESF is indeed an external entity as far as local labour market policies are concerned, coming from ‘somewhere up there in Brussels’ (probably similar to directives, programmes or funding tools coming from the national level or other administrative levels). In addition, although the ESF has already existed for a long time, it was only in the mid2000s when the incentivising and coordinating dimensions of the ESF actually became relevant; these dimensions were then subsequently reinforced. Hence, although the ESF did not appear out of the blue, from the perspective of the local fields, they were confronted with a more or less sudden external event. This external event might – under certain circumstances – trigger innovative action that then destabilises the field and possibly prompts a transformation of innovative action into field change. From a Europeanisation perspective, a similar story can be told: EU resource usage can be understood as an appropriation, which turns into innovative action. In a next step, this might lead to EU-induced field change – but it does not have to; a field might restabilise without being transformed through innovative action. When combining the Europeanisation perspective and the field perspective, relatively precise insights emerge regarding the conditions under which (1) innovative action/usage and (2) EU-induced field change arise. This is illustrated in the following. Engaging with European resources As discussed above, the process of field destabilisation can be read as an active response of the field to external events that are perceived as threats or opportunities. By ‘responding’ to this external event in a certain way, field actors undertake new forms of action that somehow bring the field into motion and destabilise it. If, turning to a Europeanisation perspective, we can now use different conceptual labels to describe the processes of destabilisation, these labels are nevertheless based on similar theoretical assumptions. In the usages approach, a bottom-up, actor-centred Europeanisation perspective, the European level is understood as providing a set of opportunities or resources that the domestic actors use in specific ways. While European resources might – but do not always (Woll and Jacquot, 2010: 121) – trigger different kinds of usage, usage does not always have an impact:

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Without usage, there is no impact. Still, it is important to note that usage does not necessarily imply impact. Usage does not imply automatic results – their failures are always possible and need to be considered. The concept of usage is a constitutive mechanism: it is part of a process, not necessarily its cause. To be more precise, usage is a necessary condition for impact, but not always a sufficient one. (Jacquot and Woll, 2003: 6) Taking into account these basic elements of the usages approach, several similarities to the field theoretical perspective on ‘innovative action’, destabilisation and its role for field change can be observed. Both of these approaches expect innovative action to happen due to an external event, which provides opportunities or constraints to actors in the field. However, actors may not necessarily perceive the external event as an opportunity (or a constraint), or they might do so only gradually. In the case of the ESF, it could be argued that the amount of available funding matters for local actors’ perceptions of the ESF as an opportunity.1 In EU structural funding, there are many different funding schemes. At the time of this study, convergence funding and competitiveness and employment funding were the most relevant (European Commission, 2018). In simple terms, the differences are that in convergence regions, actors need to invest less of their own co-funding and have higher ESF rates available than in other regions. Of course, this can be assumed to make a difference with regard to whether actors perceive the ESF as an opportunity. Nevertheless, the mere availability or the amount of money in the ESF is most probably only part of the story. According to Fligstein and McAdam, whether field actors perceive an external event as a threat/opportunity or not also depends greatly on the stability of a field and its (resource) dependency on other fields (2012: 100). The stability and independence of a field is especially influenced by the degree of resource dependency of the particular field on other fields, and by the extent to which field structures support powerful actors. The argument that, in stable and independent fields, strong incumbents will be more likely to seek to preserve the status quo also applies in the Europeanisation debate: powerful domestic actors (multiple veto points) are thought by some to be a crucial condition for hampering Europeanisation, since they might oppose adaptation to Europeanisation pressure (Börzel and Risse, 2003: 59). Stable and independent fields are thus much less likely to be affected by external events than unstable and dependent fields (Fligstein and

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McAdam, 2012: 96). But even if a field is unstable and dependent and field actors perceive an external event as a threat or opportunity, we cannot automatically assume that they will engage in innovative action. Whether they are able to do this or not also depends on their command of organisational resources, according to Fligstein and McAdam (Fligstein and McAdam, 2012: 21). Organisational appropriation can be understood as a particular form of action performed by field actors; it requires certain capacities (that is, the command of organisational resources for such appropriation), and not all field actors have them equally. Thus, in addition to actors’ preferences for action, their capacity to perform this action is relevant here. This argument is not only also mentioned by the usages authors in the usages tradition (Woll and Jacquot, 2010: 121); similar points have been made by several other Europeanisation scholars when referring to rational choice institutionalism and the role of institutions with regard to Europeanisation outcomes (see, for example, Börzel and Risse, 2003: 59). Here, administrative capacity is particularly noted as a crucial resource (see, for example, Tosun, 2014; Terracciano and Graziano, 2016). In a nutshell, the empirical findings and middle-range theoretical concepts from the Europeanisation research support – or at least do not contradict – what Fligstein and McAdam’s field theoretical approach suggests: the context in terms of internal field structures and the relationship of the field to other fields matters greatly with regard to Europeanisation processes. It does so in the sense that it shapes whether actors develop preferences regarding whether they react to external European input or not, and whether they are capable of reacting or not. It can thus be assumed that both field instability and the command of relevant resources are contextual conditions determining the usage of European resources. EU-induced change in domestic fields As shown, the process of field destabilisation corresponds with the Europeanisation concept of ‘usages of Europe’. Turning to the dimension of change, I now focus on the effects of such usages. From a field perspective, usages bring critical motion into the field, and the effects should be visible in the resettlement of a field after such destabilisation. The shift from innovative action – here, usages – towards change has been labelled ‘transformation’ above. Each (policy) field has its own ‘portfolio’ of accepted rules and resources (the structural dimensions), forms of actions (the action dimension) and

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Local Policies and the European Social Fund

substantive reference points (the substantive dimension). If usages of EU resources are not part of this portfolio and are therefore new and innovative, the above-described destabilisation might occur. However, under certain circumstances, the innovative forms of action, rules and resources, and substantive reference points that were previously not accepted, can become part of the standard portfolio. This is what could be called field change as an outcome of the Europeanisation process. Similar to what arises when we consider the usages of European resources as an external event, when we consider a merger of the field approach and the Europeanisation debate, we can gain insights into the contextual conditions under which field change might take place. Here, the role of social skill is crucial. As outlined above, in the SAF approach, transformation from innovative action into field change is assumed to be related to the existence of socially skilled actors with clear interests in a normalisation of the new forms of action. Socially skilled actors are particularly capable of interpreting field rules and mobilising field resources since they have ‘the ability to empathetically understand situations and what others need and want and to figure out how to use this information to get what [they] want’ (Fligstein and McAdam, 2012: 178), and they can unleash a normalisation after field destabilisation by ‘sustained oppositional mobilization…’ (Fligstein and McAdam, 2011: 10). Most interestingly, in the ‘mediating factors’ debate, ‘change agents’ or ‘norm entrepreneurs’ have also been mentioned as relevant factors for Europeanisation because these ‘mobilize in the domestic context and persuade others to redefine their interests and identities’ (Börzel and Risse, 2003: 59). Similarly, Zirra (2010: 431) has identified the crucial role of institutional entrepreneurs for Europeanisation; their existence should thus be regarded as a crucial contextual condition for the transformation process. Another highly relevant factor for field restabilisation and thus potential transformation is ‘the stabilising hand of the state’. As discussed above, state actors are able to impose field order by various means (for example, by sponsoring particular groups, sanctioning or legalising specific behaviour or providing particular resources). This can strongly support the ‘normalisation’ of previously innovative and destabilising action by legitimating it, enhancing its introduction into the standard field portfolio or by simply redistributing relevant resources. A statutory intervention could thus enable the transformation of innovative action into field change by providing external legitimisation of such action, as well as via the internal resettlement socially skilled actors might undertake.

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Domestic responses to European money

We therefore have two possibly relevant contextual conditions that may be able to influence the process of transforming usage into field change. Here, again, it is clear that, theoretically, instances of usage are not the same as change. A brief example can illustrate this: imagine a field of local labour market policies, where there are a number of actors delivering services for long-term unemployed people. While the ESF has already served as a financing tool in this field in the past, and the actors are aware of it, a number of changes were introduced in the funding period 2007–13. Subsequently, some actors made use of these opportunities and applied for funding. In this context, they complied with some new partnership requirements and formed new alliances. Since such alliances did not exist before, and this form of cooperation was indeed new in this particular local field, the cooperation constitutes innovative action with regard to the usage of the ESF. Now, it is plausible that after handing in the application, the actors continued as before and no longer cooperated. Thus, the forms of usages would not have led to field change. But one could also imagine another version of the story: some actors might have seen a great benefit in further cooperation and maintained the alliance beyond the application process (and potential project funding). Here, field change would have happened. This example shows that usages can but do not necessarily lead to field change. Yet field change cannot happen without usage. In other words, usage is a necessary but not sufficient condition for field change (Jacquot and Woll, 2003: 6). Unfortunately, however, this relationship between usage and change – and especially their differences – is often underestimated in the Europeanisation literature. In earlier work on the usages approach, the authors emphasised that usages are to be differentiated from impact. They clearly emphasise that change (or impact, as the authors label it) is not possible without usages (that is, the domestic adaptation of European resources is a precondition for change), since ‘a measure cannot have an impact if no actor seizes it and transmits it to the national level’ (Jacquot and Woll, 2003: 6), but not every usage leads to change. However, in their later work, this aspect somehow disappeared. In their much more frequently cited paper from 2010, they mainly deal with the overall theoretical embedding of the concept and with the specification of different types of usages, yet they no longer make a clear distinction between usage and change (or impact, as they label it) (Woll and Jacquot, 2010). At the same time, top-down Europeanisation studies interested in change as the actual outcome do not systematically differentiate between the reaction to what comes from the EU and the domestic effects and processes.

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Local Policies and the European Social Fund

Yet, understanding EU-induced change as a consecutive process, which first requires the usage of particular EU resources and second, may lead to field change, helps me to analytically disentangle the different Europeanisation foci. On the one hand, domestic engagement with EU policies, ideas and structures can be conceptualised as an independent process. Here, the analytical focus can be placed on how and why actors appropriate EU input (as external events), but it is not necessary to conceptualise how this appropriation continues and what its effects are. In the next step, the focus can then be put on the transformation of such appropriation into change – but without necessarily linking it to the analytical particularities of the appropriation process. Given that the Europeanisation research is often – depending on the perspective – both interested in the process of EU-induced change and in the outcome, the double-staged process provides analytical categories for both research interests, albeit in a twin pack. On the one hand, we can differentiate between two processes, namely, the appropriation of EU resources as external events and the transformation of usage into field change. Furthermore, both usage and change can be understood as responses to EU resources, but only field change would qualify as ‘real’ Europeanisation, as only here could a persistent EU‑induced change be observed (as usage in the sense of innovative action might also result in a restabilisation of the field as it previously was). Figure 3.2 illustrates this analytical perspective on Europeanisation. Figure 3.2 emphasises three relevant dimensions of the analytical perspective: first, it points towards the need to distinguish between usage and change as two different phenomena (that is, two different responses) in the context of Europeanisation. Furthermore, it differentiates between two different research interests, namely, Europeanisation as an outcome (what do usage and change in response to the ESF look like empirically?) and Europeanisation as a process (under which conditions do usage and change happen?). And finally, by providing theoretical reflections on the processes of appropriation and transformation, it offers theoretical expectations regarding the conditions under which usage and change might happen, that is, regarding the general availability or the available amount of funding, the stability of the local field, local actors’ resource command, usage (as a relevant condition for change), the role of state actors’ intervention and the role of socially skilled actors.

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Figure 3.2: The double-staged process of field change

Response 2

ESF

USAGES

FIELD CHANGE

as external event

as innovative action

as Europeanisation outcome

43

Appropriation

Transformation

of the ESF as an EU resource that is perceived as an opportunity

Of usages as innovative action into standard and routine elements of the field

Relevant conditions: • availability/amount of funding • field stability • actors’ resource command

Europeanisation process

Relevant conditions: • usage • state actors’ interventions • social skilled actors

Domestic responses to European money

Response 1

Local Policies and the European Social Fund

Based on these theoretical expectations, the following hypotheses can be formulated: 1. The availability and/or the amount of EU funding, the stability of the local field and actors’ abilities to command the relevant resources are expected to be relevant contextual conditions for an appropriation of the ESF by local actors, so that usage of the ESF can be observed. 2. The usage of the ESF, the interventions of state actors and the existence of socially skilled actors are expected to be relevant contextual conditions for a transformation of the local field, so that ESF-induced field change can be observed. The hypotheses are, at least tentatively, formulated in a conditional manner, which corresponds to the analytical perspective adopted in the study and to the methodological approach that will be described alongside the research design, data collection and processing in the following chapter. The epistemological reflections in the following chapter also allow me to develop more fine-grained formulation of the conditional hypotheses (that is, in terms of necessary and sufficient conditions), which I shall then test empirically with empirical data from 18 local cases in six European countries in order to answer this study’s research questions. Note 1

In order to keep things simple, this study treats the ESF only as a potential opportunity for local actors in the field and not as a threat. In general, money is unlikely to be perceived as a threat. In the case of the ESF, there is no formal hierarchical pressure to make use of the ESF, and although there might be scenarios where it is plausible that the ESF works as a threat, this is unlikely to happen frequently in reality.

44

4

The research programme in a nutshell The previous chapters have provided an introduction into social and employment policies in Europe from a multilevel perspective. They pointed to the nature of the ESF as an integrated governance tool, developed an analytical perspective on ESF-induced change in local labour market policies by combining Europeanisation literature and the field theoretical approaches by Fligstein and McAdam, and derived guiding hypotheses from the literature, which I will test on the basis of empirical data. In this chapter, the more practical features of the empirical work are discussed: case selection, data collection and data processing. However, before outlining the actual design of the study, I discuss the particular epistemological framework of causality on which the design is based. In addition, as the study utilises QCA, a method that is nowadays relatively widespread in social sciences but still not part of the standard university canon, this chapter provides a brief introduction to the method’s core features.

A conditional perspective and suitable tools Understanding and explaining causality is one of the key concerns of the social sciences. Usually, scholars are either interested in the causes of an effect (y-oriented) or in the effects of a cause (x-oriented). There is also a third research perspective on causality, namely, one that focuses on the causal mechanism linking cause and effect (Radaelli, 2012: 9). With regard to the focus of this study as formulated above (that is, on the role of the ESF in local labour market policies in terms of field change and the related process of change), it is clear that both the ‘effects of cause’ perspective and the ‘causal mechanism’ perspective come into play, as a key interest of this study is in the effects of structural funding in terms of domestic change and the causal process linking the ESF and this domestic change. Unfortunately, studying processes is a tricky task, as it is impossible at the end of the day to empirically measure the process itself (Tacq, 2011: 266). Instead, some authors have suggested studying the context under which the respective causal mechanisms operate (Falleti and Lynch,

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Local Policies and the European Social Fund

2009). Context can be defined as the prevailing aspects of a causal setting, be they analytical, temporal, spatial or institutional (Falleti and Lynch, 2009: 1152). As it is an aspect of the setting in which the causal mechanism operates, context is not external to a unit of an analysis but internal. In other words, the analytical, temporal, spatial or institutional aspects are attributes of the cases studied, and as such, they can be empirically measured. Still, context is a very fuzzy and broad concept that does not really allow for sound conceptualisation and straightforward measurement, and it is therefore necessary to clearly specify which aspects of the setting (that is, the context) are of relevance in particular causal processes, and ‘allow the mechanism to produce the outcome’ (Falleti and Lynch, 2009: 1152). These aspects can also be understood as contextual conditions that enable the causal mechanism to work. This is also how George and Bennett frame the analytical challenge of a case-oriented causal analysis: ‘to identify the conditions under which a particular mechanism becomes activated’ (George and Bennett, 2005: 137). To identify contextual conditions, theory is vital. As Falleti and Lynch rightly point out, ‘theory-guided research routinely sets scope conditions’ (2009: 1153), which, in turn, provides a particular lens through which empirical reality can be observed. The merger of Fligstein and McAdam’s field theoretical approach and Europeanisation research provides the kind of theory-informed view of context (and other aspects) necessary for the purposes of this book. It also revealed that, according to the theoretical model, we can assume that different contextual conditions are of relevance for the usage of European resources and for EU-induced change. First of all, context shapes whether actors develop preferences for whether and how they react to an external European resource, and whether they are capable of reacting or not. The ESF funding scheme, field instability and the command of relevant resources are contextual conditions that can determine usages of European resources. With regard to change, it was expected that the existence of socially skilled actors and the intervention of state actors would work as relevant conditions since they enable field transformation. Such conditional thinking is quite common in everyday life, and the notion of necessary and sufficient conditions is something most people have heard of. Formulating relationships between conditions and an outcome in terms of necessity and sufficiency can relieve the researcher of having to make overly deterministic statements on causality. Stating that a condition is sufficient or necessary for an outcome does not automatically imply that the absence of this condition is also sufficient

46

The research programme in a nutshell

or necessary for the absence of the outcome. Furthermore, a condition can be sufficient but not necessary (or vice versa) for it to play a relevant role in a causal explanation. In fact, this plays a crucial role in the above-introduced usages approach, in which, as mentioned, the authors state that [w]ithout usage, there is no impact. Still, it is important to note that usage does not necessarily imply impact.… To be more precise, usage is a necessary condition for impact, but not always a sufficient one. (Jacquot and Woll, 2003: 6) The relationship between conditions can be much more complicated, of course. There are conditions that are simultaneously necessary and sufficient or conditions that can – and empirically mostly do – only come into play in conjunction with other conditions; this conjunction, in turn, can take different forms. To comprehensively analyse such complex relationships, which rest on a deterministic logic of conditionality rather than on a probabilistic notion of causality, a powerful method has been developed in the social sciences: qualitative comparative analysis. As a research programme, QCA is grounded in set theoretical logic and builds on a case-oriented research tradition while at the same time allowing for the inclusion of many more cases than usual case study analyses. As a methodology, it provides welldesigned and fully-fledged tools for analysing conditional relationships on the basis of Boolean algebra. As its epistemological foundations fit very well with the research perspective of this book, I apply QCA to analyse the contextual conditions under which the usage of the ESF and ESF-induced change can be observed. Since QCA is a well-established method in the social sciences and there are excellent textbooks on the subject (among others, see Schneider and Wagemann, 2012), there is no introduction to the methods in this book.1 However, QCA requires a particular approach to data processing, since numerical instances are assigned to empirical observations, a procedure of which researchers from the qualitative tradition are often suspicious. In order to make this procedure as transparent as possible and allow readers unfamiliar with QCA to follow the empirical analyses, the following provides a brief overview of the main technical aspects of the calibration process (that is, the process of constructing the values for set membership), and an entire subsection describes the empirical details of calibration in the context of data processing.

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Local Policies and the European Social Fund

As QCA (like conditional thinking in general) is rooted in set theory, it expresses theoretical and/or empirical concepts in terms of numerical set memberships, which cannot only be dichotomous (0 and 1), but also display different intermediate values (that is, those between 0 and 1, which are called fuzzy sets). For each case under study, I determine numerical values for both the outcome of interest and the conditions that are to be included in the analysis. The assignment of membership values to particular cases is usually based on in-depth case knowledge. In the next step, I construct a truth table, which serves as a basis for further analyses. By deploying logical inference, these analyses reveal underlying patterns of necessary and sufficient conditions for the outcome of interest. However, the trickiest part of QCA is not the technical truth table analysis, but the decisions that have to be taken before, during and after this analysis. The most crucial decisions before QCA concern the calibration of the conditions, the outcome and the choice of cases, since they can influence the results of the analysis significantly. All decisions require a constant dialogue with the empirical data and the theoretical framework. This dialogue is used to define full membership (that is, very high, 1.0) and full non-membership (that is, very low, 0.0). Here, the point of maximum indifference (0.5) is crucial. If 1.0 means full set membership and 0.0 means full non-set membership, at 0.5, one cannot say whether a case is qualitatively in or out of the set. By having access to explicit definitions of full membership, the point of maximum indifference and non-membership (that is, the so-called anchor points), the researcher can then start addressing the different degrees of membership, that is, what partial membership or partial non-membership is. To define the qualitative anchor points and the different degrees of membership, researchers can deploy both quantitative and qualitative sources. The qualitative data is not coded in a top-down manner, where precise operationalisations and definitive concepts provide ‘clear definitions in terms of attributes or fixed bench marks’ (Blumer, 1954: 7). Instead, the data is allowed to speak for itself, with theory working as a sensitising concept, that is, as a kind of lens through which to look at the data, which helps to pre-structure and grasp its analytically relevant aspects. These sensitising concepts give us ‘a general sense of reference and guidance in approaching empirical instances’ (Blumer, 1954: 7). The constant back and forth between data and theory in QCA makes it impossible to clearly separate the inductive and deductive aspects of calibration and encourages a combination of the two approaches.

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The research programme in a nutshell

Most interestingly, although this approach claims that case knowledge and qualitative data play a decisive role, strategies to construct fuzzy sets out of qualitative data are still conceptually underdeveloped and often only marginally discussed in QCA manuals. A valuable exception is the manual by Basurto and Speer (Basurto and Speer, 2012), which has served as a basis for this study and was further developed within it. This chapter provides a more detailed description of the calibration process. However, I first offer an overview of the case selection and data collection.

The empirical basis of the study Case selection is a sensitive issue in any study because it defines how generalised findings can be in terms of scope. Even if researchers are merely seeking to understand a single case in depth, the generalisation of knowledge is a driving motivation in many subfields of the social sciences and for many researchers. For large N studies utilising a probabilistic approach, generalisation is relatively easy to claim. The basic idea of probabilistic approaches is that their results can be extrapolated to a larger universe of cases, presuming the sample is sound (Gerring, 2013: 86). For case-oriented and deterministic studies, such as those in QCA or ‘traditional’ qualitative work, generalisation has different challenges. Here, it is the internal validity (that is, the degree to which descriptive or causal inferences are correct for these particular cases; see Seawright and Collier, 2010) that is relevant rather than external validity (that is, the degree to which descriptive or causal inferences can be generalised; see Seawright and Collier, 2010). Nevertheless, case studies do not necessarily need to remain at the level of the individual cases they study. Here, theory and theoretical concepts play a decisive role. A researcher can detach the properties of an individual case that are relevant for their research interest and link them to theoretical reflections (either previously formulated or inductively generated), provided they are relevant to the research interest and are suggested by both data and theory. By emphasising the particular properties of a case, the researcher then makes the case an instance of a more abstract concept. If the theoretical claims are plausible and the empirical data show high internal validity, the findings from a case study analysis can be deemed true for cases that have not been studied but are instances of the same theoretical concept, as long as there are no contradictory theoretical or empirical findings. This means of taking case study findings up the ladder of abstraction

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Local Policies and the European Social Fund

(Sartori, 1970: 1044) can be described as contingent generalisation (George and Bennett, 2005: 233). For such contingent generalisation, the sampling strategy is of crucial relevance, since it links the cases and their properties to the theoretical concepts (George and Bennett, 2005: 251–3). While large N studies usually select the cases randomly to achieve statistical representativeness, this is not advisable for small N and medium N studies, since selecting very few cases out of a large population risks producing a sample that is substantially unrepresentative (Seawright and Gerring, 2008: 295). This is why case selection in small N studies is usually done via a purposive sampling, a procedure that was also applied in the present study. In this study, I first chose some grouping variables (Blatter et  al, 2007: 174) with regard to basic aspects of comparison. The idea was to systematically cover the full range of diversity (Seawright and Gerring, 2008: 300) by selecting the cases based on a number of dimensions which – as suggested by theory and the research interest – could probably be of relevance regarding our causal mechanisms. Considering this study’s interest in multilevel phenomena and local labour market policies, two dimensions are particularly theoretically relevant: the institutional setup of the cases with regard to (1) multilevel interaction and (2) to labour market policies/activation. Furthermore, I also included the socioeconomic performance of a case as a grouping variable. Consequently, I chose countries that varied across these two dimensions and covered the full range of ‘worlds of activation’ (see, for example, Barbier and Ludwig-Mayerhofer, 2004; Serrano Pascual, 2007; Heidenreich and Aurich-Beerheide, 2014) and multilevel setups. For socioeconomic performance, the regional level is of decisive relevance, … since increasing economic and technological differences between urban regions, regional innovation systems and other regions within the same state challenge the ability of the state to ensure equal living conditions in the face of regional differentiation processes. (Heidenreich, 2012a: 1) This is why I selected one over-performing, one average-performing and one under-performing entity (NUTS 3 level) in every country. These entities were intended to represent the socioeconomic situation in the broader region (that is, a selected city in an over-performing region should not be under-performing etc). The socioeconomic performance was assessed by looking at the regional GDP, the labour

50

The research programme in a nutshell

force participation rate and the unemployment rate in comparison to the national average (Heidenreich, 2012b). Although these top-down selection criteria were already quite helpful for decreasing the number of potentially selectable cases, I still had to define further selection criteria. In the context of the study, it was not possible to systematically control for and select along specific criteria beyond the grouping variables. Thus, I applied a less systematic strategy of diverse case selection, which could not ensure that a maximum of variance was achieved but still sought to keep variance high: within each of the three regions per country mentioned above, one local entity was chosen. Although they do not vary in a systematic manner, these cases vary along different dimensions, for example, in terms of their dominant political tradition, their size and their administrative responsibilities in the country’s multilevel system. The sample thus includes cities with about 50,000 inhabitants, cities with about 2.7 million inhabitants and cities that have differing political traditions, a strong social democratic or strong conservative tradition. Furthermore, some cities only have administrative responsibilities for a small municipal territory, while others are capitals of a region or even of a country. The case profiles in in the Appendix (at the end of the book) provide greater insights into this diversity. In a nutshell, the case selection occurred in a two-stage process of diverse case selection, which consisted of a top-down, systematic part, and a bottom-up, more unsystematic part. This selection strategy generated a sample of 18  cases, located in six different European countries, covering five different activation regimes and three different multilevel setups. Germany and France are both continental welfare systems with similar activation policies; in these countries a tax-financed minimum income scheme is linked to relatively tight activation measures while at the same time there are more generous benefits with less demanding instruments for insiders. In both countries, access and benefit levels are regulated at the national level, and the organisation of services is a local matter. However, from a broader perspective, France has a much more centralised tradition, while the German federal system leaves more responsibility at the level of the states, or Bundesländer (which is also relevant with regard to ESF funding). Sweden, which is a centrally organised unitary state with strong local self-government, follows a Scandinavian welfare tradition, with a strong focus on universalism and a crucial role of enabling activation measures. The UK, following a liberal ‘last resort’ welfare regime with a strong emphasis on work-first activation, also has a centralist government, but broad responsibilities are devolved to the

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administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. In both Italy and Poland, the regions play a crucial role in the multilevel setup. In Italy, the regionally administered unemployment scheme is marginally linked to the locally organised local social policies, and when this study was conducted, there was still no fully fledged minimum income scheme. Activation policies had only been partially introduced and they emphasised human capital development. In Poland, a minimum income scheme exists, but it has very low benefit levels and is only weakly linked to activation measures or to local social policies. In the Appendix, a case profile for each case discusses the politicoadministrative multilevel setup and the activation regimes for the six countries in greater detail. This provides further information on the socioeconomic and political situation as well as the ESF funding in the individual cases during the period of study. As the empirical work is based on sensitive interview data and some interviewees were concerned about anonymity, I assigned case labels. These refer to the country and to the region in which the case is located (that is, F1 means a local entity in an over-performing region in France, and DE3 is an under-performing region in Germany etc). Table 4.1 lists the basic selection criteria and the sample. The empirical data in these cases was gathered as part of a larger research project: the EU FP7-funded LOCALISE project.2 Each country in the study was represented in the research consortium by a scientific team responsible for the empirical tasks in the respective country. The work was organised in consecutive work packages, starting with a literature review and secondary analysis of relevant documents at the national level in order to understand the national institutional setups and policy frames in social and employment policies in the six countries covered by the project (France, Italy, Poland, Sweden, the UK and Germany). In a second step, the subnational level was addressed, and the organisation of activation policies and services in three local entities per country were studied. This step involved conducting expert interviews aimed at gathering knowledge on the processes of organisational integration during policy development and implementation across different political levels, policy dimensions and stakeholders. The core empirical materials were expert interviews. Experts are considered local policy actors who have privileged access to knowledge about the activities within the field due to their position (Meuser and Nagel, 2003), and who have the opportunity to influence these activities (Bogner and Menz, 2002). Thus, experts should not only have special knowledge, but also some institutionalised role in the field of action.

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The research programme in a nutshell Table 4.1: Basic case selection criteria

France

Activation regime Continental

Multilevel setup Centralist

Italy

Mediterranean

Germany

Socioeconomic performance Over-performing Average-performing Under-performing

Case F1 F2 F3

Regional

Over-performing Average-performing Under-performing

IT1 IT2 IT3

Continental

Federal

Over-performing Average-performing Under-performing

DE1 DE2 DE3

Poland

Central European

Regional

Over-performing Average-performing Under-performing

PL1 PL2 PL3

Sweden

Scandinavian

Centralist/ localised

Over-performing Average-performing Under-performing

SE1 SE2 SE3

UK

Anglo Saxon

Centralist/ devolved

Over-performing Average-performing Under-performing

UK1 UK2 UK3

Source: Author’s own, based on a LOCALISE project

The interviews with local experts were conducted by the research teams from the respective countries in order to ensure language proficiency and adequate knowledge of the setups. All country teams followed the same research framework. This framework provided close guidelines for the questionnaires in the different languages. The research framework, which was generated deductively and ex ante, defined clear and explicit research objectives and suggested formulations for interview questions, which were then translated into the different languages, taking into account the different national and local settings (Fuertes and McQuaid, 2013: 26–7). This ensured a high comparability across the 18 local entities. The number of expert interviews in the second step varied between the local entities, but in all cases a minimum of 11 and a maximum of 28 interviews were conducted (cf the Appendix). Interviewees were selected using both a deductive strategy and an inductive snowball sampling technique (Ritchie et al, 2014: 129). In all cases, interviews were conducted with representatives from the public employment

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Local Policies and the European Social Fund

services (PES), from the third sector, from local politics and from public administration in order to ensure comparability regarding the role of these actors. Further interview partners were chosen according to the local setup. Here, the ‘relevance of actors in the field’ was a crucial selection criteria (Meuser and Nagel, 2003: 466–7). In fact, the role of actors in the local fields is explicitly discussed in the further processing of the data. The third research step was explicitly focused on the role of the EU and EU policies in the local fields under study. While in the second step most of the interviewees had been asked to talk about their experiences with EU policies and the relevance of the European level in their everyday work, as well as their potential contacts, additional interviews were conducted in some cases to explicitly address these issues in a more in-depth manner (Catalano and Graziano, 2014: 3). Here, again, the research was conducted by the different country teams and followed a framework agreed ex ante. This offered insights into (1) the role of EU topics within the original subnational field, and (2) the explicit issues the professionals are facing in the different cases. All three steps of research were summarised in individual and comparative country and case reports. In the second step (subnational activation policies) and third step (the role of the EU in these subnational policies), comprehensive case study reports were generated (up to 65,000 words). These followed explicit deductive comparative guidelines based on the joint research framework mentioned above. Here, all empirical phenomena of interest for the project were discussed separately but embedded in the broader context of the case, and numerous quotes were provided (translated into English) as empirical instances. The individual case study insights for the second step were furthermore united in comparative country reports and then in a joint cross-country report. For the second step, there are comparative within-country reports focusing on all three cases and one cross-country report.3 In sum, 32 case studies and comparative reports were available, which provided very broad but also detailed insights into the local fields in the 18 cases (see the Appendix for a list of reports and quoted interviews). These 32 reports serve as a basis for the study presented in this book. Furthermore, interview data from Germany, France, the UK and Italy were deployed to gather background knowledge. An in-depth reanalysis of the individual case studies and the comparative reports on EU–local relationships was then performed to actually calibrate outcomes and conditions. The empirical material was analysed with MAXQDA, which was selected due to the required constant dialogue

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The research programme in a nutshell

between data and theory, as described above. The analysis started with a very general codebook, which was then refined in several steps. Following the logic of a framework analysis, the results of this coding were then transferred into framework matrixes (Spencer et al, 2014: 305), where cases and themes (and subthemes) were cross-tabulated in order to achieve comparability (see the Appendix). This framework matrix served as a basis for the set membership assignments (see the Appendix for raw data), but here again, the iterative dialogue between data and theory was applied. The set memberships were then used for a formal QCA implemented with the programme fs/QCA (version 2.5; 2009).

Basic strategies and key decisions in calibration and analyses As discussed, the calibration of fuzzy sets is a delicate issue and requires much time and effort. A constant back and forth between the data and theoretical concepts is inevitable. To a large extent, this study followed the suggestions made by Basurto and Speer (2012) in order to generate a reliable and sound fuzzy dataset out of the qualitative material. However, since the study was conducted as part of a larger research project and the analysis centred on comprehensive case studies rather than interview material, not all steps could be accomplished as suggested by the authors; instead, I had to adapt the process. In the following I discuss the main analytical steps of the calibration process in turn. However, I do not provide substantive (that is, empirical) information on the actual calibration of the outcomes and conditions at this point, since this information is presented in the context of the empirical analyses later in this book (see Chapters 5 and 6). The first step of the calibration process consisted of a deductive conceptualisation of the outcomes and potentially relevant conditions against the backdrop of the research interest and the analytical framework introduced previously. Based on this, I identified two possible responses to the ESF as outcomes, namely, usage and change. Usage can have two different dimensions: strategic and cognitive. I theoretically constructed change as consisting of three different dimensions: in the action dimension, structural dimension and substantive dimension. As conditions for usage, I identified the amount of available ESF funding, the stability of the local field and the resource command of local actors as potentially relevant according to the analytical model. For change, I expected usage to be a necessary condition, and furthermore included the intervention of state actors

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and the existence of socially skilled actors in the field as potentially relevant conditions without clear directional expectancies. Since both outcomes consist of more than one dimension, I had to calculate ‘overall’ outcomes out of these dimensions. The actual procedure is reported in the empirical analyses below. To further process the outcome and conditions as fuzzy set variables, they need a label with which they can be identified in the course of the analysis. Table 4.2 lists the concepts and labels used for the respective conditions and outcomes. In theory, the next step for a transformation of qualitative data into fuzzy sets should be the development of the qualitative anchor points (1.0 and 0.5). Yet in practice, the theoretical field approach and actor-centred perspective played a decisive role for almost all sets. In the case studies that served as a basis for the analysis, the relevant actors in the field had been defined both for service delivery and policy making in local labour market policies; this made it possible to conduct a good assessment of field actors. To assess whether a case is in or out of the set, I decided to assess whether all relevant actors in the field (1) or no relevant actors (0) displayed a certain characteristic (for example, using the ESF strategically; see Chapter 5, page 66). The maximum indifference (0.5) was then located at a point where it was not possible to tell whether the majority or the minority of the relevant actors in the field displayed the characteristic. This deductive strategy was applied to usage and its subdimensions, to resource command and to social skill. However, this ‘relevant actors strategy’ should not be read as a quantifying strategy. ‘Relevant actors’ were not counted; instead, I sought to judge the state in the field based on in-depth case knowledge. This was relatively easy due to the fairly rough-grained fuzzy set scale (see below). Table 4.2: Labels of fuzzy-set variables Theoretical concept for conditions and outcomes Usage Cognitive usage Strategic usage Change Available ESF funding Stability of the local field Resource command by local actors Intervention of state actors Existence of socially skilled actors in the field Source: Author’s own

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Label usage cognitive usage strategic usage change esf scheme field stability resource command state actors social skill

The research programme in a nutshell

For the other concepts, the theoretical approach had to be deployed as a sensitising lens in order to inductively derive what change in the different dimensions might look like or how state actor interventions and social skill could be measured. Here the iterative process of going back and forth between data and theory is very visible. After a first round of coding, I identified relatively clear concepts for usage, resource command and social skill, albeit not very fine-tuned ones. Furthermore, numerous relevant aspects with regard to ESF-induced field change appeared in one or several cases. Now, the major task was to deploy the field approach and the derived concepts for conditions as a theoretical lens to somehow detach these aspects from their empirical reality, and to take them to a slightly higher level of abstraction. For example, bureaucracy in the context of the ESF could be interpreted as a crucial factor of resource command. I then had to perform a re-analysis and refinement of all concepts. This led to the next step of calibration: the development of qualitative classifications of the different concepts from a set theoretical perspective based on the empirical findings. This step was the most comprehensive one and was based on numerous rounds of reinterpretation of the data. The qualitative classifications can be found in the Appendix. Based on the qualitative classification, I refined the coding scheme and assigned codes to the classifications while keeping an eye on issues such as reliable information, sufficient variation or biases. Then the codes were summarised in a large framework table, which assigns one cell for each qualitative classification and each case (cf the coding framework in the Appendix). Then, qualitative anchors were established for the remaining concepts, and the existing ones were refined. The most important concern here was that the assessment of the relevant actors in the field should not be quantified (that is, counted by numbers). I did not have exact information on each and every actor and their characteristics; instead, I had strong qualitative indicators regarding whether (and to what extent) the relevant actors displayed the characteristics and how ‘relevant’ the actors who display the characteristics were. In the next step, I had to identify different degrees within the empirical occurrences of the classifications. This was also related to the degree of precision of the qualitative classifications and thus also the fuzzy sets. It turned out that for all concepts, it was not difficult to distinguish between two different stages beyond full membership and full non-membership. In other words, it was possible to distinguish between cases that were more in than out of the set and those that were more out than in. It was not feasible to undertake more fine-grained differentiation, but there was also no reason to establish particular quantitative differences between

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the partial memberships at both sides of the point of indifference. Consequently, I constructed fuzzy set scales with set membership values of 0, 0.33, 0.66 and 1. For each case and each qualitative classification of a membership value (that is, four per concept), I summarised the calibration in a comprehensive table (see the Appendix). This comprehensive calibration strategy resulted in a complex database that enabled me to analyse conditions for usage and change as outcomes. In the empirical analysis, I can now – based on an operationalisation of the concepts of usage and change – measure to what extent usage and change appear in the empirical reality of the 18 cases. As usage and change are not simply two possible outcomes of the ESF but are also, as theory indicates, logically interrelated – usage precedes change and is expected to be a necessary condition for it – this relationship should be taken into account in the empirical assessment. Furthermore, as set relational characteristics imply that the absence of usage and change matters (as conditions for the presence of an outcome are not necessarily the mirror of the conditions for its absence), the conditional relationship between usage and change can be depicted in a table with four different, logically possible, property spaces (see Figure 4.1). Figure 4.1: Ideal-typical relationship between usage and change

CHANGE

1

0 0

1

USAGE

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The research programme in a nutshell

This empirical measurement of usage and change makes it possible to assess where each case is located in terms of the property space of Figure 4.1; thus, I am able to depict not only the occurrence of the two responses, but also their conditional relationship. Furthermore, as the study works with fuzzy sets, it can also measure to what extent cases belong to a certain property space. In fact, this is exactly what ideal-type analyses usually do (George and Bennett, 2005). Even if the study does not use fully specified definitive concepts for the operationalisation of usage and change but also relies on an inductive analysis of the data against the backdrop of theoretical sensitising concepts in order to measure the outcomes, it is nevertheless clear that the theoretical construction of the property spaces (that is, ideal types) suggests a deductive approach towards theoretical theorising. The following chapter starts by empirically analysing usage and change in the 18 cases under study. Notes The empirical analysis follows the recommended procedures in Schneider and Wagemann (2012). 2 Grant Agreement No 266768; see www.localise-research.eu/ for more information 3 All comparative reports are available on the project website (www.localiseresearch.eu/). The case studies and primary data are not accessible since they entail confidential material on individuals. 1

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5

Comparative insights into local responses to the European Social Fund This study is interested in processes of Europeanisation at the local level brought about by the ESF. As argued in the first part of this book, Europeanisation can be understood in terms of two different dimensions: a procedural dimension and an outcome dimension. While the former refers to the process of engaging with the ESF undertaken by local actors, the latter is concerned with the effects of this engagement in terms of field change. I have termed the two dimensions of Europeanisation, in accordance with the literature, ‘usage of European resources’ and ‘EU-induced change’. These two dimensions of Europeanisation can also be understood as local responses to the ESF. From a field theoretical perspective, usage is a process of organisationally appropriating a European resource within a domestic field. When field actors make use of a resource as a reference point for their action, innovative action is taking place in the field. In a second step potentially following such usage, the transformation of the innovative action into field change might happen. This would be regarded as EU-induced change. Against the backdrop of this analytical perspective, the aim of this study is first of all to examine what ESF-induced usage and change in local labour market policies look like empirically, and then, in a second step, to analyse the conditions under which usage and change appear. In this chapter, I address the first part of this twofold research interest and paint an empirical picture of local responses to the ESF in the 18 cases under study. As outlined above, this study’s methodological approach is based on fuzzy set QCA, which requires me to transform the qualitative data into numerical fuzzy sets. A crucial task in this chapter is hence to illustrate this calibration process for the phenomenon of usage, and in a second step for the phenomenon of change. In a final step, the empirical picture of usage and change in all 18 cases under study is presented.

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Using European money: descriptive discussion of the usages of the ESF In almost all of the empirical cases under study, the usage of the ESF is widespread and very common. However, even a rough overview of the empirical data indicates that perceptions of this European funding tool and its applications differ substantially across and within countries. In order to provide the reader with empirical insights into the divergent landscape of ESF usage in local labour market policies, I now present some illustrative snapshots, before taking the analysis to higher levels of abstraction. The snapshots presented here are drawn from reports and primary sources (interviews)1 and are presented in summary form, without discussing the city, country or organisational affiliation of those who are quoted (references for the quotes are provided in the notes), as this will only be of relevance at later stages of the analysis, when I make a systematic comparison. Empirical snapshots Many interviewees across all countries highlighted the crucial role played by the ESF in local labour markets. In many of the cases under study, the ESF seemed to be a vital financing source for ALMPs – and a relatively new one: No doubt, thanks to this money we can activate the unemployed on a large scale and these are projects concerning various groups ...; that is where the opportunities are in terms of projects and trainings, refunds and internships as well as upgrading work stations, and funds for own business activity. (PL Europeanisation: 10)2 If we didn’t have them [the ESF funds], we simply couldn’t do some things.… [Calculates in murmurs] … the numbers are really considerable. If we didn’t have these sums, many things simply would not be done, unless the national level gave us more money. (DE2 interview 1) There is a really enormous amount of issues that we have to take care of, and huge [amounts of] money, which we had never dealt with before.... (PL integrated activation: 11)

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Structural funds have just become such a big financial instrument in the hands of central government…. (UK Europeanisation: 17) Up to three or four years ago regarding European projects there was almost nothing … and this is one of the tools for a public body to make some money and work better. In three not very active years we have developed projects worth some three-and-a-half million Euro. Initially we had a structure of only two people…. Now we have seven or eight people…. (IT Europeanisation: 13) As is already evident in some of these statements, many field actors see a great advantage in ESF funding. As the following voices illustrate, the usage of European funding is often associated with a certain freedom and space for innovation: I think that’s the beauty of structural funds, if you’ve got some global goals then you can at least adapt to each region’s needs, so in some respects that to me is why structural funds are quite important. (UK Europeanisation: 15) [ESF projects] are where everything – or almost everything – happens in terms of real innovation, or where you can try something new. (DE Europeanisation: 13) Imagine that you get money to work with this and you don’t need to know [the results] until after two years, by then we should hopefully have developed what we think is a good method. We don’t need to have all ideas from the start. That is the advantage with an ESF project, that you get a chance to try, to test, to twist and turn and document it all throughout the process. Now we test this, now we change into this. That is positive. We get the chance to buy external services that we do not usually do. (SE Europeanisation: 7) Interviewee: Well, often you find ideas [in the OPs] which you would not have considered in other measures…. Interviewer: So, you feel inspired by the ESF programmes? Interviewee: Yes, I would say so. (DE2 interview 2)

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Having an eye for Europe because from there we learn, from there you understand future trends. You may learn things that maybe nobody had ever thought to apply in Italy. (IT Europeanisation: 12) We are not participating but we collect experiences ... we collect ideas and experiences from several ESF-funded projects. (SE Europeanisation: 5) As becomes clear in the last of these statements, local actors engage with the ideas transmitted by the ESF even without a direct financial benefit. However, in addition to the positive aspects of the ESF, many actors also refer to administrative burdens or problems with co-funding. Very typical negative statements with regard to the ESF are the following: Most of the programmes are co-funded by the state and Europe, and engineered as a labyrinth system … it costs so much … it seems to me it is out of proportion, and the delays, the “cash timing difference” “the cash flow impact” is such that it can undermine the health of small organisations. (F Europeanisation: 17) … and you need to have in mind: with each Euro we invest in co-funding we really have to think over whether it makes sense. (DE Europeanisation: 9) We have never been a project owner but we have been involved anyway in the rigorous administration that those projects generate. It is a lot of paper forms. And there are a lot of questions around the actual presence of the participants (SSIA [Swedish Social Insurance Administration]). (SE Europeanisation: 5) Participating in EU calls for projects related to social matters is not that good for us. I will not even mention the bureaucratic aspects, which are unbelievable! But then, you gain some “loose change”. In addition, if you are the leader of the project, you have to report for everybody. (IT3 report: 33)

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Well, if you don’t have people who are 100% experts and wrote such an application a 199,000 times, you are beyond any hope. (DE Europeanisation: 10) Both the positive and negative statements provide a relatively clear picture: actors like the ESF because of its innovative ideas and conceptual freedom, and they dislike it because of its bureaucratic burdens and co-funding. However, when it comes to explaining usage and non-usage, the world is not that simple. Aversion to or preferences for the ESF seem to be highly individual: even in cases where very little usage was observed in general, one or two actors might still perceive the ESF as a very useful tool, and negative associations with the ESF can appear in cities where the majority of the relevant actors strategically use it. Furthermore, there were actors who massively complained about the ESF but still used it. Between data and theory – usages of the ESF as set memberships One of the central aims of this book is to get a better understanding of the different patterns and circumstances of usage of the ESF. The idea is to analyse – using QCA – the conditions under which usage (and also change) take place. For this, in a first step, I measured the empirical instances of usage in terms of set memberships, so that these numerical set memberships could be fed into a formal analysis. As outlined above, this calibration process occurred in a close dialogue between data and theory. This means that I analysed the entire empirical material, from which some snapshots on usage of the ESF were presented above, through the lens of appropriate theoretical concepts. Hence, I used the theoretical notions on the usage of European resource discussed above as sensitising concepts (but not as tools that can be deductively operationalised). The idea was to deploy them as guiding principles and theoretical tools that can inductively extract empirical patterns, and to lift those empirical patterns to a higher level of abstraction by assigning fuzzy set concepts. In the following I briefly describe the process of calibration. In the literature on usages of European resources, three different dimensions of usage can be identified: strategic, legitimising and cognitive (Woll and Jacquot, 2010: 118). The analytical concepts behind these three dimensions have been discussed above, but they now need to be applied to the empirical reality, that is, to the usages of the ESF in the field of local labour market policies in the 18 cases

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under study. In the case of usage, Europeanisation theory provides a number of clear theoretical descriptions of what the three different forms of usage might look like. These theoretical reflections need to be combined with empirical observations to generate a clear conceptualisation of usages, which would allow me to calibrate set memberships for each of the 18 local cases. This is an iterative process of data analysis: in a constant dialogue with the empirical material and theoretical concepts, I construct an empirically and theoretically informed understanding of (degrees of) set membership for usage as a response to the ESF. I now briefly discuss this iterative process for the different dimensions of usage. The most salient form of domestic engagement with European resources, strategic usage, means that actors seek to strategically pursue their goals by mobilising resources (Woll and Jacquot, 2010: 117). The European resource of interest (the ESF) is first and foremost a financial resource.3 Strategic mobilisation would therefore mean that actors actively try to mobilise this financial resource. In the empirical cases, it was evident that the service-delivering actors studied here were usually involved in direct funding procedures, since they are eligible as ESF beneficiaries (for example, as organisations running ESF-funded projects). Mobilising the ESF as a financial resource thus did not imply strategic bargaining at higher levels or attempts to influence resource flows towards certain channels; they represented concrete attempts to get ESF money for their own organisation (or a consortium of related organisations). Following these empirical observations, I defined strategic usage as the active pursuit of ESF funding. Active pursuit can be best measured by considering applications (both successful and unsuccessful) for ESF projects by actors in the field. In order to calibrate the strategic aspect of usage as an outcome, I hence analysed the empirical data based on the extent to which a case belongs to the set of cases where all relevant actors in the field are actively seeking to raise ESF funding. As explained in the previous chapter, this study did not count ‘relevant actors’ in a numerical sense but instead judged the state in the field based on case knowledge. The second type of usage identified in the literature, cognitive usage, refers to an understanding and interpretation of European resources (Woll and Jacquot, 2010: 117). This is, of course, harder to grasp empirically than the strategic pursuit of ESF funding and requires careful operationalisation and data analysis. Here, unfortunately, this study faces certain limitations with regards to the empirical data. It was not possible to empirically determine interpretation patterns or understandings using this dataset. Thus, I could not apply cognitive

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usage as a sensitising concept in the same way as strategic usage. The same applies to legitimising usage, the third type identified in the literature, which describes the situation when actors rely on EU resources to legitimate their own political choices (Woll and Jacquot, 2010: 117). This study’s data did not allow me to operationalise legitimising usage as a sensitising concept. However, although cognitive and legitimising usage could hence not be operationalised in the same way as strategic usage, the data nevertheless revealed usages of the ESF beyond merely applying for ESF projects in many local fields – which means that more than strategic usage took place. For example, as is also clear in one of the statements quoted above, different field actors referred to ideas transmitted via the ESF although they did not apply for funding (and thus did not strategically use the ESF). The case studies are detailed enough to provide information on such ‘not only strategic usage’ for the different cases under study, although it might not be possible to lift this ‘usage beyond’ to higher levels of theoretical abstraction. These instances of ‘usage beyond’ were measured and coded by asking to what extent a case belongs to the set of cases where all relevant actors make use of the ESF as a source of action beyond a mere pursuit of funding. It was not possible to fully distinguish whether the ‘usage beyond’ is cognitive or legitimating, but there are a number of empirical hints that the measured instances could mainly be understood as understandings, framings and interpretations of substantive elements of the ESF. Consequently, the term cognitive usage was used for the empirically measured instances of ‘usage beyond strategic usage’. For both strategic and cognitive usage, I constructed a fuzzy set scale with four different membership intervals. Here, those cases in which all relevant actors displayed strategic (or cognitive) usage were regarded as members of that set; cases in which the usages could not be observed for any relevant actor were regarded as being out of the set. In between these two poles there are the sets of 0.33, where only a few relevant actors showed strategic/cognitive usage, and of 0.66, where a majority but not all actors exhibited strategic/cognitive usage. Table 5.1 depicts the concepts of strategic and cognitive usage and the set memberships. These concepts were applied to analyse the full dataset following the suggestions on sound calibration as outlined above. The final scores of set membership for the 18 cases under study can be found in Table 5.3. This table also presents a score for ‘overall usage’, which reflects both strategic and cognitive usage.

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Table 5.1: Concepts and set memberships for usage Usage Strategic

Active pursuit of ESF funding includes participation in successful and unsuccessful ESF applications

Cognitive usage means the understanding and interpretation of ESF-related concepts, ideas, frames or procedures (eg the partnership principle, the funding structure, target group approaches, employment orientation in social work etc) which go beyond strategic usage

Fully in (1)

(Almost) all relevant actors use the ESF strategically

All relevant actors use the ESF beyond strategic usage

Partly in (0.66)

The relevant actors use the ESF strategically, with some exceptions

The relevant actors use the ESF cognitively, with some exceptions

Partly out (0.33)

Only a few relevant actors use the ESF strategically (or they do it only occasionally)

Only a few relevant actors use the ESF beyond strategic usage

Fully out (0)

The relevant actors do not use the ESF at all strategically

The relevant actors do not use the ESF beyond strategic usage

Definitions and explanations

Concept

Membership, partial membership or non-membership of the set of cases where (almost) all relevant actors use the ESF beyond a sole pursuit of financial support

Note: The notion of ‘relevant actors’ is related to the different delivery structures. For example, if private for-profit providers are relevant for service delivery in a country scheme, they belong to the set of relevant actors in this question, but if the delivery landscape is solely dominated by the public sector or by NGOs, they do not. Case knowledge plays a crucial role here, as it also does for the definition of the point of maximum indifference. Source: Author’s own

Local Policies and the European Social Fund

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Set membership

Cognitive

Membership, partial membership or non-membership of the set of cases where (almost) all relevant actors in the city actively try to gather ESF funding as financial support

Comparative insights into local responses to the European Social Fund

Experiencing the effects of EU funding: descriptive insights into ESF-induced change In addition to usage of the ESF, this study is also interested in field change induced by the European funding scheme. Here again, in order to analyse patterns of and conditions for such field change, the empirical data needs to be transformed into numerical set membership scores. Before sketching out this calibration strategy, I provide a more general overview on the empirical instances of ESF-induced field change. The focus is on different phenomena, processes and dynamics that can be observed in the fields of local labour market policies in the 18 cases under study and that indicate that ‘something’ has changed in the context of the ESF. Even in this very broad overview, it is clear that field change related to the ESF can take very different forms. Empirical snapshots First of all, it is evident that local labour market policies actually change parts of their substantive programmes and adopt policies or measures they would not have adopted without the ESF or that local policies are aligned towards the European programmes. Several interviewees in different cases described such bold examples of substantive programmatic ESF-induced change: … there are themes, targets or issues which we would probably have addressed to a lower extent ... on gender equality, without Europe we would not have progressed that much. (F Europeanisation: 12) We often have to bend the municipal planning to the objectives set within the European and the national planning. Sometimes we end up by doing things we wouldn’t have chosen to do and that do not correspond to what we deem would be a local priority. (IT3 report: 33) One of my roles is to align us even more with what is coming out policy-wise in the European level, because we are essentially sitting in where it should be going, so it is making sure that we actually make the most of it really. We look at Europe to align our work to what they want. But also to translate where they are going into local impacts essentially. (UK Europeanisation: 13)

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… we do consider certain guidelines from the Commission or provided in strategic documents, whereas we always make sure that they do not concern issues which either do not occur in our region or occur in a limited scope, so that we can meet the most important needs. (PL Europeanisation: 9) However, substantial influence was only one out of several aspects of field change that could be observed. In some cases, it was clear that the ESF also had an impact on service delivering structures, in the sense that aspects such as budgeting, planning, staff planning or monitoring acquired a project logic, not only in ESF projects but in a more general sense. A change is definitely visible in the operation of centres; people started to think in a project-oriented manner, you know, this was not the case in the social support sector; we could not think like that, we were forced to do this …; therefore, we are all moving step by step so we can talk about a certain change, we can say that people have undergone an “upgrade”…. (PL Europeanisation: 9) Furthermore, it was also evident that many field actors built up capacities with regard to the ESF, for example, in the form of specialised staff in charge of writing applications or dealing with EU bureaucracy. In many cities, there are centralised structures in which EU funding-related knowledge is bundled; the expertise of private, for-profit companies offering EU funding expertise was also of great interest for some field actors. As I already said: if there is a chance to get ESF funding, we are quite well informed and trained.… There was a large training session offered by the Federation of Voluntary Welfare Organisations.… And when it comes to an application, we get in touch with a colleague from the regional association who has the necessary know-how … and she can go the hard way with us. (DE Europeanisation: 10–11) The [bookkeeping and administrative procedures of the European projects] have already been centralised. (IT Europeanisation: 13)

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My staff has to learn this, but what’s most important in my opinion is that there are now companies which prepare very good applications in technical and substantive terms. (IT Europeanisation: 12) Another aspect of ESF influence in local fields was observable with regard to interaction among field actors. As outlined above, the partnership principle in European funding foresees collaboration between different stakeholders in many EU-funded projects. While collaboration during a running project would not be regarded as sustainable change, the local networks that emerged out of project collaborations and lasted much beyond them are definitely instances of ESF-induced change. The structural funds, in bringing those partnerships together, it will also bring result in some different partnerships outside of the funds, so that’s the biggest informal bit I think. (UK Europeanisation: 15) A: … We can imagine, for example, to keep on working with the same staff in other constellations. Otherwise it is like that that we communicate with the staff – apart from the projects – very much on informal ways and due to that we can use the knowledge we gathered in other projects.… I: this means that out of existing networks new networks evolve? A: Exactly. (DE2 report: 73) I think the funds helped in coordination … before, all these institutions did this [on their own] with their own money. (PL Europeanisation: 14) In a nutshell, the ESF seems to have initiated a broad variety of processes and dynamics that have led to certain transformations in local fields of labour market policies. These dynamics range from explicit programmatic changes, for instance, the inclusion of gender aspects in local policies, to considerations such as increased cooperation between different local actors or the application of particular accountability procedures for non-ESF-related processes. However, as already stated for usage, the empirical reality of change is very heterogeneous, not only for these different aspects of change, but also across the different cases. In some cases we can observe change in various aspects, while in others there is only one specific form of change or even none.

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Between data and theory: ESF-induced change as set memberships In order to grasp the different patterns of change across cases and later analyse under which conditions they come into play, it is necessary to apply a similar calibration strategy as for usage. In a close dialogue between data and theory, I generated numerical set membership scores, which synthesise each case’s empirical reality with regard to ESF-induced change. The field theoretical reflections outlined above provided the theoretical basis for this calibration procedure. These theoretical considerations propose that each local field can be affected by change in three different dimensions: an action dimension, a structural dimension and a substantive dimension. The task is to detect phenomena in the local fields under study which have been added to the ‘standard’ catalogue of routine, ‘normal’ and ‘legitimate’ forms of action in these different dimensions of the field, and that at the same time show clear links with the ESF. The rough overview previously provided on different aspects of change is a good starting point for this task, as it shows different instances of ESF-triggered field change. In the following I sketch out how the measurement categories are conceptualised. This enables me to connect the theoretical reflections on field change and the empirical observations for each field dimension in turn. The substantive dimension of a field refers to the programmatic purposes, or shared substantive rationales, of this field. In this regard, two different empirical phenomena were striking in the empirical data. One is more related to organisational programmes, while the other refers more to the broader field environment; both are linked to a programmatic substantive aspect of local labour market policies. When looking at the empirical data, it is evident that, in some cases, the ESF seemed to have transformed entire local policy strategies (that is, local policy programmes for activation). The ESF objectives were closely embedded in political and financial planning, and domestic objectives clearly took their lead from the ESF. Both political actors and service delivery actors found it natural to align their strategies with the ESF. This clearly shaped the substantive dimension of the field in these cases. The other phenomenon in the substantive field dimension was equally striking but harder to grasp. Several individuals and organisations seemed to have internalised the ‘ideas’ behind the ESF (be they concrete measures or more abstract ideas, such as the target group approach). They not only applied these concepts in their everyday work, which would make these concepts quite normal rather than

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innovative; the actors themselves even drew the link to the ESF. This phenomenon was observable in various cases. For both phenomena – the one related to external political strategies and the one related to internal ideas – I constructed fuzzy set concepts that aimed at mirroring the variety of empirical occurrences of the phenomena (cf Table 5.2 for the definitions of the different set memberships). For the internalisation of ideas, the calibration was quite rigid and conservative in order to avoid overstretching the concept. Set membership values over 0.5 were only assigned in very salient cases. For the structural dimension of the field, two dimensions emerged as striking in the empirical data. The structural dimension refers to the rules and resources as key elements of a field. First, and as discussed in the literature, in the empirical data, the phenomenon of ‘projectification’ (Midler, 1995; Büttner and Leopold, 2016) in fact displayed a crucial aspect of changing field rules. Budgeting, planning, staff hiring or monitoring increasingly followed a project logic and specific rules of accountability, which was clearly triggered by the ESF in many organisations. If this ‘projectification’ became ‘normal’ within the field, this can clearly be understood as a change of the rules in the field. The second aspect in the structural dimension referred to relevant resources in the field. Here, the introduction of specialised support structures that deal with administrative or procedural ESF issues turned out to be a very relevant change in the field structure. These support structures can exist as a special unit/specialised staff within an organisation or as an external entity, for example, as an EU office accessible for all interested parties. For both phenomena, fuzzy set concepts were created. The fuzzy set concepts for ‘projectification’ expressed the degree to which ‘projectification’ influenced different dimensions (that is, monitoring or staff hiring) and services across the field (that is, vocational training) of the local field of labour market policies (cf Table 5.2). The fuzzy set concept for support structures takes into account both the breadth of the structures and the access opportunities. In the action dimension, which refers to the relationship between actors and their interaction, only one relevant phenomenon of field change could be identified: increased interaction between field actors due to the ESF. As already illustrated above, actors sometimes developed a sustainable cooperation that also lasted beyond the actual ESF-related interaction, mostly due to cooperation in ESF projects, in application procedures or in planning processes. This is entirely in line with the theoretical concept, which stresses collaborative action and interaction among field actors as a crucial aspect of the action

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Definitions and explanations

Substantive dimension ESF strategy ESF ideas Membership, partial Membership, partial membership or nonmembership or nonmembership of the membership of the set set of cases where of cases where the ESF is ESF ideas have been embedded in a broader internalised by local (social and employment) strategy at the local level actors A local strategy is a political programme (targets, instruments etc) with the aim of tackling social and employment issues or has a broader focus and includes social and employment policies

Local actors internalised ESF ideas (concrete or abstract) and deployed them in their everyday work. Membership above 0.5 was assigned only in very salient cases

Change Action dimension Increased interaction Membership, partial membership or nonmembership of the set of cases with increased sustainable cooperation among field actors that arose from ESF projects but lasted beyond Sustainable cooperation among field actors refers to interaction between actors in the implementation of policies (eg a welfare association offers drug counselling to needy unemployment beneficiaries in cooperation with the public employment service)

Structural dimension Projectification ESF structures Membership, partial Membership, partial membership or nonmembership or membership of the set of non-membership cases where institutional of the set of cases and/or administrative where ESF-triggered projectification could structures have been built up in the context of the be observed ESF Specialised support Projectification structures that deal here refers to the with administrative or organisation of the procedural ESF issues are service delivering of main interest. They tasks constrained by can exist as a special time, funding and unit/specialised staff other resources (eg within an organisation or budgeting, planning, externally, eg as an EU staff hiring or office accessible for all monitoring) interested organisations or in other forms (continued)

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Concept

Table 5.2: Concepts and set memberships for change

Table 5.2: Concepts and set memberships for change (continued)

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Set membership

Partly in (0.66)

The ESF is embedded in a strategy that has not become very relevant

Most relevant actors show the internalisation of ESF ideas

Change Action dimension Increased interaction Significant sustainable cooperation among several organisations

Significant cooperation, but not sustainable or limited to few organisations

Partly out (0.33) Local actors try to link it to Only a few relevant some strategic action but actors show the internalisation of ESF are not very successful ideas

Occasionally/very limited

Fully out (0)

No increased cooperation

No link/embeddedness at all, no plans

No internalisation of ESF ideas

Structural dimension Projectification ESF structures Both internal and external All relevant actors support structures have across most been built up, have dimensions and services have adopted broad knowledge and are accessible for all relevant projectification actors Projectification is quite Internal and/or external present, but not across support structures exist for most actors, but not all all relevant actors of them (access problems or dimensions and or little knowledge) services Some actors have internal Some significant support structures or projectification is external capacities exist observable for only a that are not broadly few relevant actors, accessible (or well known) or only in some dimensions or services Absence of routinised No structures have been projectification built up

Note: The notion of ‘relevant actors’ is related to the different delivery structures. For example, if private for-profit providers are relevant for service delivery in a country scheme, they belong to the set of relevant actors in this question, but if the delivery landscape is solely dominated by the public sector or by NGOs, they do not. Case knowledge plays a crucial role here, as it also does for the definition of the point of maximum indifference. Source: Author’s own

Comparative insights into local responses to the European Social Fund

Fully in (1)

Substantive dimension ESF strategy ESF ideas All relevant The ESF is clearly actors show the embedded in a relevant internalisation of ESF strategy ideas

Local Policies and the European Social Fund

dimension. Thus, for measuring change in the action dimension, the fuzzy set concepts were constructed based on the question of to what extent the ESF had caused interaction among field actors who had not previously interacted (cf Table 5.2). Just as in the other field dimensions, there might well be other action-related phenomena that can be regarded as ESF-induced field change when we look at the empirical reality. The assessment of change (and also of usage) is hence by no means exhaustive. However, in order to avoid overstretching concepts and obtaining false-positive measurements (which would lead to an over-estimation of the role of the ESF), I applied a conservative approach towards the empirical data, and only took into account those instances of usage and change that are salient and conceptually graspable. Table 5.2 depicts the fuzzy set concepts that were applied to the empirical data in order to measure ESF-induced change for each case. As for usage, these concepts were applied to analyse the full dataset, following the suggestions on sound calibration as outlined above. The final scores of set membership for the 18 cases under study can be found in Table 5.3. This table also includes a score for ‘overall change’, which reflects all three dimensions (substantive, action and structural).

The bigger picture: patterns of responses to the ESF across Europe The dialogue between data and theory as described in the previous sections led to the construction of measurement instruments for usage (that is, strategic usage and cognitive usage) and change (in the action, structural and substantive dimensions of a field) in the form of qualitative descriptions of fuzzy set memberships that can be expressed in numerical scores. The measurement instruments were applied to the entire empirical database, which ultimately led to the assignment of numerical scores to each case for each dimension of usage and change. Since, for the further analyses, it is particularly important to have an overall picture of usage and change (and less so one for the single dimensions), I calculated overall scores for usage and change for each case out of the fuzzy set scores for strategic and cognitive usage for the structural, action-related and substantive dimensions respectively. Table 5.3 shows the results of this exercise: the fuzzy set membership scores for usage and change for the 18 local cases under study. The qualitative descriptions behind these scores and the detailed memberships of the cases in the impact concepts can be found in the Appendix at the end of the book.

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Comparative insights into local responses to the European Social Fund Table 5.3: Fuzzy-set memberships of usage and change

Usage total (maximum)a

Change in action dimension (increased interaction)

Change in structural dimension (projectification; capacity building)

Change in substantive dimension (ESF strategy; ideas)

0.66 0.33 0.66 0.33 0.66 1 0.33 0.66 1 1 1 1 0 0.33 0.66 0.33 0.66 0.66

0.33 0.33 0.33 0.33 0.33 0.66 0 0.33 0.33 0.66 0.66 0.66 0.33 0.33 0.33 0.33 0.33 0.33

0.66 0.33 0.66 0.33 0.66 1 0.33 0.66 1 1 1 1 0.33 0.33 0.66 0.33 0.66 0.66

0.33 0.33 0.33 0.33 0.33 0.66 0.66 0.33 0.66 0.66 0.66 0.66 0 0.33 0 0.33 0.66 0

0.33 0.495 0.495 0.33 0.66 0.66 0 0.33 1 0.83 0.83 0.83 0 0.165 0.165 0.33 0.66 0.165

0.16 0.16 0.16 0.33 0.66 0.66 0.16 0.16 0.49 0.5 0.5 0.5 0 0.33 0.33 0.33 0.33 0.33

CHANGE total (mean)b

Cognitive usage

Case F1 F2 F3 IT 1 IT2 IT3 DE1 DE2 DE3 PL1 PL2 PL3 SE1 SE2 SE3 UK1 UK2 UK3

Change

Strategic usage

Usage

0.27 0.33 0.33 0.33 0.55 0.66 0.27 0.27 0.71 0.66 0.66 0.66 0.00 0.27 0.16 0.33 0.55 0.16

Notes: a Constructing the score for ‘overall usage’ required a theoretical reflection on the conceptual difference between strategic and cognitive usage. Calculating a mean out of the two usage concepts would qualify several cases that are members of the set of strategic usage as non-members of the set of overall usage. This is substantively not plausible, since low cognitive usage does not reduce the relevance of strategic usage. Therefore, the scores for overall usage were calculated on the basis of the maximum of the scores of the two usage dimensions. In practice this means that cognitive usage only contributes to overall usage in one case (SE1), where the score for cognitive usage is higher than the one for strategic usage. As outlined in greater detail below, in the course of the analysis I control for whether this conceptual decision has an effect on the results. In the robustness checks (cf the technical online appendix at https://policy.bristoluniversitypress.co.uk/ local‑policies-and-the-european-social-fund), a modified concept of usage that is based on the arithmetic mean of the two usage dimensions is included. b The overall score for change was calculated out of the arithmetic mean of the three dimensions. This is quite fruitful from a conceptual perspective. Since all dimensions of the field are considered to be equally relevant for field change, one would only speak of field change if more than one dimension (action, structure and substantive dimension) of the field is affected by transformation of innovative action into routine field elements. Hence, calculating the mean out of the three dimensions ensures that they are all equally represented and that no score above 0.5 could be assigned for change if only one dimension displayed change higher than 0.5. Source: Author’s own data

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As becomes clear from Table  5.3, the distribution of usage and change across the 18 cases is highly widespread. There are total usage scores between 0.33 and 1 and total change scores from 0 to 0.718. In five cases, all relevant actors in the field used the ESF strategically (DE3, IT3, PL1, PL2 and PL3) and in seven cases, a majority of the relevant field actors did (DE2, F1, F3, IT2, SE3, UK2 and UK3). In five cases (DE1, F2, IT1, SE2 and UK1), only some field actors strategically used the ESF, and in one case there was no strategic usage at all (SE1). With regard to change, the picture is also very diverse. In 10 cases (DE1, DE2, F1, F2, F3, IT1, SE2, SE3, UK1 and UK3), only marginal change was evident, with fuzzy set scores of overall change ranging from 0.165 to 0.33. I only observed no change at all in one case (SE1). In all other cases (DE3, IT2, IT3, PL1, PL2, PL3 and UK2), change was measured in at least two field dimensions, so that the overall scores for change were above 0.5. In five such cases (DE2, IT3, PL1, PL2 and PL3), all three dimensions were affected, albeit to a different extent. In IT2 and UK2, change was only observed in two dimensions, and consequently there were lower overall change scores (but they were still above 0.5). This heterogeneous picture shows first and foremost that the empirical reality is very diverse with regard to the usage of and change due to the ESF in local labour market policies. Furthermore, there were no clear country patterns except one: Poland. Here, all local cases showed the same (high) usage and change. Sweden and France all had low change scores but diverging usage scores, while all other countries showed remarkable differences among their local entities. With regard to the socioeconomic situations in the different cases, there were also no clear patterns – both usage and change seem to be well spread across cities of various performance levels. Nevertheless, in some cases there are interesting patters with regard to different dimensions of usage and change in some cases. For example, in one case in Italy (IT3) there were remarkably high scores in the action dimension but lower scores in the structural and substantive dimensions. Larger differences between cognitive and strategic usage were also observed in some cases. These observations are already particularly interesting in light of the first dimension of the research question, namely, regarding the empirical reality of the effects of the ESF on local labour market policies (Europeanisation as an outcome). Here, the theoretical framework suggested that two different local responses to the ESF might exist: usage and change. As argued above, the relationship between these two outcome phenomena can be displayed in a fourfold

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table, with each cell representing a different property space of the logically possible combinations of the absence and presence of usage and change in a set theoretic logic: (1)  membership of the set of change but not of the set of usage; (2) membership of the set of change and of the set of usage; (3) membership of the set of usage but not of the set of change; and (4) no membership of any of the two sets (cf Figure 4.1 in Chapter 4). These four cells can be understood as ideal types for responses to the ESF. Now, with the empirical fuzzy set information at hand, I cannot only assign the 18 cases to the different cells of this fourfold table; I can also measure the degree to which they belong to the different ideal types.4 Figure 5.1 illustrates this. The horizontal and vertical lines in this figure depict the qualitative 0.5 anchor of our fuzzy sets: the point of maximum indifference between membership and nonmembership in the set of usage or in the set of change, as the case may be. For example, they differentiate between cases where all or the majority of the relevant actors use the ESF in a strategic/and or cognitive way, or where only a few or no actors do so. These 0.5 lines

Figure 5.1: Empirical representation of usage and change 1 0.9 0.8 DE3

0.7

CHANGE

0.6

PL1, PL2, PL3, IT3

IT2, UK2

0.5 0.4 F3

F2, IT1, UK1

0.3

DE1, SE2

F1, DE2

0.2

SE3, UK3

0.1 SE1

0 0

0.1

0.2

0.3

0.4

0.5

USAGE

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0.6

0.7

0.8

0.9

1

Local Policies and the European Social Fund

also graphically mark out the four theoretically possible property spaces of a combination of set memberships. As Figure 5.1 illustrates, three of the four possible combinations are well represented: there are seven cases with membership of both sets (DE3, IT2, IT3, PL1, PL2, PL3 and UK2), five cases with a membership of the set of usage but not of the set of change (DE2, F1, F3, SE3 and UK3), and six cases without membership of any of the two sets (DE1, F2, IT1, SE1, SE2 and UK1). However, as expected when considering the empirical reality, these cases do not show perfect membership of one or both of the sets but only partial membership. Only DE3, PL1, PL2, PL3 and IT3 show full membership of the set of usage, but they also have only partial memberships of the set of change. The fourth possible property space is empty: there is no case with a membership of the set of change without membership of the set of usage. In other words, change could not be observed without usage in any case. This suggests that the theoretical expectation expressed in the hypotheses that usage is a necessary condition for change is valid. This points to the second research interest: the contextual conditions behind usage and change (that is, Europeanisation as a process). Based on the descriptive insights depicted in this chapter, the following chapter undertakes both a formal QCA and a qualitative case studybased discussion of the conditions under which the usage of the ESF and the change brought about by it appear in the empirical cases. Notes As outlined above, interview partners were selected using a two-stage strategy (previously defined key actors and a subsequent snowball sampling technique) in order to identify the relevant actors in the field. Among these actors are PES, social partners, training and service providers, municipal departments and others. The usage of the ESF by these actors can look different: while training providers or those specialised in social services such as drug counselling very often appear as primary applicants (that is, ESF beneficiaries), social partners or municipal departments were often involved in applications or projects in more coordinating roles. PES appeared both as beneficiaries or ‘secondary users’. These secondary users were not beneficiaries in a narrow sense, but were still closely involved in writing the applications or administering the projects. 2 The list of reports (including authors and full references) as well as the quoted interviews can be found in the Appendix at the end of the book. 3 But covers other dimensions, too; see Table 2.1 in Chapter 2. 4 A similar approach has been suggested by Kvist (2007). 1

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6

What responses under what conditions? Formal qualitative comparative analyses and preliminary interpretations The previous chapter discussed local responses to the ESF in terms of both usage and change. Assessing the empirical reality of these local responses in 18 local cases in the forms of fuzzy set memberships allowed me to generate a synthesised picture of different response patterns. As Figure 5.1 of the previous chapter illustrates, there are three different configurations of usage and change across the 18 cases: in seven cases, local actors used the ESF and the field of local labour market policies experienced an ESF-induced change (quadrant 2 in Figure 5.1); in five cases, local actors used the ESF but the observed change was only marginal (quadrant 3 in Figure 5.1). In six further cases, local actors did not use the ESF and there was no ESF-induced change (quadrant 4 in Figure 5.1). Change was not identified without usage in any case (quadrant 1 in Figure 5.1). The fact that local actors used the ESF to a considerable extent in 12 cases out of 18 and that there was considerable change in seven cases indicates that the ESF indeed plays a crucial role in local labour market policies. However, as is clear from Figure 5.1, neither usage nor change seems to depend on obvious criteria such as the country in question or the socioeconomic situation. Although the empirical insights so far provide interesting information on the empirical distribution of usage and change at the local level in six European countries, they do not tell us anything about why usage (or change) is stronger in some cases than in others, or why we find cases where usage seems to lead to change while in others it does not. In other words, the causal mechanisms behind usage and change are still in a black box. As outlined above, this study seeks to approach causality by analysing the contextual conditions under which the causal mechanisms take place. Put differently, one aim of the study is to unravel under which conditions local actors use the ESF and under which conditions ESFinduced field change can be observed. This is the focus of this chapter.1

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With regard to the role of contextual conditions, the theoretical approach developed above suggests a number of potentially relevant concepts. These enabled me to formulate two hypotheses, which were presented in a tentative, conditional manner at the end of Chapter 3. However, they can also be formulated in a more precise style amenable to QCA, which will allow for straightforward empirical hypotheses testing: 1. The instability of a local field and a high amount/good availability of ESF funding are expected to act as relevant conditions for activating the mechanism of appropriation, so that usage as a response to the ESF is observed (H1a). Furthermore, a strong resource command by field actors is expected to act as a necessary condition for usage (H1b). 2. Usage is expected to be a necessary condition for change (H2a). Furthermore, the existence of socially skilled actors and the intervention of state actors are expected to act as relevant conditions for activating the transformation mechanism, so that field change occurs as an effect of ESF usage (and thus as an impact of the ESF itself) (H2b). In the course of this chapter, these hypotheses are tested using formal QCA; H1 (concerning usage) is dealt with in the first section and H2 (concerning change) in the second. In a third section, the results are summarised in a preliminary typology of local responses to the ESF. The formal analyses for usage and change require a calibration of the conditions based on a dialogue between data and theory. After calibration, the resulting fuzzy set membership scores for all conditions in all 18 cases are fed into the formal QCA. The QCA itself is only presented briefly in order to increase readability and leave space for substantive discussions. Comprehensive additional material (including comments on the interpretation of the formal results) is provided in a technical online appendix (see https://policy.bristoluniversitypress. co.uk/local-policies-and-the-european-social-fund).

Contextual conditions for usage of the ESF The first part of the hypotheses expects the instability of a local field, a high amount of ESF funding and a strong resource command by field actors to act as relevant conditions for usage. This expectation rests on the theoretical reflections discussed in Chapter 3, which indicate that ESF usage by local actors depends on whether the local field

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What responses under what conditions?

of labour market policies is stable or unstable (for example, underfinanced or strongly dependent on higher-level fields etc), the quantity of ESF money and how it is available, and to what extent the local actors command the relevant organisational resources (administrative capacity to deal with the funding bureaucracy is the most prominent feature mentioned in the literature). Before the hypotheses can be tested empirically, the three potential contextual conditions need to be conceptualised so that they can be measured in the 18 cases under study in the form of fuzzy set memberships. This calibration again entails a close dialogue between data and theory. The theoretical expectations outlined above served as lenses and sensitising concepts for assessing the empirical data. The task I faced was to interpret the data with these concepts in mind while at the same time leaving room for further aspects to appear. When assessing resource command, it was first of all vital to grasp which resources were understood as crucial in the field. The bureaucracy linked to ESF funding was discussed in all case studies, which is well in line with the findings in the literature (see above). Here, complaints were made about reporting duties, monitoring procedures, endless application rules and other administrative burdens. The differential distribution of resource command among field actors and between cases was shaped by many different factors, several of which were external to the fields of interest (that is, national systems of ALMPs). However, administrative capacities were not the only resources that were relevant for usage. In several – albeit not all – cases, field actors mentioned the necessary co-funding as a potential barrier to usage. Thus, financial ability at the organisational level, that is, the capacity to co-fund ESF projects, was also a relevant resource that actors needed to possess. Again, factors such as the size of an organisation or the overall funding structure of ALMPs might shape whether cofunding matters and how. In a nutshell, a multiplicity of factors can come together and determine whether actors perceived themselves as resource commanding and ‘fit for usage’. In line with the actor-centred research approach, I did not deploy objective criteria for measuring field actors’ resource command; instead, the fuzzy sets were calibrated based on actors’ individual perceptions. From a set theoretical perspective, I measured the extent to which a case was within the set of cases where field actors had the relevant resources (that is, administrative capacities and financial abilities for co-funding). I differentiated between cases where all relevant actors (1) or only most of them (0.66) commanded these relevant resources or where only a few (0.33) or none of the relevant

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field actors (0) did so. In the empirical analysis, the focus was on aspects such as complaints about administrative tasks and problems of co-funding; I looked at whether such aspects were actual barriers to usage or whether they were just described as burdens, or whether actors referred to existing resources as relevant tools for usage (for example, specialised departments or particular financing structures for co-funding). With regard to the concept of field stability, in an initial round of empirical data analysis, the possible relationship between the financial dependency of the local field and actors’ interest in using the ESF appeared very striking. While in some cases, local services for long-term unemployed people were financially stable mostly due to national or regional systems, other local fields suffered from highly insecure funding. Furthermore, the local socioeconomic situation played a crucial role here since it substantially shapes the local spending capacities. For local field actors, the extent to which their preferred services (that is, those that served the field objective via measures favoured by the different field actors) experienced stable and sustainable funding is a crucial determinant of their preferences regarding ESF usage. However, additional ESF funding could also be of interest for actors in wealthy and financially relatively independent fields. Furthermore, financial stability was not the only factor shaping field actors’ preferences towards the ESF. Although they were not as striking as the financial dimension, political tensions and power struggles were crucial in some cases. For example, when political tensions caused insecurity in service delivery planning, this led to an increased interest in external funding. In addition, when local policies did not give much emphasis to social and employment issues, this also destabilised the field of services for long-term unemployed people due to a lack of clear and reliable field structures. Thus, here too, there are a number of multilevel factors influencing whether field actors have preferences for reacting to external input and making use of the ESF. All these factors relate to field stability in one way or another. From a set theoretical perspective, I assessed the different aspects of field stability – that is, financial stability, political stability and policy reliability – and measured to what extent a case belonged to the set of cases where actors acted in a highly stable field (1), in a mainly stable field (0.66), in a partially stable field (0.33) or in a completely unstable field (0). Since spending capacity was one such crucial aspect, I devoted particular attention to the socioeconomic situation in a local case. When the socioeconomic situation was weaker than the national average, I considered a case as being outside the set (0 or 0.33),

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What responses under what conditions?

while I considered it inside the set (1 or 0.66) if its socioeconomic performance was better than the national average. Cases in which the socioeconomic situation was average in a country with a strong national active labour market system were considered to be inside the set by default, while average cases in countries without a strong national system were regarded as outside the set. On the basis of this rough classification, I applied a more in-depth and subjective calibration in order to distinguish between cases that are fully in and partially in the set, as well as fully out or partially out of the set. This also allowed me to check the rough classifications. Here, I took field actors’ subjective perceptions into account, since these subjective perceptions shape their position in the field and their preferences for action. In addition to resource command and field stability, I added a third factor that was potentially relevant for the usage of the ESF: the amount of available ESF funding. Available funding differs among European regions. Convergence regions are eligible for much higher ESF funding, and are required to provide less co-funding than is the case for other regions (see above). The dialogue with the data showed that due to regional peculiarities in organisational funding structures, it is not just the mere amount of available funding that matters, but also whether a city that is itself not a convergence region has administrative responsibilities for a convergence region or not. For example, a city that is itself not eligible for convergence funding may have administrative responsibilities for a nearby convergence region. In this case, relevant field actors who also operate in the nearby convergence region may be located in the (non-convergence-eligible) city in question. Hence, this was also taken into account. Full set membership was thus assigned to cases that are part of a convergence region. For cases that are not part of a convergence region but have administrative responsibilities for a convergence region, I assigned partial set membership (0.66). Full non-membership (0) was defined as non-eligibility for ESF funding – which does not apply to any case in our sample. Partial non-membership (0.33) applies to cases that are eligible for funding, but not as a convergence region (and do not have associated administrative tasks). Table  6.1 lists all fuzzy set scores for the potentially relevant conditions for usage as well as for usage as an outcome. The framework report in the Appendix (at the end of the book) depicts the qualitative descriptions behind the fuzzy set scores. With these fuzzy set scores at hand, I conducted formal analyses of necessity and sufficiency with the three conditions of interest (esf

85

Local Policies and the European Social Fund Table 6.1: Fuzzy-set scores for the analysis of conditions for usage Case F1 F2 F3 IT 1 IT2 IT3 DE1 DE2 DE3 PL1 PL2 PL3 SE1 SE2 SE3 UK1 UK2 UK3

usage 0.66 0.33 0.66 0.33 0.66 1 0.33 0.66 1 1 1 1 0.33 0.33 0.66 0.33 0.66 0.66

resource command 0.33 0.33 0.33 0.33 0.66 0.33 0.33 0 0.33 0.66 0.66 0.66 0.33 0 0.33 0.33 0.66 0.66

field stability 0.66 0.33 0.33 0.66 0.33 0 1 0.66 0.33 0.33 0 0 1 0.66 0.33 0.66 0.66 0.33

esf scheme 0.33 0.33 0.33 0.33 0.66 1 0.33 0.33 1 1 1 1 0.33 0.33 0.33 0.33 0.66 0.33

Source: Author’s own data

scheme, field stability and resource command) for usage as an outcome, following the principles and key decisions outlined above. The analysis for necessity (cf Table 6.2) for usage shows that no condition qualifies as a necessary condition, not even resource command, a fact that contradicts hypothesis H1b and is discussed in greater detail in the next chapter. The analysis for sufficiency generated a solution term with two paths, with very acceptable scores for sufficiency and coverage (cf Table 6.2). These two paths were ~field stability and esf scheme*resource command. In other words, either the absence of a stable field and/or belonging to a convergence region with the respective administrative responsibilities in combination with having resource commanding actors were the conditions that explain the usage of the ESF in local fields in a majority of the cases. The first path (~field stability) explained eight cases (DE3, F3, IT2, PL1, PL2, PL3, SE3 and UK3). However, this means that there are still three cases where the outcome (usage) is present, but the condition (~field stability) is not: DE2, F1 and UK2. One of these cases (UK2) is uniquely explained by the second path (esf scheme*resource command), which also covers cases IT2, PL1, PL2 and PL3. F1 and DE2 remain unexplained. Table  6.2 depicts the main parameters of the analyses of necessity and sufficiency for usage. More detailed

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information can be found in the technical online appendix (https:// policy.bristoluniversitypress.co.uk/local-policies-and-the-europeansocial-fund). Before moving on to the analysis of the conditions for change, it is important to analyse the possible necessary and sufficient conditions for the absence of our outcome (~usage). The main question answered by such an exercise is: are there specific conditions or configurations of conditions that are probably not necessary or sufficient for usage of the ESF but that are necessary or sufficient for non-usage? The result of the analysis of necessity for ~usage shows that both ~esf scheme and field stability are necessary conditions (cf Table 6.2).2 The analysis of sufficiency for ~usage reveals the solution of ~esf scheme*field stability + ~esf scheme*~resource command.3 Put differently, either the combination of not belonging to a convergence region (or of not having administrative responsibilities for one) and a stable field or the combination of belonging to a convergence region and not commanding the relevant resources explains non-usage of the ESF. The second path (~esf scheme*~resource command) has very low unique coverage. It only adds information for one case: F2. All other cases are also covered by the first path (~esf scheme*field stability), which has a considerably high raw coverage and consistency (cf Table 6.2). In a nutshell, the results from the QCA for usage and ~usage confirm the directional expectations expressed in hypothesis H1a: esf scheme, ~field stability and resource command are all relevant contextual conditions for the usage of the ESF in local fields. H1b cannot be confirmed, as commanding the relevant resources did not turn out to be a necessary condition.4 However, based on the results for sufficiency, I can now make relatively precise statements on the interaction of the various conditions and their exact influence on usages: while an unstable field alone can explain usage in a great number of cases, the combination of resource commanding actors in a field and being a convergence region or having administrative responsibilities for a convergence region emerged as a relevant solution path in several cases. In combination, both paths provide (at least from a methodological perspective) a highly satisfactory explanation for the usage of the ESF. The same applies to the finding for non-usage: here, the combination of not being in a convergence region and not commanding relevant resources seems to matter particularly. However, although these paths are highly informative, they still tell us little about what is going on in the empirical reality. What does a combination of good resource command and being in a convergence region really mean for local actors, and how is it related to their usage of the ESF? Before discussing these questions against the backdrop of

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Table 6.2: Analyses of necessity and sufficiency for usage and ~usage Analysis of necessity; outcome variable: usage Conditions tested: esf scheme, ~esf scheme, field stability, ~field stability, resource command, ~resource command esf scheme 0.857759 1.0

~esf scheme 0.513793 0.740373

field stability 0.512069 0.718259

~field stability 0.803448 0.957862

resource command 0.625862 1.0

~resource command 0.689655 0.744879

Analysis of sufficiency; outcome variable: usage

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~field stability 0.803448 0.290517 0.957862 F3, IT2, IT3, DE3, PL1, PL2, PL3, SE3, UK3 0.961718 0.887931 F1, DE2 F2

Raw coverage Unique coverage Consistency Explained cases Solution consistency Solution coverage Uncovered cases Inconsistent cases in kind

esf scheme*resource command 0.597414 0.084483 1.000000 IT2, PL1, PL2, PL3, UK2

Analysis of necessity; outcome variable: ~usage Conditions tested: esf scheme, ~esf scheme, field stability, ~field stability, resource command, ~resource command, ~esf scheme*field stability Consistency Coverage

esf scheme 0.673438 0.433166

~esf scheme 1.000000 0.795031

field stability 0.935937 0.724305

~field stability 0.635937 0.418294

resource command 0.571875 0.504132

~resource command 1.000000 0.595903

~esfscheme*field stability 1.000000 0.660475 (continued)

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Table 6.2: Analyses of necessity and sufficiency for usage and ~usage (continued) Analysis of sufficiency; outcome variable: ~usage ~esf scheme*field stability 0.935937 0.367188 0.903469 IT1, DE1, SE1, SE2, UK1 0.862267 0.939062 / ~esf scheme*field stability

~esf scheme*~resource command 0.571875 0.003125 0.919598 F2, IT1, DE1, SE1, SE2, UK1

~esfscheme*~resource command

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Notes: * For this analysis, a consistency level of 0.9 was applied due to a hidden necessary condition. Further information can be found in the technical online appendix. Both models can be deemed robust. Detailed information on the robustness tests can be found in the technical online appendix (https://policy.bristoluniversitypress. co.uk/local-policies-and-the-european-social-fund). Source: Author’s own data

What responses under what conditions?

Raw coverage Unique coverage Consistency Explained cases Solution consistency Solution coverage Uncovered cases Inconsistent cases in kind

Local Policies and the European Social Fund

the qualitative material, I now analyse the contextual conditions for change (and the absence of change).

Contextual conditions for ESF-induced change The second part of the hypotheses argues that, for field change to happen, it is not enough that field actors make use of the ESF – even if no change would be expected without usage. This is why it is expected to be a necessary condition. In addition to usage of the ESF, the existence of socially skilled actors and the intervention of state actors matter as conditions for change. In order to test this hypothesis, it is necessary to assess the conditions in the form of fuzzy set memberships. As I adopted a similar approach when calibrating the contextual conditions for change to the one for usage, the description is kept short here. The Appendix (at the end of the book) provides both the list of the set concepts and the coding framework; this offers greater details regarding the empirical occurrence of the phenomena and their transformation into fuzzy set concepts. The first potentially relevant condition that I theoretically identified concerns the role of state actors’ interventions (see above). Here, the core argument is that state actors have the ability to ‘legitimise’ forms of action that were previously not part of the standard portfolio of the field, and they can impose field orders by various means (for example, sponsoring particular groups, certifying certain norms, sanctioning or legalising specific behaviour or providing particular resources). Intervention by state actors is most likely to come from neighbouring fields. According to the ‘localised perspective’ of this study, it was irrelevant whether national, regional or other local statutory fields were responsible for such state actors’ interventions; all levels were regarded as potentially equally relevant for the local fields. In the empirical data, there were various examples in which state actors from different levels had intervened in the local fields and structured ESF aspects. One case where state actors sought to establish the ESF as a source for routine action in the field was when they sponsored ESF applications by providing financial support during the application process (more examples are discussed later and in the coding framework in the Appendix). With regard to field actors’ social skill, theory indicates that actors who are able to interpret field rules and mobilise resources in a particular way in order to pursue their interests and the interests of the field are crucial for the transformation of innovative action into field change. Their leading role and particular motivation is

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What responses under what conditions?

decisive. This was also a highly relevant empirical phenomenon: in many cases, individual actors acted as institutional entrepreneurs and showed particular engagement when it came to the ESF. At the same time, such entrepreneurship was described as lacking in other cases. Accordingly, in the sample, I measured social skill on the basis of leadership, particular individual interest or specific engagement by field actors. Set membership was assigned based on the ‘usual relevant actors strategy’ (as discussed previously). Table 6.3 displays the fuzzy set scores for usage and change, as well as for the potentially relevant conditions of state actors and social skill. With these fuzzy set scores at hand, I ran the formal analyses of necessity and sufficiency for change as an outcome. The analyses included the conditions state actors and social skill. Furthermore, due to the theoretical assumption on the relationship between usage and change (that is, usage as a necessary condition for change), usage was now also included as a condition (it was treated as an outcome in the previous analyses). As previously depicted, the scores for usage were calculated from the scores for strategic usage and cognitive usage. In the analyses for usage as an outcome, there was no conceptual need to differentiate between these two usage dimensions. However, when Table 6.3: Fuzzy-set scores for the analysis of conditions for change Case F1 F2 F3 IT 1 IT2 IT3 DE1 DE2 DE3 PL1 PL2 PL3 SE1 SE2 SE3 UK1 UK2 UK3

usage 0.66 0.33 0.66 0.33 0.66 1 0.33 0.66 1 1 1 1 0.33 0.33 0.66 0.33 0.66 0.66

change 0.275 0.330 0.330 0.330 0.550 0.660 0.275 0.275 0.718 0.663 0.663 0.663 0.000 0.275 0.165 0.330 0.550 0.165

state actors 0.33 0.33 0.33 0.66 0.66 0.66 0.33 0.33 0.66 1 1 1 0 0 0.33 0.33 1 0.33

Source: Author’s own data

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social skill 0.66 0.66 0.66 0.66 0.33 0.33 0.66 0.66 0.33 0.33 0.33 0.33 0 0.33 0.66 0.33 0.33 0.33

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usage is treated as a potential condition, it was necessary to check whether the two dimensions had different explanatory roles. Hence, all analyses were run for overall usage, strategic usage and cognitive usage. The results of the analyses are reported in the technical online appendix, and any deviations will be discussed later in this book. Again, I briefly report the actual formal analyses. As far as the analysis of necessity is concerned, the results for the three conditions – usage (plus strategic usage and cognitive usage), state actors and social skill – are shown in Table 6.4. As shown, usage can be regarded as a necessary condition,5 albeit with a relatively high number of irrelevant cases (these are the cases that are located in the lower right quadrant of Figure 5.1: DE2, F1, F3, SE3 and UK3). Strategic and overall usage had almost identical parameters of fit, while cognitive usage did not qualify as a necessary condition – a finding that will require a discussion regarding the theoretical and substantive implications later in this book. Both state actors and ~social skill have coverage and consistency scores that qualify them as necessary conditions. With regard to the role of state actors, this is theoretically plausible: state actors’ interventions have been discussed as highly relevant for field change. However, with regard to ~social skill, the findings contradict the theoretical assumptions. Based on theory, this study expected socially skilled actors to play a crucial role for change and not for the absence of change. This, of course, calls for intensive reflection based on the empirical data. A formal analysis of sufficiency for change with the conditions usage,6 state actors and social skill reveals a solution consisting of a single path: state actors *usage*~social skill (cf Table 6.4). The solution contains all conditions that were previously identified as necessary conditions. Again, the absence of socially skilled actors appears to be relevant for change. A more in-depth discussion of the relationship between change and social skill (or ~social skill), which is presented in the technical online appendix, supports this finding. Rather paradoxically from a theoretical perspective, the absence of socially skilled actors seems to play a crucial role for explaining change, a fact that shall be discussed later in light of the case study insights. For now, from a formal perspective, the findings from the sufficiency analysis for change indicate that the intervention of state actors and the absence of socially skilled actors in combination with usage can sufficiently explain why change can be observed in five cases (IT2, PL1, PL2, PL3 and UK2), all located in the upper right property space in Figure 5.1. Even if this is already a very interesting result, there are still some puzzling aspects. When looking at Figure 5.1, we see that the cases

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in the lower right quadrant (DE2, F1, F3, SE3 and UK3) remain unexplained. These are the cases where usage was found but no change. For the analysis of change, they are simply inconsistent cases that need to be ‘explained away’ when dealing with sufficiency. However, analytically, the study is interested in the relationship between the Europeanisation phenomena of usage and change (as well as in the conditions leading to these phenomena). Thus, these five cases are definitely of great theoretical and analytical interest: why is change evident in these cases although there is usage? Or, in other words, when actors use the ESF, why does this sometimes lead to field change and sometimes not? One easy answer might involve looking at the analysis of sufficiency for change and determining that the absence of the sufficient conditions for change would explain the absence of change. But there are two short circuits in this argument: first of all, this study did not ask about the absence of change in general, but only about the cases where usage is present but change is not. Furthermore, the underlying set theoretical logic rests on the assumptions of causal asymmetry, which does not allow researchers to make linear causal statements (the absence of an outcome is not necessarily explained by the absence of necessary/sufficient conditions for the outcome). As was also the case for the analysis of usage, ~usage and change, this means that independent analyses need to be run for ~change in order to control for potential causal asymmetry. The main parameters for this analysis can be found in Table 6.4. The results for the analysis of necessity for ~change reveal that only ~cognitive usage qualifies as a necessary condition for change. This is a very interesting finding, because it means that cognitive usage also needs to be included in the analysis of sufficiency. As outlined in greater detail in the technical online appendix, the most suitable model for the analysis of sufficiency of ~change is one with four different conditions: strategic usage, cognitive usage, state actors and social skill. As the results depicted in Table 6.4 show, the single solution path for this model only consists of ~cognitive usage. This path explains the five cases of interest (where usage can be found but no change): F3, F1, DE2, SE3 and UK3 are – together with SE1, SE2, F2, IT1 and UK1 – typical cases for sufficiency when accepting ~cognitive usage as a sufficient condition. DE1 is inconsistent in degree, and IT2, UK2 and DE3 are inconsistent in kind. IT3 and the three Polish cases are irrelevant cases. It can hence be assumed that when it comes to the absence of change, it is the cognitive dimension of usage that plays a decisive role. Strategic usage – or its absence – is most probably only

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Table 6.4: Analyses of necessity and sufficiency for change and ~change Analysis of necessity; outcome variable: change Conditions tested: usage (plus strategic usage, cognitive usage), state actors, social skill ~usage 1.000000 0.622270

usage 0.475179 0.535938

strategic usage 1.000000 0.629647

cognitive usage 0.838374 0.875000

state actors 0.953821 0.741918

~state actors 0.522281 0.432339

social skill 0.700993 0.643766

~social skill 0.993304 0.707101

Analysis of sufficiency; outcome variable: ~usage

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Raw coverage Unique coverage Consistency Explained cases Solution consistency Solution coverage Uncovered cases Inconsistent cases in kind

state actors*usage*~social skill 0.953821 0.953821 0.903543 IT2, IT3, DE3, PL1, PL2, PL3, UK2 0.903543 0.953821 / /

Analysis of necessity; outcome variable: ~change Conditions tested: usage (plus strategic usage, cognitive usage), state actors, social skill Consistency Coverage

~usage 0.593600 1.000000

usage 0.724532 0.673420

~strategic usage 0.599308 1.000000

~cognitive usage 0.918411 0.892949

~state actors 0.777864 0.961774

state actors 0.540887 0.628412

~social skill 0.740300 0.787147

social skill 0.724532 0.993851 (continued)

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Table 6.4: Analyses of necessity and sufficiency for change and ~change (continued) Analysis of sufficiency; outcome variable: ~usage ~cognitive usage 0.923481 0.923481 0.899428 F1, F2, F3, IT1, DE1, DE2, SE1, SE2, SE3, UK1, UK3 0.899428 0.923481 / IT2, UK2, DE3

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Note: Both models can be deemed robust in general. For necessity of change, minor reservations appear with regard to the alternative concept of usage. Detailed information on the robustness tests can be found in the technical online appendix (https://policy.bristoluniversitypress.co.uk/local-policies-and-the-european-social-fund). Source: Author’s own data

What responses under what conditions?

Raw coverage Unique coverage Consistency Explained cases Solution consistency Solution coverage Uncovered cases Inconsistent cases in kind

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of minor relevance here (this is also supported by the necessity test and the robustness checks). At the same time, robustness checks with more conservative consistency levels suggested that it might make sense to include ~state actors as an INUS condition7 in combination with ~cognitive usage (for extended reflections, see the comments in the technical online appendix at https://policy.bristoluniversitypress. co.uk/local-policies-and-the-european-social-fund). The inclusion of this generates the path ~cognitive usage*~state actors, a path that covers all of the five cases of interest (F2, DE1, SE1, SE2 and UK1). On the basis of the analyses of sufficiency and necessity for change (and ~change), the hypotheses related to change can be partly confirmed. The first part of the theoretical expectations is clearly supported by the empirical data: there is no single case where change without usage can be observed, and usage qualifies as a necessary condition for change. Hence, H1a can be completely confirmed. When it comes to the second part of the hypotheses (the hypothesis that usage, state actors’ interventions and social skill are relevant conditions for change), the data shows some unexpected results. Even if all three conditions somehow appear in the sufficiency solution for change, it is not the presence of socially skilled actors that matters according to the QCA, but their absence. This unexpected role of socially skilled actors, which contradicts our expectations, is discussed in greater detail later. For now, H1b can only partly be confirmed. To shed light on this puzzle, insights from the case studies are clearly needed. The same applies to the findings for the absence of change, which revealed highly interesting insights for those cases where usage could be observed but not change. Here, the absence of cognitive usage was of crucial relevance. It appeared as the only necessary condition and – in combination with the absence of state actors’ interventions – as an INUS condition in the analysis of sufficiency.

A preliminary typology of local responses to the ESF As is clear from the previous sections, the formal QCA not only partially confirmed the theoretical expectations concerning the contextual conditions behind usage and change, but also provided highly interesting information on the relationship between these two ways of responding to the ESF. The theoretical argument regarding the relationship between usage and change was formulated in idealtypical terms. The assumed set relationship between usage and change was displayed in a fourfold table, with each cell representing a combination of the absence or presence of usage and the absence

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or presence of change. Now, as shown in Figure 5.1, I depict the empirical occurrence of usage and change – which constitutes the first research interests – in a scatter plot where usage is displayed on the x-axis and change on the y-axis. The points of maximum indifference are marked by horizontal and vertical lines, which delineate the four possible property spaces: (1) change without usage, (2) change and usage, (3) usage without change, and (4) neither usage nor change. The empirical results showed that the first property space is empty, as the analyses confirmed that usage is a necessary condition for change. Since this study deals with fuzzy sets, cases can show a degree of membership in the property spaces; the three remaining property spaces are represented in a relatively balanced manner, with cases showing partial memberships in the three different property spaces. Hence three different types of responses to the ESF can be observed across the 18 cases under study: (1) cases without usage and without change, (2) cases with usage but without change, and (3) cases with usage and with change. Turning to the second research interest – regarding the contextual conditions enabling the causal mechanisms behind usage and change – from an analytical perspective, I now analyse the conditions behind these three different types. A key interest is in the conditions under which actors do not use the ESF, the conditions under which the ESF results in usage without change, and the conditions under which usage and change can be observed together. However, while the theoretical approach provided relatively clear hypotheses regarding the possible types as far as the first question is concerned, which allowed me to construct theoretical ideal-types and test the empirical occurrence of these types, this was not possible for the second question. Although the theoretical approach pointed to potentially relevant conditions for usage and change, it only suggested directional expectations. Based on theory, I could not determine whether the conditions are sufficient or necessary conditions or how they might work in conjunction with each other. Hence, to undertake further typologising exercises regarding the conditions behind usage and change, the study must follow a more inductively inspired pathway and deploy the empirical information from the conditional analyses to better understand the different conditional patterns of responses to the ESF. From a practical perspective, this means looking at the three different (ideal) types step by step and unravelling the conditional paths leading to these response patterns. While the ideal-type analysis had a mainly descriptive aim (mapping the empirical occurrence of usage and change, albeit with a focus on their conditional relationship), the

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inductive step implies causal reasoning (or the aim of understanding and explaining the different descriptive patters from a conditional perspective). Hence, the inductive typologising does not aim at building different types of usage and change, but at identifying configurations of conditions behind each of the previously defined response patterns. In fact, this is actually what I have done in the formal analyses for usage, ~usage, change and ~change. The sufficiency solution paths for these different outcomes that emerged as a result are of crucial substantive interest in this regard (Cacciatore et al, 2015: 1193). In theory, various different solution paths could be found for one and the same outcome (equifinality), each of which might point towards a particular conditional pattern (or ‘cluster’; cf Cacciatore et al, 2015: 1189). In the present analyses, in most cases one or two solution paths for each response pattern resulted from the analyses, as Table 6.5 shows. One crucial challenge for combining the response patterns and the results of the conditional analyses is that the patterns are combinations of the absence and presence of usage and change; however, I performed the conditional analyses separately for the different states of usage and change. To align the empirical analysis and the analytical approach, these two need to be brought together. An analysis of change covers all cases in the second cell of Figure 5.1 (change/usage), and the analysis of ~usage covered all cases in cell 4 (~usage/~change). For cell 3 (usage/~change), an analysis of ~change is most appropriate, since the question of why there is no change in these cases despite usage is a central concern.8 The separate analyses for usage and change provide additional information for the different response patterns. This is most interesting in the case of cell 2 (change/usage). Looking at Table 6.3, Table 6.5: Solution paths for response patterns Path 1 (covered cases)a ~field stability (F3, IT2, IT3, DE3, PL1, PL2, PL3, SE3, UK3)

Path 2 (covered cases) esf scheme*resource command (IT2, PL1, PL2, PL3, UK2)

~usage

~esf scheme*field stability (IT1, DE1, SE1, SE2, UK1)

~esf scheme*~resource command (F2, IT1, DE1, SE1, SE2, UK1)

change

state actors*usage*~social skill (IT2, IT3, DE3, PL1, PL2, PL3, UK2)

usage

~change ~cognitive usage*~state actors (F1, F2, F3, DE1, DE2, SE1, SE2, SE3, UK1, UK3) Note: a If more than one option was available, the most complex path was included. Source: Author’s own data

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What responses under what conditions?

it is clear that all cases in this cell are covered by the solution path for change (state actors*usage*~social skill). Furthermore, when the usage results are also taken into account, all but two cases (DE3 and IT3) from cell 4 appear to be members of the second solution path for usage (esfscheme*resource command), while the first path (~field stability) for usage covers all ~change cases (and a few change cases). This suggests a pattern of equifinality, which means that two different kinds of usage may be evident: one pattern where usage does not trigger change and another one where it does. However, this is a question that requires a more detailed investigation and a closer look at the actual processes underway in the empirical cases. The case study discussions in the next chapter are a good basis for this. For now, I can summarise that the ideal-typical analysis of the empirical occurrence of usage and change and the conditional analysis for the different response patterns revealed highly interesting results. Usage is a necessary condition for change, and there are several cases without usage and without change but no single case with change without usage (cell  1). On the other hand, usage is not sufficient for change, which means that usage alone cannot sufficiently explain all cases where we observed change. Here, the role of state actors’ interventions and – paradoxically – the absence of socially skilled actors – are relevant (cell 2). Furthermore, the analyses found a sufficient explanation for those cases where usage but no change was observed: a combination of the absence of cognitive usage and the absence of state actors’ interventions (cell 3). Last but not least, I also analysed the conditions under which actors in the field did not use the ESF (cell 4). Here, the role of a stable field in combination with low available ESF funding emerged as relevant. Depending on the substantive interpretation of the findings, a combination of low available funding and a lack of resource command can also be taken into account as a relevant result. These results can be understood as a (preliminary) typology of responses to the ESF: three descriptive response patterns as specific combinations of usage and change with additional explanatory information regarding the contextual conditions enabling these patterns. Figure 6.1 illustrates these findings in a simplified manner and also adds the role of the potentially equifinal patterns for usage. The next step is to use these results as a basis for a discussion of the actual Europeanisation processes in the 18 cases under study. The QCA was extremely helpful for detecting patterns of responses to the ESF and conditions behind these patterns. QCA is a method allowing for comparative thinking and informed reasoning, and, at the end of the day, there is no big difference between a QCA study and a

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Figure 6.1: Empirical response patterns and solution paths 1

changeusage *stateactors*~socialskill

0.9 0.8 DE3

0.7

CHANGE

0.6

PL1, PL2, PL3, IT3

IT2, UK2

usage esfscheme*resourcecommand usage~fieldstability

0.5

~usage ~esfscheme*fieldstability 0.4 *~resourcecommand

F3

F2, IT1, UK1

0.3

DE1, SE2

F1, DE2

0.2

SE3, UK3

0.1

~change~cognitive usage *~stateactors

SE1

0 0

0.1

0.2

0.3

0.4

0.5

0.6

0.7

0.8

0.9

1

USAGE

qualitative study comparing two or more case studies and deploying logical arguments. However, as in every case study based on qualitative analyses, the results of the abstract reasoning (the presented QCA results) need to be fed back into the empirical material. Only this will put flesh on the bones of the preliminary typology of responses to the ESF developed in this section. Notes 1

The analyses of conditions for usage and for change are done using a QCA methodology. This means that certain technical details (for example, precise formulations of conditionality, Boolean expressions or consistency/ coverage scores) are required in order to report the analyses and the findings properly. However, I intend to keep this to a minimum and limit the technical language to this chapter. The following chapters will – at the expense of accuracy, but for the sake of comprehensibility – avoid technical expressions. Readers familiar with and interested in QCA are invited to consult the technical data in this chapter and the extensive further information provided in the technical online appendix for methodologically precise facts.

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~resource command shows a coverage level that is only slightly above the threshold of 0.5, a fact that shows that its empirical relevance as a necessary condition is not very high. Against the backdrop of the relatively small sample, it was therefore decided to treat it as not necessary. 3 As reported in the technical online appendix (https://policy. bristoluniversitypress.co.uk/local-policies-and-the-european-social-fund), these results are based on an analysis with a higher consistency level (0.9) due to a hidden necessary condition. 4 Since necessity is a strong concept that implies that the outcome cannot be observed without the condition present, it is technically not surprising that there is no necessary condition for usage among the conditions I assumed would be relevant. 5 Readers familiar with QCA might realise that the fact that all cases fall under the diagonal line in Figure 5.1 already indicates necessity because each case’s fuzzy set membership score in usage is equal to or higher than its fuzzy set membership score in change. 6 The role of cognitive usage and strategic usage has been checked, and the results are presented in the technical online appendix (https://policy. bristoluniversitypress.co.uk/local-policies-and-the-european-social-fund). As very similar results emerge for overall usage and strategic usage, and given that cognitive usage does not appear in the solution term for change, these results have not been included in Table 6.4. 7 An INUS condition is an Insufficient but Necessary part of a condition that is itself Unnecessary but Sufficient. 8 An analysis of ~change also includes the cases in cell 4. However, this is not a problem, since logically there are no contradictory results between the original sample and a reduced sample. Nevertheless, an analysis was run where the cases from cell 1 were included. This analysis indeed revealed a solution that is a perfect subset relation of the original solution. 2

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7

Beyond numbers: Using case study insights to support interpretation In the previous chapter, the results of formal QCA analyses gave us some idea of the contextual conditions behind the usage of the ESF and the changes brought about by it. These results showed that three different patterns of responses to the ESF existed among the 18 cases under study (namely, the absence of usage and change, usage without change, and usage and change together). Each of these response patterns is characterised by a particular combination of conditions that activate the causal mechanisms behind usage and change (cf Figure 6.1 in Chapter 6). In this chapter, the response patterns revealed by the formal QCA are interpreted against the backdrop of the qualitative case knowledge. The idea is to understand how the contextual conditions work, and more specifically, to grasp what is behind the conjunctions of conditions.1 To do so, I follow the logic of the preliminary typology of ESF responses developed previously, which means that I discuss the three response patterns in turn. In the first part of the chapter, I focus on the pattern where I found neither usage nor change. For this pattern, the QCA findings regarding the absence of usage are particularly relevant. The second part then turns towards the other extreme: those cases where both outcomes were present. Here, both the findings for the presence of usage and the presence of change matter; hence, I discuss both in turn. Finally, the third part of the chapter focuses on those cases that were highlighted as particularly interesting from an analytical point of view: those exhibiting a pattern with usage but no change. Here, I discuss the QCA findings for the absence of change and for the presence of usage. In order to set the stage for the qualitative discussions of the results, the QCA results are reported briefly in set theoretical language at the beginning of each subsection, albeit in a simplified manner. For the subsequent casebased discussions, technical language is avoided.2

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Administrative burdens and stable fields: non-usage of the ESF In the sample, there are six cases that display no (or little) usage and no (or little) change: DE1, F2, IT1, SE2 and SE1 and UK1. These cases are located in the lower left quadrant of Figure 6.1. In order to understand the ‘no usage, no change’ response pattern, it is now necessary to get insights from the case studies into how the QCA findings for the absence of usage from the previous chapter actually work.3 The findings were relatively complex: the formal analysis of necessity for the non-usage of the ESF revealed two necessary conditions – a stable field and a low availability of ESF funding. The analysis of sufficiency delivered two paths – one is a conjunction of low available ESF funding and a stable field, and the other is a conjunction of low available ESF funding and weak resource command. In simple terms, this means4 that the analyses suggest a crucial role of a stable environment and low available funding when it comes to decisions by local actors not to use the ESF (the conditions appear in combination as sufficient conditions and individually as necessary conditions). However, the role of relevant resources commanded by the local actors also seems to play a role together with low available funding (these appear in conjunction as sufficient conditions). However, a puzzle emerged regarding the relationship between the findings for necessity and sufficiency: either we should reject field stability as a necessary condition and accept the two mentioned conjunctions as a solution, or we should reject the second conjunction (resource command and low available funding). In order to come to a conclusion regarding the role of the contextual conditions for non-usage of the ESF, the two conjunctional paths are now discussed step by step, feeding case knowledge back into the technical results of the QCA solutions and illustrating how the solution paths work in practice. The first path is a combination of low available ESF funding and a stable field. In light of the conceptualisation of these two conditions, this combination points towards low preferences for ESF usage as a crucial sufficient condition for non-usage. Field stability, as previously discussed, is expected to shape actors’ preferences in the sense that it decreases the attractiveness of additional money or other ESF elements against the backdrop of other available funding or measures, that is, against the backdrop of field-internal contextual aspects. When combined with the more limited availability of ESF funding, this attractiveness presumably declines even further due to external factors,

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since the potentially available funding is even lower than if it was in a convergence region. This theoretical supposition is clearly supported by the case studies: in all explained cases (IT1, DE1, SE1, SE2 and UK1) field actors refer to the ‘unattractiveness’ of the ESF. One example is the city D1, which is located in a prosperous southern German region. National and especially regional funding is available for economic development, regional economic and labour market actors are in close cooperation, and unemployment is a marginal topic that, according to local actors, should be addressed by mostly demand-side measures (and unemployed people who cannot be activated into a job are perceived as the ‘remaining unemployable rest’). Due to the broad regional activities, most local actors feel well supported, like this interviewee from a training provider, who also makes a reference to field stability when stating that his organisation is well embedded in the regional labour market: You see, we are well embedded in the regional labour market, and – my goodness – I can’t see any reasons for European issues at the moment. (DE2 report: 14) Beyond the role of the field environment, several actors also refer to the administrative burdens, the problems with co-financing and their lack of resource command in general when justifying their decision not to use the ESF. Here, low preferences for action seem to be clearly related to a lack of capacity for action. How does this correspond with the findings from the QCA analyses? The two paths for sufficiency not only revealed a conjunction of field stability and weak resource command, but also a second path entailing a conjunction of low available ESF funding and weak resource command. Looking at the cases that are covered by the two paths, it becomes clear that the overlap is quite high. All cases that are covered by the first path (stable field and low available ESF funding) are also covered by the second path (low available ESF funding and weak resource command). This means that in all cases where a stable field and low available ESF funding was observed, weak resource command was also found. This clearly supports the impression from the case studies: the ‘unattractiveness’ of the ESF, which is shaped by a stable field and low available funding, goes hand in hand with weak resource command in five cases: IT1, DE1, SE1, SE2 and UK1. Indeed, in empirical reality, there are cost-benefit calculations that lead to a situation where field actors clearly refuse to make use of

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the ESF. These actors do not perceive it as an attractive opportunity, as they do not need further funding (their own field is relatively well resourced). In fact, they see it as something that would bring administrative burdens and would complicate things. This is well expressed by a Swedish interviewee from a PES: In our case we have not had the capability, will, motivation to run an EU project. It is supposed to be something beyond the regular work. And we are fully busy with the regular work. (SE Europeanisation: 5) This observation suggests that the second path of the solution could be rejected, that field stability should be accepted as a necessary condition, and that weak resource command should be added to the first sufficiency path.5 In a nutshell, this means that the phenomenon of non-usage of the ESF is driven by the deliberate decisions of local actors in stable fields, who perceive the ESF as something that would force them to build up competences they do not yet have, and which is – also in light of the comparably low available ESF funding and their usually good local situation – not attractive enough to merit investing this effort. This picture makes a lot of sense from a theoretical and empirical perspective, and is a very good example of how formal QCA analyses and case study discussions should go hand in hand. While a classic comparative case study analysis most probably would have overestimated the role of resource command due to the high prominence of the topic in the case studies and in the literature, the QCA results left an unresolved puzzle and might have underestimated the link between weak resource command and field stability or low ESF funding. The solution now is a well-balanced and empirically validated result that plausibly supports the causal story of non-usage: while low available ESF funding decreases the overall attractiveness of the ESF and a stable field adds internal factors that reduce field actors’ preferences for using the ESF, a lack of administrative capacities or low co-funding abilities work as leverage for this negative attitude towards usage. Thus, weak resource command does not necessarily shape their ability for action but influences field actors’ preferences in conjunction with other contextual factors. Non-usage of the ESF is, in general, a decision of field actors not to opt for usage based on clear preferences. In other words, field actors refuse to use the ESF because they do not see a benefit in it either from a financial or programmatic perspective.

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Establishing routines and standards through the ESF: usage and change The previous section discussed how the non-usage pattern (in the lower left quadrant of Figure  6.1) could be explained from a conditional perspective based on case knowledge. The next step is now to discuss the exact opposite: the cases where both usage and change were observed (in the upper right quadrant of Figure 6.1). This requires me to reflect on the findings for usage and for change, which will be done in turn. Reflections on the results for usage In 12 out of the 18 cases under study, usage of the ESF was observed: IT2, UK2, DE2, PL1, PL2, PL3, IT3, F3, F1, DE2, SE3 and UK3. The formal analysis of sufficiency for usage revealed that both the absence of a stable field and the conjunction of high ESF funding and good resource command act as sufficient conditions for usage. The two different paths cover different cases to some extent: while the first path (absence of a stable field) covers the majority of all cases where usage was observed (F3, IT2, IT3, DE3, PL1, PL2, PL3, SE3 and UK3), the second path (the conjunction of high ESF funding and good resource command) only covers five cases (IT2, PL1, PL2, PL3 and UK2). These five cases are all cases where change was also observed, and which are hence to be found in the upper right quadrant of Figure 6.1. There is only one case (DE3) where change was observed but which is not covered by the second usage path. What is highly interesting is that the two different paths seem to be related to two different relationships between usage and change. The second path (the conjunction of high ESF funding and good resource command) only covers cases where usage and change are both present. The first path (absence of a stable field) also covers some of the change cases but mainly covers the ‘no change but usage’ cases. This suggests that in cases with an unstable field, usage does not lead to field change, but in cases where there is also good resource command and high funding, it does (the only exception is DE3). Such equifinality could be of great interest: it seems that two different patterns of usage are at work in the empirical reality, one that triggers change and the other one that does not. The theoretical argument behind the concept of field stability was that in an unstable field, actors more likely perceive external input as an opportunity and thus react to this by engaging in innovative

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action. Indeed, this mechanism can be clearly observed in the covered cases. Due to financial restrictions, usage of the ESF is an attractive option for many field actors. In other words, these cities are poor and field actors perceive the ESF as a vital funding tool for services for long-term unemployed people (and other beneficiaries). This also applies to SE3 and DE3, cities that are – in a European comparison – probably less poor than others, and which benefit from a strong national active labour market system, also targeted toward long-term unemployed people. However, it is clearly the subjective perception of the socioeconomic situation by field actors that matters here. Due to their relatively weak socioeconomic situation, the municipal budgets in these cities are rather small, and local field actors view their spending capacity as low. Additional money from the ESF is mostly very welcome, as is evident in this Swedish quote: … we apply for this money [ESF] precisely because we don’t have the resources otherwise. (SE Europeanisation: 8) In addition to such financial instability, in some cases, particularly the three Polish and two Italian cases, a lack of a comprehensive national policy scheme further destabilises the local fields and makes ESF funding even more attractive for local field actors. Since higher-level systems offer only very few policies for long-term unemployment (LTU) in these cases, field actors who have the objective to bring longterm unemployed people into work have a very strong preference for using the ESF, since it is directly targeted towards this objective. Hence, it is not just the financial dimension of the ESF that shapes actors’ preferences and prompts them to perceive the ESF as an attractive opportunity; the motivational aspects of the substantive policies behind the money is also of interest for field actors. However, financial motives are clearly most prominent when it comes to preference shaping by field (in)stability. In a nutshell, field actors regard the ESF as an opportunity when the field context shapes their preferences such that their preferred measures for achieving the field objective cannot be easily achieved by field-internal means. The role of a stable field in shaping local actors’ preferences with regard to the ESF comes into play for most but not all cases, according to the QCA analyses. The second path, namely, the conjunction of high ESF funding and good resource command, covers almost all cases where both usage and change were observed: IT2, PL1, PL2, PL3 and UK2. All of these cases are also covered by the first path (absence of a stable field), but there is one single case that falls solely under

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the second path: UK2. In fact, in UK2, the relationship between esf scheme and resource command becomes most visible, as the city is a prime example of the relevance of what could be called ‘convergence responsibilities’. As already mentioned in the context of the calibration process, the fuzzy set concept of the condition esf scheme not only takes into account whether a city is eligible for convergence funding or not (so that lower funding in combination with a stable field presumably decreases the attractiveness of the ESF, as discussed), but also considers whether a city has administrative responsibilities for convergence regions without being eligible for convergence funding itself. UK2 is the capital of a NUTS 1 region in the UK in which some regions are convergence areas and some are not. The city itself is not eligible for convergence funding, but the majority of the ESF administrative tasks are undertaken here. Furthermore, service delivery cannot be completely split up between convergence and non-convergence areas, since the general infrastructure, such as the EU office or umbrella organisations for service delivering actors, are located in UK2, and many actors are also involved in delivery in convergence areas and in non-convergence areas. Being in contact with ESF-funded projects and ESF administration is hence something that is very normal for many actors in UK2, and decreases their fear of engagement with the funding scheme when it comes to their own usage. This also means that they are more confident when it comes to their own command of the relevant resources, which, in turn, increases the attractiveness of the ESF. In a nutshell, despite not being eligible for the convergence funding itself, UK2 hosts a ‘convergence field’ with significant administrative infrastructure. This infrastructure increases the ability of field actors to engage with the ESF. Now, when it comes to the relationship between the two conditions esf scheme and resource command, there is a certain interdependency of the two6 – esf scheme does not merely refer to the available funding; it is also related to field actors’ resource command, as the convergence infrastructure increases resource command. The empirical observations regarding the relationship between resource command and esf scheme can be applied beyond UK2 as the conjunction of the two conditions is empirically evident in infrastructures that are linked to the convergence region and that support field actors’ resource command. This means that the second path for usage implies a particular usage pattern: a strong enabling environment for usage structures (namely, high funding or the infrastructure of a convergence field in combination with good resource command). This then also shapes the preferences for actors to actually use the ESF.

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To sum up, two different patterns of usage can be observed. In one pattern, field actors regard the ESF as an attractive opportunity when their main objectives with regard to LTU policies cannot be achieved by field-internal means due to an unstable field. In the other pattern, a strong enabling environment reduces the individual costs for usage of the ESF. In most cases, both patterns apply, so that it might not make that much sense to disentangle the two patterns if we are only interested in usage. Nevertheless, the fact that the latter pattern applies almost exclusively to those cases where change was also observed makes it particularly relevant for this study, which is interested in the relationship between usage and change. Reflections on the results for change A major finding of the formal analyses of change was that I could, as hypothesised, classify usage as a necessary condition for change. No single case contradicts this statement, which means that there was no case of change without usage – usage hence plays a crucial role when it comes to ESF-induced field change. However, besides usage, the analysis of necessity for change also revealed two further necessary conditions: state actors’ interventions and the absence of socially skilled actors. This finding is theoretically very puzzling: why should the absence of socially skilled actors be a necessary condition for change? In the theoretical conceptualisation, the social skill of field actors who are able to interpret field rules and mobilise resources in a particular way in order to pursue their interests and the interests of the field were regarded as crucial for the transformation of innovative action into field change. These socially skilled actors have also been called ‘institutional entrepreneurs’, a concept that refers to actors who take a leading role with regard to the processes of interest. Accordingly, the study measured social skill on the basis of leadership, individual interest or specific engagement by field actors. However, as discussed previously, the dataset suffers from some limitations. When it comes to leadership, interest or engagement, the data did not provide very detailed information on how these aspects worked, but only whether and to what extent they were relevant in the context of the ESF. Consequently, what I actually measured was the role of entrepreneurship in dealing with the ESF and not the role of entrepreneurship in generating collective action and bringing routinised order into a chaotic arena. In other words, I measured the role of entrepreneurship for usage and not for change. This is due to

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the limitations of the dataset, which does not provide us with detailed information about social skill in general, but only about social skill in cases where entrepreneurship was evident in the sense of individual commitment, particular interest or special engagement. Of course, these reflections on measurement problems are of crucial interest for the analysis of usage, and will be discussed in this regard later in this work. But what can this realisation tell us with regard to change? Why does the absence of such entrepreneurship when dealing with the ESF turn out to be an INUS condition for change? The existence of socially skilled actors who are able to achieve collective action and bring routinised order into a chaotic arena was understood as a relevant condition for field change. Now, it can be argued that if there is no entrepreneurship with regard to usage, but if usage is nevertheless observed, this indicates that the practice of usage might be widespread and normal among field actors and may not need any entrepreneurs. Socially skilled entrepreneurs spread innovative action and established new field orders. In the present day, usage is no longer innovative but has become a routine action, and it is a standard element of field practice that brings about field change in different dimensions. Then, the empirical absence of socially skilled actors would simply signify that usage entrepreneurs are no longer necessary, because usage is not innovative action but has become part of the field routine. This theoretical understanding of the absence of social skill as the presence of collective action and routinised field order also fits well with the reflections on the rest of the solution for change. More specifically, it fits well with reflections regarding the role of interventions by state actors. As was observed in many cases, this is of high relevance for field resettlement (and therefore change), for example, when public coordination offices or networks are established or when clearly defined rules with regard to ESF funding are set out by official actors. This does not just increase information flows and provide administrative support; it also makes the ESF a normal and legitimate element of the official policy field. Such interventions could take place at different politico-administrative levels depending on the particular administrative setup of the country, the field and the ESF structures. However, state actors’ interventions are not always easy to grasp, because in settings where they are very widespread, field actors often perceive them as normal and standard elements of the field. On the other hand, their crucial role can be observed in vivo in those cases where the interventions by state actors are still in their infancy and field actors take notice of this process. The example of DE1 illustrates this very well.

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DE1 is a prosperous city in the south of Germany. The main problem with regard to the labour market is a shortage of skilled workers, and LTU is very low. EU funding mainly plays a role in the field of regional development (the ERDF), and almost all actors in the field of service delivery for LTU have general knowledge on ESF funding opportunities. Nevertheless, they do not perceive it as an opportunity for themselves, mostly due to their good financial situation and the high administrative burdens. The ESF is not very present in the field, and the domestic funding logics (that is, institutional funding from the municipal and national level, contracting out services etc) dominate the field structures. However, just before the fieldwork for this study took place, a one-man public office for EU funding was established. Compared to other public ESF structures in other cities in the samples, this office was almost negligible in terms of size and influence. The office did not have clear responsibilities at the time of the empirical fieldwork, and the person running the office had to build up almost everything. He had to set up the office on his own initiative, and the interviewee perceived one of his core tasks as providing information about funding for local actors, supporting project proposals or bringing potential partners on board. However, he described the attention as rather limited: ‘… there is always a chance to get funding. But the interest is very low here’ (DE1 interview 1). Nevertheless, despite this low interest in ESF funding and the limited influence of this office, nearly all actors in the field were aware of its existence. When asked about the role of the EU and ESF funding for their work, most of them directly mentioned the office, like this interviewee from the local employment agency: Interviewer: … Do European issues play a role for your work? … Interviewee: … we have a coordination office here at the municipality, the [mentions name of the responsible person in the EU funding office]…. But this is on projects. Actually, in general I have to say that the ESF tackles labour market issues, social issues. (DE1 interview 2) This salience of the EU funding office was evident in several interviews, and it suggests that the decision to set up a public office was a crucial step towards making the ESF a ‘normal’ funding tool in the field. It can be assumed that it is not so much the provision of information or actual application support that increases the salience of the EU office (because usage is still low in DE1); instead, salience is increased by

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the mere existence of a public agency, which gives legitimacy and attention to the ESF as a funding tool in general. This process of ‘normalising’ the ESF via public interventions is still in its infancy in DE1. However, in those cases where change could be observed, I found much more advanced processes in this regard: in DE3, PL1, PL2, PL3, IT3, IT2 and UK2 there are different forms of public structures that not only support local field actors in dealing with the ESF but also tell them that the ESF is accepted – and highly appreciated – as a financing instrument in the field. For example, in IT2, both the provincial level and municipal level have built up ESF coordination structures. At the provincial level, EU offices have played a coordinating role, while at the municipal level they are more involved in operational tasks. However, both structures are well embedded in the local field, and local actors refer to them as necessary and helpful: [The central Office for Europe] works as a coordinating service for the various departments. It gives us all the information about opening calls so that we avoid [extra work], it then coordinates the [projects] presentations.… You need [this kind of coordination]. (IT Europeanisation: 14) The public structures are perceived as a crucial and normal element of the field in many cases, and are vital for field actors’ dealings with the ESF. This shows how the ‘stabilising hand of the state’ is indeed vital for making the innovative action of usage normal in local fields. It thus supports field change. In a nutshell, then, the combination of usage and state actors’ interventions is relevant for change.7 Usage introduces the ESF and its different dimensions into the field, while state actors’ interventions help to make them normal, legitimate and accepted field elements. It can also be assumed (albeit tentatively) that the social skill of institutional entrepreneurs is no longer relevant in these cases, since usage has become part of field routines and is no longer innovative. In consequence, field change is evident in different dimensions, for example, when stable cooperation structures between field actors arise, when ideas that arise from the ESF’s objectives are internalised or when a project logic finds its way into an organisation that did not possess this logic before.

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Strategic action versus cognitive processes: usage without change The previous sections discussed the response patterns with the absence of change and those with the presence of usage and change together. In a final step, I now focus on the pattern of ‘usage without change’. As outlined earlier, this pattern is of crucial analytical interest, as it is in these cases where it becomes empirically obvious that usage is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for change. In order to better understand the formal QCA results, in a first step I present case studyinspired reflections on the results for non-change, and in a second step, these insights are combined with a discussion of the previously mentioned equifinality of usage. Reflections on the results for non-change In the QCA analyses for non-change, the most interesting result was that the absence of cognitive usage turned out to be a necessary condition for change,8 which means – in simplified form – that there is no change without cognitive usage (but there could be cognitive usage without change). In the subsequent analysis of sufficiency, it became clear that the absence of cognitive usage is the sole single sufficient condition for non-change.9 By taking a closer look at the cases where cognitive usage is absent as a sufficient condition, I identified five cases of particular interest (F3, F1, DE2, SE3 and UK3) that are among the typical cases for this solution, together with five other cases (F2, DE1, SE1, SE2 and UK1). Further reflections then suggested that all these cases also showed an absence of state actors’ interventions, and that a conjunction of these two conditions (the absence of cognitive usage and of state actors’ interventions) could also be accepted as a solution path for sufficiency for non-usage. Now, on the basis of the case study knowledge, this section not only seeks to disentangle the role of the absence of cognitive usage for non-change, but also to find out how this absence of cognitive usage works in conjunction with the absence of state actors’ interventions. In the literature, cognitive usage is defined as an understanding and interpretation of an EU resource (Woll and Jacquot, 2010: 117). Of course, such cognitive processes require a very careful and sensitive operationalisation. However, here again, the dataset imposed some limitations. As outlined previously, it was not possible to measure cognitive processes with regard to the usage of the ESF in a very detailed manner. Nevertheless, the data provided information

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regarding usage beyond mere applications for ESF funding (and thus beyond strategic usage). Although it was not possible to identify what this ‘usage beyond’ looked like in all cases, its existence could nevertheless be confirmed. Based on some empirical hints that ‘usage beyond’ could indeed be perceived as understanding and interpreting of substantive elements of the ESF, I decided to utilise the label ‘cognitive usage’ for those empirical instances where usage beyond strategic usage was observed. Now, what does the absence of cognitive usage look like (is it actually possible to capture such absence?), and how does it interact with the absence of state actors? To answer these questions, it is helpful to take a closer look at the empirical reality in a particular case. Here, DE2 is a very good example. The city is located in the north west of Germany and is characterised by a strong tertiary sector. Unemployment is moderate, but there is nevertheless a problem with LTU. It is not very high up the political agenda, but the service-delivering field is relatively large, and field actors are well connected and highly engaged. The city’s spending capacity is not bad, and for most field actors, the measures for LTU from the national unemployment benefits system offer good basic provision. For example, vocational training or social services such as psychosocial counselling are principally funded via the unemployment benefits system for long-term unemployed people (‘Hartz IV’). However, some actors perceive these measures as rigid and inflexible. From their perspective, they do not meet the needs of some target groups. They have particular ideas for how support for long-term unemployed people should be designed beyond these standard measures, and are looking for ways to implement and finance them. Here, the ESF is a very welcome tool: … we try to apply for projects which we couldn’t do by ourselves due to a lack of money or because the contents do not fit into our instruments, this is as well a very important thing. And yes, the ideas we implement in such a [ESF] project are simply different to what we always do in our repertory. (DE2 report) Thus, here the ESF is used as an additional funding tool on top of the standard measures that already exist. A similar motivation for usage can be found among most field actors. Nevertheless, although they clearly enjoy ‘conceptual freedom’ in the context of ESF funding, the ESF is not a source of inspiration for new ideas or measures in the

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majority of the cases. One interviewee from a service provider in DE2 expressed this as follows: Well, from a self-critical perspective, I could say that we don’t do that enough [search for new inspiration].… But the projects we are running, we tested them before somewhere and know that [the idea] is good. It is not that we just search and do any project randomly. (DE2 interview 4) This pattern of searching for adequate funding for innovative ideas beyond the existing standard measures is also visible in other cities. In SE3, for example, field actors also mentioned that ESF projects are ‘…  a wonderful opportunity to test new things that we have not tried before’ (SE Europeanisation: 8–9), but these ‘new things’ mostly do not travel any further. After the end of such projects, the standard measures continued as they always did (SE Europeanisation: 8–9). Interestingly, here we can observe a strategic usage of not only the financial dimension of the ESF, but also of the programmatic dimension. Actors seek to increase their financial capacity by acquiring ESF funding, but they also want to increase the programmatic scope of their portfolio of measures. It is clearly evident that field actors strategically use the ESF for (financial and programmatic) resource maximisation, but they do not make use of it beyond that, for example, by interpreting or appropriating the ideas or meanings behind the money. But how is this lack of cognitive usage related to non-change? Recall that, according to the theoretical model, the mechanism behind field change involves a transformation of innovative action into standard field elements. Based on that, it can be argued that if actors simply wish to get their hands on the money, this is indeed a barrier to a more in-depth transformation process (leading to change). The mostly superficial way of handling the ESF by field actors (driven by solely strategic interests) reduces contact intensity with regard to the different dimensions of the ESF. Transformation has been described as making previously new things normal. If field actors treat the ESF as a piggybank and do not care (much) about its other aspects, how should these aspects become normal? One way of achieving ‘normalisation’ could, of course, be familiarisation, which might especially be expected in light of the coordinating dimension of the ESF. As argued earlier, the ESF is a not only a piggybank, but also entails programmatic ideas and procedural requirements; any routinised usage of the ESF should thus leave marks. In other words, if actors use the ESF to a certain

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extent, should they not get used to the related procedures, which would lead to field change? So far, this chapter has focused on differences in kind with regard to the observations of usage and change in the different cases. However, when it comes to familiarisation and ‘normalisation’, it might make sense to also look at the degrees of membership in the set of change. All five cases in the lower right quadrant of Figure 6.1 (usage without change) showed at least some evidence of change (between 0.165 and 0.33). None of the five cases showed full non-membership (0) in the set of cases with change in the structural dimension, and three cases showed scores between 0.33 and 0.495 (cf Table 5.3 in Chapter 5). This could suggest that the processes of dealing with strategic usage (that is, application procedures and administrative procedures of running projects) had entered the local fields as routine elements, at least to some extent, while other aspects (for example, the programmatic dimension of the ESF) had not, or had done so to a lesser extent. The absence of cognitive usage – even if some familiarisation had taken place – could have prevented a more in-depth transformation of the field due to the one-sided handling of the ESF. However, in order to fully confirm these interpretations, it would have been necessary to gather more in-depth information on the particular transformation processes in all cases. As a final puzzle, I wish to disentangle how the absence of cognitive usage is related to the absence of state actors, which was the second INUS condition in the solution term for the analysis of sufficiency for non-change. At first sight, the link between those two conditions seems to be weak. How should the absence of public ESF structures (or other interventions) be related to the absence of cognitive usage? If we recall what has been revealed with regard to the role played by state actors’ interventions in change, the link becomes a bit clearer. Drawing on case knowledge, I stated earlier that state actors’ interventions help to make different aspects of the ESF normal and transform them into accepted field elements, since they legitimate them from a hierarchical position. As previously shown, the absence of cognitive usage prevents actors from engaging deeply with the ESF. This, in consequence, is a barrier to fundamental field transformation, since the different ESF dimensions cannot properly become routine field elements. However, transformation via state actors’ interventions happens via different channels: it does not arise due to field actors’ action but via hierarchical imposition. So, even if cognitive usage is lacking, state actors’ interventions could still (in conjunction with the other INUS

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conditions for change) lead to a legitimisation and ‘normalisation’ of the ESF. This is the case in UK2 (described in greater detail in the context of the ‘convergence field’), where we do not observe cognitive usage but we can observe field change. But if both are lacking, this would clearly prevent field change. In short, the two conditions do not work in a joint manner; instead, they complement each other. The absence of interventions by state actors modifies the role of the absence of cognitive usage and vice versa. Reflections on the patterns of usage and change So far, I have discussed the results for non-change, and how they relate to the response pattern of ‘usage without change’. However, it is not just the results for the absence of change that matter for this pattern, but also those for usage. As highlighted earlier, the solution for the sufficiency for usage pointed towards equifinality (that is, two different paths leading to the same outcome). The discussion of the usage results in the previous section indeed showed that one of the solution paths has a crucial message for those cases where not only usage was found but also change: the combination of available funding (and the related role of convergence infrastructure) and resource command. Now, for the cases of interest in this section (that is, those where only usage without change was found), the other path – the absence of a stable field – needs to be considered. As mentioned earlier, the path with the absence of a stable field covers nine cases: F3, IT2, IT3, DE3, PL1, PL2, PL3, SE3 and UK3. In all these cases, the absence of a stable field and usage was observed. The previous reflections showed in particular that a lack of financing, but also planning instability or the lack of a stable policy framework for tackling LTU, made the ESF a very attractive tool for local actors. They regarded the ESF as an opportunity when the field context shaped their preferences such that their preferred measures for achieving the field objective could not be achieved by field-internal means. Hence, I observed very strong preference-driven behaviour. Against the backdrop of the field situation, the actors decided to understand the ESF as an incentive, since they sought to increase their resources. Indeed, these strong rational preferences go hand in hand with what I have said on the absence of cognitive usage: many actors have clear, pre-determined ideas on what they want to achieve, and deploy the ESF as a piggybank to push forward their own programmes. In this regard, they strategically use different dimensions of the ESF (be they financial or conceptual). Of course, this does not apply to all actors,

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but it is nevertheless a relatively common pattern in the cases in the third property space. However, what is striking is that the usage of the ESF in these cases is often a highly individual, inner-organisational matter, rather than being evident across the entire field. This is also reflected by the fact that there is no single case among the ‘usage without change’ cases with full set membership in usage; they all show a score of 0.66. So there are two different types of usage. One is purely strategic and more short term in focus; it is driven by individual preferences resulting out of financial, political or administrative field instability. The central goal is often ‘cream skimming’: actors are interested in the money or in the ‘conceptual freedom’ the ESF promises but have their own pre-framed ideas about the objectives. The other usage type is a more widespread pattern; in the field this may also be driven by preferences resulting out of field instability, but it may also be supported by good resource command and high available funding and/or a good infrastructure. While the first pattern points to more interest-oriented preferences (‘the ESF money is really interesting, so let’s try it’), the second one builds more on competence-oriented preferences (‘we are able to use the ESF, so let’s do it’). Furthermore, the first one is more oriented towards cream skimming with regard to the different dimensions of the ESF, while the other one seems to approach the ESF in a more holistic manner, viewing it as a more thorough adaptation of the underlying policy strategies and procedural requirements (for example, the partnership principle). Although these two patterns vividly illustrate the different backgrounds to usage, this dichotomy should not be overestimated in practice. Among the cases under study, there is just one case (namely, the UK) that is not a member of both paths but only of the competence-oriented pattern (resource command in combination with esf scheme). The two usage types should hence be understood in an ideal-typical manner and do not represent the empirical reality in all its complexity. Empirical examples for these patterns across the cases were clearly observable, but very often, the patterns were also mixed. Nevertheless, the two different usage patterns also play a crucial role when it comes to change or the absence of change. To oversimplify, those cases that are characterised only by the first usage type (cream skimming) only show very little change, while almost all cases that are covered by the second, more in-depth usage type display change. As the case study insights for change revealed, this is closely related to a ‘routinisation’ and ‘normalisation’ of usage and the related actions, which then spreads to the entire field. However, the process

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of transforming usage into field change requires the stabilising hand of state actors, which legitimate and organisationally support the spread and establishment of the formerly innovative action. If state actors do not legitimise the ESF, usage seems to remain at a strategic level. The following chapter now discusses the generalisation of the findings for the three different response patterns, and suggests a typology of local Europeanisation by structural funding resulting out of the condensed findings from the QCA and case study-based reflections. Notes When dealing with 18 cases, a case study discussion still requires a great level of comprehension. There is no space to discuss each case in detail here, and this is also not the aim of this study. Hence, for reasons of comprehension, the emphasis is on qualitative differences (in kind, expressed in fuzzy sets as scores at different sides of the 0.5 line). However, quantitative differences (in degree) will, of course, be taken into account whenever interesting or required. 2 Especially when dealing with the absence of outcomes or conditions, this might lead to some expressions that are not entirely precise from a formal point of view (for example, ‘low available ESF funding’ for ~esf scheme). Readers interested in methodologically precise results can consult Chapter  6 and the technical online appendix (https://policy. bristoluniversitypress.co.uk/local-policies-and-the-european-social-fund). 3 Of course, the analyses for the absence of change also cover the cases in the ‘no usage, no change’ pattern. However, as the study is interested in the particular relationship between usage and change, the absence of change becomes especially relevant when combined with the presence of usage. 4 In order to increase comprehensibility, this and the following chapter avoids technical expressions. This is necessarily at the expenses of accuracy, and it also means simplifying to a large extent. Readers familiar with and interested in QCA are invited to consult the technical data in this chapter and the extensive further information provided in the technical online appendix (https://policy.bristoluniversitypress.co.uk/local-policies-andthe-european-social-fund) for methodologically precise facts. 5 Adding weak resource command as an INUS condition would not contradict the QCA findings since it is a subset of the original model with a consistency level of 0.85 (cf the robustness test in the technical online appendix at https://policy.bristoluniversitypress.co.uk/local-policies-andthe-european-social-fund). In Boolean notation, this would look like this: ~usage * ~esf scheme*field stability*~resource command. This solution has the advantage that it reduces the number of inconsistent cases of the solution to two (F1 and DE2). 1

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While, in a probabilistic analysis, such interdependency would point to a problem of collinearity, in set theoretic logic it is not a problem. Here, it is of crucial relevance to make sure that the two concepts are not fully overlapping and hence substitutable; this is clearly not the case for esf scheme and resource command, or their absence (cf the fuzzy set concepts and coding framework in the Appendix at the end of the book). Rather than being problematic from a methodological perspective, the interdependency of the two conditions points towards reliable and robust results, since it paints a picture of interrelated but not fully overlapping contextual aspects that work in conjunction by shaping the preferences of field actors. 7 They work in conjunction as INUS conditions. 8 Albeit with a relatively low consistency. 9 With quite high coverage and acceptable but not very high consistency. 6

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A broader perspective on local policies and the European Social Fund From the beginning, this study has been interested in pathways of usage and change via the ESF in general, and not just in the 18 cases under study. Case-oriented and deterministic studies cannot simply extrapolate their findings to a larger universe of cases. Nevertheless, a certain contingent generalisation can be achieved by detaching a case’s relevant characteristics and linking them to theoretical reflections. This implies a certain ‘elevation’ of particular case properties to higher levels of abstraction by means of sound theoretical reflection. This can be called typological theorising. In contrast to simple typologies, typological theories not only describe empirical clusters of characteristics, but also embed these characteristics in theoretical concepts. This makes it possible to formulate ‘contingent generalisations on how and under what conditions [independent variables] behave in specified conjunctions or configurations to produce effects on specified dependent variables’ (George and Bennett, 2005: 233). For the present study, this means that, in order to make the findings generalisable, to a certain extent, at least, that is, to other cases in Europe in similar contextual settings, we need to do certain things. For instance, it is necessary to formulate theoretical expectations regarding how particular (conjunctions of) conditions activate the mechanisms behind usage and change in a larger universe of cases, based both on theoretical and empirical reflections. Due to this study’s design and the nature of the data, it is well suited to such contingent generalisations. These are contingent in the sense that they (1) only hold for those cases in a larger population that show the same contextual characteristics as the ones that can be lifted to higher levels of theoretical abstraction, and (2)  are only valid until there is no contradictory empirical evidence. In order to formulate more general statements regarding types of responses to the ESF and their contextual conditions, each pattern of response is first discussed by drawing on the respective theoretical notions and the empirical findings. In a second step, the potential for generalising this study’s findings beyond the EU is discussed on the basis of a thought experiment.

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By comparing the ESF to the FOCEM (Fondo para la convergencia estructural del Mercosur), the structural fund of Mercosur, I assess whether and to what extent it would be possible to find similar contextual settings and similar types of responses in Mercosur countries. In a final step, I feed the reflections on generalisation and typological theories of local responses to the ESF into the theoretical debates discussed earlier in Chapter 3.

A typology of local responses to the ESF Refusing to accept burdensome funding Among the six cases where no usage and no change was observed, there were four over-performing cases (IT1, UK1, DE1 and SE1) as well as two average-performing cases (F2 and SE2). There was no under-performing case that can be assigned to this response pattern. In fact, the role of socioeconomic performance turned out to play a crucial role for the stability of the field and in consequence, for usage of the ESF. As case study insights showed, the local financial situation influenced the role the ESF played for local actors in highly salient ways – but only in combination with other factors. While a financially (and politically) stable field alone reduced local actors’ inclination to use the ESF, these preferences for ESF funding were decreased when the availability of such funding was limited. In addition, a limited capacity to attract co-funding acted to intensify this negative position towards usage. Local actors in the six cases of the first pattern were hence deliberate ‘refuseniks’ – they refused to use the ESF, which they viewed as burdensome, since they did not see a benefit in it, neither from a financial nor a programmatic perspective. From a theoretical perspective, this ‘refusenik pattern’ can be contingently generalised beyond the six cases. The empirical functions of the three central (INUS) conditions – namely, field stability, available ESF funding and resource command – clearly correspond to their theoretical concepts. In the context of the analytical approach towards local responses to the ESF (see Chapter  3), expectations were formulated regarding how these three conditions moderate the engagement of local fields with the ESF as an external opportunity and incentive. From a broader perspective, field stability refers to internal situations in the field (that is, stable fields are expected to be less affected by external opportunities than unstable fields), available ESF funding refers to the character of the actual incentives the ESF provides (for example, more available funding creates a greater incentive and

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higher attractiveness for local actors) and resource command refers to local actors’ abilities to deal with everything else that comes with the ESF beyond the mere money (that is, actors’ capacities such as administrative abilities to deal with the different dimensions of the ESF as an ‘integrated governance tool’). These conditions, which I identified based on theory, served as lenses to approach the empirical data. Field stability was found to be closely related to planning security for local actors. If they had no or weak planning security – for example, due to ongoing political power struggles – the ESF seemed an attractive tool to support their programmatic objectives. Actors in local entities with weaker socioeconomic performance, with an unstable political situation or an overburdened local administration, found it much more difficult to achieve their field objectives than actors in fields that provided them with sustainable and secure prospects (be they financial, political or otherwise). And indeed, this also influenced their readiness to engage with the ESF as an external event, since it shaped their preferences for keeping or changing the status quo. For the second condition, available ESF funding, the calibration process showed that it was not only the mere availability of high funding (that is, in convergence regions) or lower funding (in competitiveness and employment regions) that was of empirical relevance. There were two cases in the sample that were not entitled to convergence funding but that had administrative competences for other convergence regions; hence due to an overlapping of different structures (for example, actors working in both regions), this played a crucial role for the local entity under study. For the third condition, command of relevant resources, it was the ability to co-fund ESF projects and the administrative capacity to handle ESF bureaucracy that turned out to be as crucial in the context of usage of the ESF. Writing project applications, running projects and also monitoring and reporting projects entailed considerable bureaucratic effort, which was mentioned in all 18 cases. Similarly, the funding was also mentioned as an important aspect that was a burden, particularly for smaller actors. It can thus be stated that the three different conditions empirically worked as theoretically expected, both with regard to their role (that is, the internal situation of the field, the character of the incentive and actors’ abilities) and the direction of influence (for example, stable field – lower interest in external opportunities). For the pattern of nonusage (and non-change), the presence of a stable field, the absence of high funding and the absence of good resource command proved to be relevant conditions. The empirical analysis was not only able to show whether these conditions mattered; it also unravelled how they

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matter. By linking the findings of the formal QCA analyses (which showed that the three conditions were all three INUS conditions of one solution path for the sufficiency of non-usage) to the case study details, it was possible to discover how the three conditions worked together and created the contextual setting under which local actors refused to use the ESF: a financially (and politically) stable field reduced local actors’ preferences for using the ESF, low available ESF funding further decreased the overall attractiveness of the funds and a lack of administrative capacities or low co-funding abilities intensified this negative position towards usage. What is most relevant in this regard is local actors’ subjective interpretation of the contextual setting, as this shapes their preferences for action. As argued above, the good fit between the theoretical concepts of the conditions and their empirical – mostly bottom-up – operationalisation makes it possible to make a contingent generalisation of the contextual setting behind the non-usage pattern. Hence, from a theoretical perspective, a similar (negative) response to the ESF could be expected in other local cases in the EU with a similar contextual setting, a theoretical expectation that stands as long as no differing empirical evidence broadens our knowledge on local responses to the ESF. Consequently, a first type of local response to the ESF can be identified. Based on the general picture of refusal by local actors visà-vis the ESF, this type shall be labelled ‘refuseniks’. Before discussing whether and to what extent the findings for this type can also be generalised beyond the ESF or even beyond the EU, I present some reflections on the generalisation of the other two response patterns: usage without change and usage and change. Cream skimming – the primacy of financial and programmatic interests Five cases belong to the response pattern where usage but no change was observed: F3, F1, DE2, SE3 and UK3. Unlike in the refusenik cases, the socioeconomic performance of these cases does not initially seem to be a relevant aspect. The cases in the lower right quadrant of Figure  6.1 (in Chapter  6) include under-performing, averageperforming and over-performing cases. As already mentioned, from an analytical perspective the ‘usage but change’ pattern is of very high interest: why do we observe usage but no change? In answering this question, the empirical analyses pointed to an interesting contextual setting: they described ‘cream-skimming’ behaviour by local actors, who had their own clearly defined ideas

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about how to achieve their field objectives and were interested in strategically using the financial and programmatic dimensions of the ESF. However, their usage of the ESF did not go beyond a somewhat superficial implementation, as they did not engage with the ideas, concepts and other aspects linked to the ESF, and mostly paid lip service to aid conditionality. Together with weak public engagement to legitimise and normalise the ESF-related action, this resulted in only very partial field change. This contextual setting is based on three central conditions, namely, the absence of a stable field (as a single sufficient condition for usage), the absence of cognitive usage and the absence of state actors (these two as INUS conditions for the absence of change). Whether it is possible to make a contingent generalisation by detaching the relevant conditional characteristics of the five cases in this pattern and linking them to theoretical reflections again depends on the question of how the empirical picture and theoretical concepts speak to each other. When it comes to the role of field stability, this relates, to some extent, to what was discussed in the previous subsection on the ‘refuseniks’. Although, due to causal asymmetry, it is not possible to simply reverse the picture of field stability and its role for non-usage when it comes to field instability and usage, it is nevertheless plausible that the empirical operationalisation and its fit with the theoretical concept hold true both for field stability and instability. While in cases with field stability the actors seemingly enjoy a secure planning environment in their field, which allows them to pursue their field objectives using field-internal means, in the case of field instability, a lack of a secure planning environment and financial resources make the ESF a quite attractive tool – even when only the lower funding rates intended for competitiveness and employment regions are available. This role of an unstable field in mediating the attractiveness of the ESF for local actors applies to most cases where usage was observed – and not only to those in the ‘no usage, no change’ pattern. Yet, what distinguishes usage in the five cases in the latter pattern is that their use of the ESF is only cognitive to a very small extent. I previously illustrated what this looks like in empirical reality: actors deploy the financial and also programmatic dimension of the ESF as a welcome source, but their engagement does not go any further. After projects end, standard measures continue as they always did. As argued earlier, this superficial way of engaging with the ESF reduces the intensity of contact with different dimensions of the ESF, which, in turn, prevents a more fundamental ‘normalisation’ and transformation of the innovative action into field routines.

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Yet, this interrupted normalisation and transformation process does not work as a condition for non-change on its own; it does so in conjunction with the absence of state actors’ interventions. I have argued earlier that when a destabilised field is in turmoil, public interventions can ‘normalise’ the innovative action by imposing new hierarchical rules or encouraging particular behaviour, certifying norms or providing particular resources. Indeed, I observed this quite frequently and explicitly in other cases. For instance, public authorities provided financial support during the application processes, opened EU offices to provide guidance or included ESF funding in ministerial portfolios. As discussed below, this played a crucial role for change. However, the absence of interventions by state actors was also decisive for the absence of change, namely, as an INUS condition in conjunction with low cognitive usage. Here, the absence of public interventions worked to bring about low cognitive usage in the sense that a normalisation of the ESF-related action was prevented. The empirical functions of the three central conditions for the ‘no usage, no change’ pattern again correspond well with the theoretical concepts, and it seems plausible to make a contingent generalisation – not only for the role of the individual conditions, but also for the more general picture of the cream-skimming behaviour of local actors against a particular contextual backdrop. This setting is not one that local actors perceive as sufficiently stable, which in turn increases their desire for external support. This makes the ESF a welcome tool. In addition, the local actors have clear and pre-determined ideas on how to implement their field objectives; their usage of the ESF is mostly driven by an interest in either the ESF money or the conceptual freedom the ESF promises them in contrast to sometimes rigid domestic standards, or in both. In combination with the absence of public efforts to normalise the ESF within the local fields, this low cognitive usage probably reduces the transformation of usage into field change. Based on the reflections on generalisation, a second type of local responses to the ESF can thus be derived: the ‘cream skimmers’. Whether it is plausible to make a contingent generalisation of this type beyond the ESF and the EU is discussed after some reflections on the final pattern, where both usage and change were observed. Transforming usage into change In seven cases in the sample, both usage and change were observed: IT2, UK2, DE3, PL1, PL2, PL3 and IT3. As the empirical analysis showed, this pattern was characterised by a particular form of usage:

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local actors perceived the high available funding as a strong incentive, particularly given that they perceived their own resource command as good. They felt competent when dealing with the complex administration of the ESF and with the co-funding, and making use of the ESF was a ‘natural thing’ for many actors, not only for some entrepreneurs. The empirical data indicates that such a ‘fish in the water’ usage of the ESF was transformed into field change with the support of public authorities, which, for instance, provided financial support during the application processes or opened EU offices to offer guidance. Then, practices that had once been new became part of field routines and spread over to other field dimensions beyond the ESF (for example, the establishment of new networks or the incorporation of certain ‘projectification’ practices). In order to assess the potential for contingent generalisation of this ‘usage and change’ pattern, it is important to discuss the fit between the theoretical concepts regarding the relevant conditions and their empirical operationalisation, as this determines whether the relevant characteristics can be detached from the individual cases. The relevant conditions are the available ESF funding and resource command (as INUS conditions for the relevant usage path), and state actors and the absence of social skill (as INUS conditions for change1). Both the available funding and resource command have already been discussed in the context of the refuseniks and cream-skimmer patterns, and the reflections pointed to a good fit between the theoretical concepts and the empirical operationalisation. For the ‘usage and change’ pattern, their interaction matters. As mentioned earlier, I identified two different forms of usage of the ESF in the empirical data: one that is related to the absence of a stable field and that was discussed in the context of the ‘cream skimmers’ (that is, the interest-oriented usage), and one that was related to a combination of high available funding and good resource command. The latter one was described as competenceoriented usage, given that it was based on a contextual setting where local actors feel that ‘the money is there’ and the burden of accessing it is not too high – because they command the relevant resources. The findings furthermore stress the role of subjective perceptions of resource command and also the interaction of these perceptions with preferences. Whether actors do command the relevant resources or not is not an objectively measurable factor that determines whether they are capable of acting in a particular way. Rather, their subjective assessments of their own capacities in combination with the ‘degree of incentive’ shape their preferences for action and their decisions to adapt to the ESF as an external event.

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While the good empirical and theoretical fit of the individual conditions also makes a contingent generalisation of the interaction of the two plausible, the picture for the conditions for change is different. Here, I could not fully unpick the interaction of the two conditions, namely, state actors’ interventions and the absence of social skill, based on the empirical data. Still, the empirical operationalisation of state actors’ interventions revealed a good fit with the theoretical concept (see ‘Cream skimming – the primacy of financial and programmatic interests’ above), and appeared to be a necessary condition for change, with remarkably high coverage. In light of the reflections regarding the ‘normalising’ and ‘legitimising’ role of public engagement, generalisation is thus indeed plausible for this condition. The usage I previously mentioned is thus well embedded in a supportive environment, which clearly helps to transform the ESF-related action into routinised and stable elements of the field. This means ESFinduced field change. Turning to the role of social skill as an INUS condition for change, I did not find a contingent generalisation, first, due to a certain misfit of the theoretical concepts and the empirical operationalisation, and second, because the actual role of social skill is still unclear. As mentioned earlier, the social skill of field actors who are able to interpret field rules and mobilise resources in a particular way in order to pursue their interests and the interests of the field was regarded as crucial for the transformation of innovative action into field change in the theoretical concept. In the empirical operationalisation, the focus was on individual institutional entrepreneurs and their particular interests when using the ESF. Due to limitations in the dataset, I could not distil in-depth insights regarding the actual role of individual actors’ social skills and how this relates to the transformation of usage into change. Consequently, the empirical role of the INUS condition of social skill is still unclear, and generalisation is hence only possible to a limited extent when it comes to the role of this condition. It can thus be stated that the ‘usage and change’ pattern can only be partly generalised. A good general picture of usage emerges in these ‘transformer cases’. More specifically, this means that actors’ preferences for usages and their adaptation are shaped by strong incentives and their subjective perception of good resource command. Here, the slogan is ‘we can use the ESF, so let’s do it’. By contrast, the picture of the related change process is highly interesting but only partially satisfying. While it is clear that public engagement is a necessary condition for achieving the transformation from usage into change, there are still some missing pieces of the puzzle. Future research will be necessary

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to fully understand the picture of transformation, particularly with regard to the role of individual actors and their social skill. However, even given this limited validity with regard to the role of social skill, I can still identify a third type of local response to the ESF due to the partially possible generalisation, which I shall call the ‘transformers’. Figure 8.1 summarises the three theoretical types of local responses and highlights their key characteristics. The empirical results of this study were able to provide highly interesting insights into different patterns of responses to the ESF and their contextual conditions. The analyses showed which contextual conditions activated the causal mechanisms of adaptation and transformation, and thus explained the three response patterns of nonusage, usage without change and – with some constraints regarding sufficiency – usage and change. The vast majority of the findings can be contingently generalised to other European local entities with similar contextual conditions, and hence we can identify three different theoretical types of local responses to the ESF: ‘refuseniks’, ‘cream skimmers’ and ‘transformers’. In the following, I discuss to what extent these findings could also be generalised beyond the EU. In the form of Figure 8.1: A typology of responses to the ESF 1

Transformers

CHANGE

• Transformation of comprehensive usage into change: – Local actors have a positive perception of their own resource command – In combination with strong financial incentives and a supportive environment, this clearly shapes their preferences for a sustainable and comprehensive adaptation of the ESF – Public engagement helps to legitimise and normalise usage – Role of social skill not fully explored

Refuseniks

Cream skimmers

• Local actors strategically decide to refuse the ESF against the backdrop of a combination of conditions: – Subjectively perceived stability of the field (planning security) decreases attractiveness of the ESF – Low available funding decreases the attractiveness of the ESF – Bureaucracy and co-funding are perceived as a heavy burden that outweighs the potential incentives

• A lack of cognitive usage of the ESF and of public engagement prevents transformation of usage into change: – Local actors strategically use the financial and programmatic dimension of the ESF – They have their own clear pre-defined ideas – State actors’ interventions to legitimise and ‘normalise’ the ESF behaviour is very weak

0 0

1

USAGE

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a thought experiment, I now compare the ESF to the FOCEM, the structural fund of Mercosur. By identifying similarities and differences between the two funds, and by discussing whether the three different types of local responses would work in a similar manner in a different setting, the next section illustrates the particular power of the ESF as an integrated governance tool.

Generalisation beyond the EU? Despite being obviously the most intertwined and complex system of regional cooperation (and much more), the EU is not the only regional organisation with targeted funding schemes for economic and social cohesion (for an overview, see Bruszt and Palestini, 2016).2 The IAI (Initiative for ASEAN Integration) and FOCEM in particular stand out as regional policies that seek to ‘close the development gaps’ between different countries and subnational entities in the cooperating regions.3 If we wish to select another cohesion fund as a point of comparison with the ESF, the FOCEM is the most suitable one, as it also works as a project-based funding scheme that finances infrastructural, capacity-building or economically integrative projects in disadvantaged parts of the organisation’s territory in order to achieve greater economic cohesion within Mercosur. It is furthermore also financed out of contributions from the member states based on their relative economic position, which makes it a redistributive tool (resources are redistributed from richer to poorer parts of the region). Mercosur was created in 1991 by the Asunción Treaty. The founding members were Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. Venezuela joined the bloc in 2012, but was suspended in 2017 for violating its democratic principles. Bolivia is in the process of accession, and Chile, Columbia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru and Surinam are associate members. The bloc has established a common market with free trade, a common trade policy, a coordination system for macro-economic and sectoral policies, and a customs union (since 1995). Besides redistributional funding through the FOCEM, Mercosur has also engaged in other fields of regional social policy, such as citizenship, human rights and labour law (Deacon et al, 2007: 16–17). However, it lacks legal mechanisms for their enforcement and for assuring effective access to these rights (Bianculli and Hoffmann, 2016: 306). The FOCEM began operating in 2006. It works as a projectbased financing tool for measures in the member states that seek to decrease regional asymmetries or increase the integration process. Between 2005 and 2012, its budget was US$100 million, and with the

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accession of Venezuela as a full member in 2012, it was expanded to US$127 million by 2015. The member states contribute to this budget based on their economic power (calculated on GDP).4 All member states are eligible for project funding, but its distribution is also based on socioeconomic criteria; the funding should ‘benefit the smallest and least developed economies’ (Unidád Técnica FOCEM, 2015: 5; author’s translation).5 Projects are supposed to be at least 15 per cent co-funded by the member states and can be presented at any time of the year to the CRPM (Comisión de representantes permanentes del Mercosur [Commission of the Permanent Representatives of Mercosur]). The beneficiaries of FOCEM project funding are usually public authorities at the national level. In some cases, tasks can be delegated to lower level public authorities, or private or third sector organisations, but the public sector has overall responsibility (Secretaría del Mercosur 2010: 19). Assessing how widely the findings of the study can be applied by comparing structural funding in the EU and Mercosur means, on the one hand, discussing the comparability of the ESF and FOCEM with regard to their institutional and programmatic nature, but it also means evaluating to what extent the patterns of local responses to the ESF also hold true for the FOCEM. Without empirical research, it is, of course, impossible to analyse the actual local conditions under which FOCEM implementation took place. Nevertheless, the aim is not to study FOCEM’s empirical reality, but to understand, on the basis of thought experiments and theoretical reflections, to what extent it is plausible that the same conditions may also apply to the FOCEM. Hence, I first discuss the similarities and differences between the ESF and FOCEM from an institutional perspective, and second, I theoretically assess the plausibility of a transferability of the role of the local conditions influencing the patterns of local responses to the ESF. ESF and FOCEM: similarities and differences In Chapter  2, it was argued that the ESF is a complex integrated governance tool combining redistributive and incentivising aspects (cf  Table  2.1). It started as a financial instrument in 1957 with limited redistributive power, became more redistributive when the allocation mechanisms focused more on subnational regions rather than on member states, and it then experienced a gradual increase in conditionality, with programmatic objectives and procedural requirements closely tied to the funding and incentivising the implementation of particular aspects of EU policies. With regard

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to the operational procedures, the ESF includes a direct interaction between the local level and the European Commission. It has been argued previously that this was established as a ‘bypass strategy’ due to struggles between intergovernmental and supranational approaches in the EU. Because member states opposed ‘hard’ EU interventions in the field of social and employment policies, a coupling of soft governance tools and financial incentives emerged, and a direct link between the European and local level was established. The ESF is, in a sense, the ‘social branch’ of the EU structural funding. It is explicitly targeted at social cohesion and bridging EU economic and social policies, mainly through activating labour market policy interventions. As described earlier, the EU has a relatively clearly developed policy strategy in this regard. The ESF’s aid conditionality regarding programmatic and procedural requirements has reinforced the implementation of these policies by providing strong financial incentives for local level actors. In fact, the ESF has become a crucial and very present financing tool for subnational social and employment policies. As has been shown earlier, for some local entities in Europe, it constitutes the most relevant financial source for interventions in the field of activation policies. The beneficiaries of EU funding include a broad range of actors. These are often social actors from the third sector (welfare associations), public authorities, but also private training providers. As the study showed, the procedural and programmatic requirements of the ESF play a crucial, albeit varying, role for beneficiaries when implementing ESF projects. Both with regard to the direct link between the supranational and local level and with regard to the role of aid conditionality, the situation in Mercosur is very different. In the case of the FOCEM, there is no direct interaction between Mercosur bodies and the local level. The FOCEM is implemented mainly at the national level, and there are national technical units embedded in member states’ national administrations (FOCEM, 2018). FOCEM beneficiaries are mostly national public authorities, which might delegate tasks to lower level actors. The strong role of national institutions is, of course, not surprising given the intergovernmental nature of Mercosur, but – as discussed later – it is a crucial aspect when it comes to the transferability of the study’s findings. Furthermore, FOCEM’s redistributive dimension is relatively limited from a subnational perspective. This redistributive element is present as the contributions and allocations are based on economic situations, so that a transfer from richer to poorer countries takes place. However, there are no specific subnational allocation principles, because the funding quotas refer

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to countries, just as was the case in the earlier days of EU structural funding. Hence, in the FOCEM, there is no link between the local level and a supranational level, which presumably limits FOCEM’s potential to act as a governance tool with a steering capacity beyond a redistributive economic cohesion approach. So even if the ESF and FOCEM have a lot in common – both are project-based redistributive cohesion funds in regional organisations – they differ with regard to crucial aspects: while the ESF establishes a direct link between the supranational and the local level, this is not the case for the FOCEM. Furthermore, the FOCEM is first and foremost a redistributive tool seeking to improve economic and also, to some extent, social cohesion in the Mercosur region, while the ESF is, nowadays, a financing tool for EU policies that utilises incentive structures and aids conditionality. Now, considering these two fundamental differences (and other potential differences) in the nature of the two funding schemes, the question is what role they play when it comes to local implementation. In order to address this, I now briefly reflect on the three types of local responses to the ESF in light of FOCEM’s institutional structure and its implementation conditions, provided the relevant information is available. Assessing the transferability of the typology The first type, the ‘refuseniks’, is characterised by a strategic and conscious decision not to use the ESF because, for local actors, the ESF is not an attractive financing opportunity due to a combination of three aspects: they perceive their local field as a stable and good setting for achieving their objectives, they feel that the bureaucracy and the co-funding linked to the ESF are a heavy burden, and in any case, the region is entitled to less ESF funding than other regions. When it comes to the question of a theoretical transferability of this pattern to the FOCEM, it initially seems that the conditions are very different in Mercosur; hence, transferability is not plausible. First and foremost, as mentioned previously, the local level has little or no relevance within the FOCEM, as this programme is mainly implemented at the national level and by national public authorities. Local actors are not in a position to choose between using and not using the FOCEM. However, stepping back a bit from the local level, the core message of the refusenik type can be understood in terms of whether external money is an incentive or not; it is less the actual nature of this money (that is, the aid conditionality or the mere amount of money available) but the subjective perceptions of the potential beneficiaries that

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matters. For local ESF beneficiaries, the EU funds are of little interest when the actors feel well positioned in their stable domestic field, and the external funding would bring more burdens than benefits. The relevance of potential beneficiaries’ subjective perceptions might also hold true for the national actors in the case of the FOCEM. As the national conditions with regard to political stability, domestic funding and domestic policy schemes vary across the member states (and also over time, as the circumstances might change), the subjective perceptions of national actors in Mercosur with regard to the stability of the setting in which they seek to implement their policies might also vary substantially. While for some, it could be an attractive opportunity, for others, it might not seem worthwhile. Here, the role of available funding also comes in as a plausibly relevant condition. In Paraguay, which is entitled to the vast majority of the funding, receiving FOCEM funding seems to be a much more realistic opportunity than in other Mercosur countries. For instance, despite the small size of the country, a Google News search on ‘FOCEM Paraguay’ generates 1,380 results while for the other countries the results are much lower (Uruguay: 887, Chile: 528, Argentina: 1,020; searched 15 October 2018). This is, of course, a very tentative impression, which would need to be backed up by further research in order to go beyond just initially assessing the plausibility of theoretical arguments. But for now it might be assumed that the marginal role of the funds in some countries contributes to their generally perceived unattractiveness. When it comes to the role of weak resource command, which was also a crucial aspect of the decision not to use the ESF in ‘refusenik’ cases in the EU, the transferability is probably lower. As the FOCEM is deeply embedded in national administrations and does not entail specific application, implementation or evaluation procedures, it can be assumed that bureaucracy does not play a crucial role in Mercosur. As described in the previous section, the FOCEM administrations in the four countries are all embedded in the national public investment administrations; this is where other funding schemes are also administered. Taking a closer look at the funding landscapes, it is clear that the FOCEM is only one out of many external financial resources.6 Of course, the role of the FOCEM among these sources and its embeddedness in the national funding landscapes would also need further research, but it nevertheless points to the fact that external – non-national – project funding is much more established in Mercosur than in the EU. FOCEM’s bureaucratic procedures are embedded in the broader context of this project funding, and it can be assumed that potential

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beneficiaries are less concerned about administrative burdens in the FOCEM funding world than they are in the EU. Nevertheless, subjective assessments of resource command – that is, the perceptions of the potential users of the fund regarding whether the resources they need to use for the funding are a burden or not – should not completely be ruled out, as I do not have information regarding a crucial aspect of this condition: the domestic co-funding. To determine what role co-funding plays in the context of the FOCEM, we would need empirical studies. It can thus be stated that the potential transferability of the ‘refusenik type’ is, while not perfect, still relatively high given the different implementation circumstances in the ESF and FOCEM. In particular the strategic weighing of whether the funding is an attractive opportunity or not is also plausible for the FOCEM, where the stability of the settings in which potential beneficiaries operate and the available amount of money might play a role. When it comes to the second type of response to the ESF, the ‘cream skimmers’, the transferability is twofold. The main message from the cream skimmers is that in some cases, individual actors show a strong interest in the ESF, as it means additional funding or a certain ‘conceptual freedom’ for their own ideas, which they could not realise within domestic schemes. The usage of the funding here was strategic, and the beneficiaries did not engage with the policies and objectives behind the funding. As one of the main differences between the FOCEM and ESF is that the FOCEM is not linked to particular policies or specific objectives, it would not be possible to distinguish between beneficiaries who engage with the objectives and those who do not. Although, of course, cognitive usage might also be conceivable in the case of the FOCEM, for instance, with regard to broader policy strategies transmitted in the script of the fund (such as economic cohesion or regional integration), the empirical usage of the FOCEM is probably usually related to pre-defined ideas and a strategic interest in additional money. While actual cream skimming might thus be a pattern that is unique to the ESF, since it is linked to the ESF’s nature as an integrated governance tool combining financial incentives with soft law, which hence makes it possible to ‘skim the cream’ by only taking the money but not the ideas behind it, the mere strategic usage without further engagement with the funding scheme is most probably also present in the FOCEM. For the third pattern, the ‘transformers’, local actors perceived their own resource command as quite good and benefited from a large amount of available money and a supportive environment. They frequently used the ESF in all its dimensions, including the policy

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objectives and procedural requirements. Public activities, mostly in the form of infrastructure for information and administrative support, furthermore helped to normalise and legitimise the usage of the ESF, which prompted a transformation of this comprehensive usage into change. However, as outlined for the cream skimmers, unlike the ESF, the FOCEM is not tied to specific requirements, policy ideas, objectives or strategies, which means that ‘comprehensive usage’ of the kind exhibited by the transformers is very unlikely. It would likely be hard to find beneficiaries who state that they were inspired by the fund’s innovative ideas and hence included them in their local policy strategy – however, here again, empirical research is, of course, necessary. Like cognitive usage, which will probably not play a relevant role in the FOCEM, resource command is also not very likely to be transferred, as outlined for the refuseniks. However, one factor that might be relevant for the FOCEM is the role of state actors’ interventions. In the transformer cases, public support clearly helped to make usage of the ESF a normal and standard part of the local fields. This is also plausible in the setting of the FOCEM: having a public infrastructure that promotes funds, makes it present, supports applications, embeds it in the funding landscapes – as it is already done – or otherwise normalises its usage can strongly contribute to a deeper embeddedness of the FOCEM in the national and local fields. The transferability of the transformer pattern is hence relatively weak, but not entirely implausible. Nevertheless, as the FOCEM differs substantially from the ESF, even where usage was transformed into change, we would still have to ask to what extent this change would look similar to the change observed in the EU. To sum up, it can thus be stated that, despite a number of similarities between the ESF and FOCEM at a more general level, the findings for the ESF might only be applicable beyond the EU to a limited extent, namely, when it comes to the role of strategic decisions for and against usage. A comprehensive usage of all dimensions of the funding tool and the transformation of usage into change seem to be more specific to the European context. This is related to the fact that these aspects are closely linked to a characteristic of the ESF that has been described above as a very crucial one: its character as an integrated governance tool, combining different types of governance instruments with the aim of locally implementing supranational policies. As the FOCEM lacks both a supranational nature and the related governance intentions, this limited transferability comes as no surprise. To be sure, the tentative assumptions on the transferability and role of the different conditions in the Mercosur context should be

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tested empirically in order to go beyond mere ‘thought experiments’ and to understand what the implementation of the FOCEM really looks like. However, even if the empirical reality differs from the theoretical assumptions, this exercise of stepping back from the EU and European practices of implementing cohesion policies and adopting a comparative regionalist perspective nevertheless not only put the ESF in the broader context of cohesion funding worldwide; it also highlighted what is probably one of the most relevant findings of this study: by linking financial incentives, policy objectives and procedural requirements, the ESF has become a crucial EU governance tool that closely links the supranational and the local level and, under certain circumstances, leads to a change in local labour market policies – something that would not have happened without the fund’s complex governance structure. However, at the same time, ESF-induced local change does not mean that EU policies are implemented in a straightforward manner and that local change means agreement with the steering intention behind the funding. Rather, local wilfulness and obstinacy shape the transformation of usage of the ESF into changes in local labour market policies. These findings are now discussed in light of theory. This involves feeding back the empirical results, the three theoretical types of local responses and reflections on generalisation into the theoretical approaches discussed in Chapter 3.

Implications for theory In the previous subsections, the findings of this study have been discussed in light of their potential for generalisation and with the aim of formulating theoretical types at a higher level of abstraction. As the reflections indicate, the findings can be widely generalised to other local cases in Europe, but only to a limited extent beyond Europe. This points to two crucial aspects of this study’s research object: (1) the unique nature of the ESF as a powerful integrated governance tool, and (2) the relevance of local contextual settings for shaping how this governance tool works in practice. The first aspect deals with the nature of the ‘gilded horse’ of structural funding, and the latter with the domestic responses to this opportunity. Both hold crucial implications for the theoretical debates discussed in Chapter 3. For the first aspect, the particular nature of the ESF as an integrated governance tool, the reflections on the generalisation potential beyond Europe illustrated the several unique characteristics the ESF shows today: it is not a mere financial incentive, but ties money

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to specific and straightforward procedural and programmatic aid conditionalities. Furthermore, it is, nowadays, financially large enough to be highly attractive to local actors under certain conditions, and it has established a direct interaction between the local and the European level, which somehow works as a ‘bypass’ and leaves aside the ‘grand politics’ at the national level. For Europeanisation research, the complex governance architecture of the ESF is a challenge as, from an analytical perspective, it is not easy to envisage what the beast coming from the EU looks like and to imagine how it seeks to get influence at the domestic level. However, by conceptualising it as an integrated governance tool and focusing on the interaction of the different dimensions of the fund, the nature of the beast becomes clearer. This makes its engagement with the domestic level easier to analyse. In other words, the ‘adaptational incentive’7 of the ESF is much easier to understand if the complex bundle of incentives, soft pressures and procedures is conceptualised as an integrated package rather than as separate European resources. For the second aspect, the local contextual settings that shape how the local level responds to the ESF, the implications of this study’s findings for the Europeanisation debate are even larger. Here, the theoretical exercise of merging the Europeanisation perspective with the field approach was most fruitful. As the empirical findings show, the theoretical claim – made on the basis of the field perspective – that usage and change are two interlinked but fundamentally different responses to European resources – proved to be true. By adopting the perspective of (local) arenas as fields with their own distinct logic and their own individual institutional settings, the two responses to the European resource became comprehensible from a bottomup perspective: while usage is concerned with engagement with a European resource, change is about ‘digesting’ this resource internally. This difference between usage and change has been substantively overlooked in Europeanisation research to date, a negligence that might not only cause methodological problems, but also risk masking relevant empirical processes. The study’s empirical findings furthermore showed that different contextual conditions shaped the engagement of the (local) fields with the European resource. This went from no engagement (‘refuseniks’) to strategic and interest-driven engagement that paid lip service (‘cream skimmers’) to a more in-depth, holistic and cognitively involved engagement (‘transformers’). The fact that different contextual conditions shape these different responses to and engagements with the ESF is highly interesting in light of the ‘goodness of fit’ debate

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and other approaches in the Europeanisation literature that argue that domestic factors are crucial in determining the domestic impact of a European resource (cf the debate on ‘mediating institutions’ in Chapter 3). In fact, the empirical findings of this study fully support the argument that the domestic factors (that is, the contextual conditions) are decisive in shaping the responses to European resources – but they do so in a relational and relative manner, and not in an objective and absolute one. It was the subjective perception of the contextual conditions by local actors that shaped usage of and change by the ESF: how did they perceive the incentive (the available ESF funding) and the costs of engaging with the fund (resource command), and how did they interpret the existing local institutions (field stability)? These and other questions were vital for assessing local responses to the ESF. ‘Hard’ and objective criteria for measuring how different factors mediate Europeanisation processes are, as this study suggests, difficult to find, as domestic contextual conditions will always follow the internal logics of the domestic fields. Furthermore, the study showed that single conditions work in conjunction with others: they can provide support or act as an impediment. Hence, only a relative approach to the subjective perceptions of domestic conditions by those actors who are involved in the Europeanisation processes is appropriate. Here, the field perspective has a lot to offer for Europeanisation research, as the present study indicates. Discussing further advantages of merging the two theoretical perspectives – the field approach and the Europeanisation debate – would go beyond the scope of this book, but as a final and crucial benefit, the potential to leave behind methodological nationalism (which is still strongly present in Europeanisation and welfare state research) should be mentioned. Adopting a field perspective and focusing on the field as an entity in itself makes it possible to place a straightforward empirical and methodological emphasis on the unit of interest (here, the local level), while leaving the national level as a background variable. This does not mean that the relevant aspects of national systems are disregarded – in the present study, the national activation policies were taken into account whenever relevant – but it means assessing their role in light of their empirical relevance for the objects under study rather than taking a default nation state-dominated perspective as the point of departure. Local or other subnational (as well as transnational) entities can then be studied from a truly multilevel perspective – a format that is particularly suitable for assessing what is going on in the field of welfare policies in a European context.

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Notes In conjunction with usage, which is a necessary condition for change. In the context of regional integration debates, the term ‘regional’ is used for world regions (for example, Latin America and Southeast Asia). Following the literature but in contrast to previous chapters, ‘regions’ is also used for world regions and not for subnational territories. ‘Regional integration’, ‘regionalism’ and so on hence refer to processes at the level of world regions. 3 Both were considerably influenced by the EU cohesion policy; hence, this is a prime example for diffusion (de Andrade Correa, 2010; Jetschke and Murray, 2012; Bruszt and Palestini, 2016: 383). 4 Brazil contr ibuted US$70  million (55.12  per cent), Argentina US$27 million (21.6 per cent), Uruguay US$2 million (1.57 per cent), Paraguay US$1  million (0.79  per cent) and Venezuela US$27  million (27 per cent; see Unidád Técnica FOCEM, 2015: 4). 5 Between 2005 and 2015, Brazil was eligible for funding of 9.09 per cent of the total budget, Venezuela for 9.06 per cent, Uruguay for 29.1 per cent and Paraguay for 55.44 per cent (Unidád Técnica FOCEM, 2015: 5). 6 The Banco de Proyectos (project bank) of the National System of Public Investments (SNIP) in Paraguay, for instance, lists 37 different funding sources (SNIP, 2018), among them the Banco Interamericano de Desarollo (BID, Inter-American Development Bank), Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW, German public development bank) or the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). 7 In an analogy to the adaptational pressure in the ‘goodness of fit’ approach. 1 2

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Conclusion Much has been going on in European welfare states in the last few decades, and much has been written on transformation processes and changing landscapes (see, for example, Gilbert, 2004; Taylor-Gooby, 2005; Seeleib-Kaiser, 2008; Palier, 2010; Hemerijck, 2013). Opinions differ on the role of European unification in this regard, but although the EU has no legislative competences in welfare and social policy, we cannot ignore the fact that we find increasing convergence across European welfare schemes, and that no domestic welfare scheme has been completely unaffected by processes at the European level. Despite still powerful and sometimes fiercely defended national social security schemes, Europeanisation has also reached the welfare sector (see, for example, Heidenreich and Zeitlin, 2009; Graziano et al, 2011). What have so far attracted less attention in this context are the more small-scaled processes taking place at lower levels and apart from the ‘grand politics’ at the EU level. What about the everyday implementation processes and the actors who put the programmes into place in their daily routines? What role does the EU play here? This study set out to take a closer look at the implementation stages of labour market policies at the local level, and investigated the role of the ESF in this regard. The driving question was what the ESF ‘does’ to local labour market policies in a context where the local level is increasingly relevant in domestic welfare policies, and EU policies are more relevant at the implementation stage. The empirical findings show that there is not one single story of Europeanisation via the ESF, but that there are different patterns of local responses to the ‘Trojan Horse’ (Hübner, 2008; see Chapter 1, this book). This Conclusion now outlines the main argument and the research design once again, and then summarises the main findings. Furthermore, it reflects on the contributions and limitations of the study, and in a final step, embeds the results in a broader picture of European integration.

Main argument and summary of the findings In the context of an ‘activation turn’ in many European welfare states, the local level has gained increasing relevance in recent decades. While labour market policies were traditionally governed at the national level,

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social services were mostly a subnational competence. Activation policies sought to combine the two and put a greater emphasis on local responsibilities. At the same time, a general trend towards fiscal and administrative decentralisation fostered the relevance of the local level. In this period, too, the ESF went from an unconditional, simple financing instrument to a complex governance tool meant to back up European social and employment policies in close combination with procedural tools such as reporting or benchmarking. A greater coordination of domestic policies in social and employment policies, which were areas where the EU had no regulatory competences, was meant to be achieved via ‘bypass strategies’ (Obinger et al, 2005), which directly focused on the subnational implementation systems of the member states. Against the backdrop of these scenarios, this study was interested in the actual role of the ESF in local labour market policies. It sought to discover how local policy fields respond to the ESF, what shapes their responses and what the effects of these responses are in terms of change in local policy fields. By drawing on the Europeanisation literature and on a definition of Europeanisation as EU-induced change, the aim was to study both the process of ESF-induced change and its outcome from a bottom-up perspective. By combining the Europeanisation debate and the field analytical approach by Fligstein and McAdam (2012), the study derived hypotheses regarding the contextual conditions under which both usage and change might happen empirically. In order to test these hypotheses and answer the research question, a fuzzy set QCA was applied. The empirical study covered 18 local entities in six different European countries (France, Italy, Germany, Poland, Sweden and the UK, three cases per country). By drawing on rich and very comprehensive in-depth case study material collected as part of a larger research project, the study analysed the usage of the ESF in these cases, field change in different dimensions and potentially relevant conditions. The empirical results showed that different local patterns of responses to the ESF existed among the 18 cases: there was no or low usage and no or low change, usage without (or with only little) change, and the existence of both usage and change. The QCA in combination with a case study-inspired qualitative discussion revealed that these different patterns of usage and change were linked to different conditional settings:1 The ‘refuseniks’: Among the cases where neither considerable usage nor change was found, there were no cases with a socioeconomic situation below the average of the country in question. All cases enjoyed

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relatively good or very good labour market and economic conditions. In fact, this played a decisive role for the non-usage of the ESF (and, since usage was found to be a necessary condition for change, also for non-change). Together with other factors (particularly the political situation), the socioeconomic situation influenced whether local actors found their local fields to be stable and whether they thought it provided them with planning security. A sustainable and stable situation in which they could achieve their objectives without much difficulty using domestic funding structures and measures significantly shaped their perception of the ESF: they did not judge it as very attractive. This is, not surprisingly, strengthened by low available funding. If the region is only eligible for low ESF funding, and hence application processes are more competitive and higher co-funding has to be provided, this further decreased the attractiveness of the ESF for local actors. In situations where the ESF is not perceived as very attractive, bureaucracy is seen as a barrier and a heavy burden that clearly outweighs potential incentives. So it can be stated that in those cases with a combination of a stable field, low funding and a weak command of relevant resources, in the sense that local actors feel that ESF bureaucracy and co-funding are heavy burdens for them, usage is not attractive, and local actors deliberately refuse to use the ESF. This is why the cases in this response pattern have been labelled ‘refuseniks’. The ‘cream skimmers’: in five cases in the sample, usage without considerable change was observed. In contrast to the refuseniks, local actors in these cases mostly felt that their field was at least partially unstable due to weaker socioeconomic conditions or political instability. This decreased the planning security for the actors to some extent, which, in turn, made the ESF a welcome tool to support them in achieving their objectives. The usage of the ESF in these cases was mostly driven by a strong interest (often by individual actors) in the additional money and/or the ‘ideas’ behind the funding. Several actors perceived domestic instruments and frameworks as rigid and inflexible, and the ESF promised a certain ‘conceptual freedom’ to push forward their own ideas of good services for long-term unemployed people and other disadvantaged groups. These ideas were mostly quite strong and pre-determined, and the actors sought ESF funding to help to implement them, a fact that often led to a merely strategic usage of it rather than a more holistic one. In the empirical data, this was reflected in the remarkable absence of cognitive usage. In addition, in these five cases, the engagement of public authorities in the regulation of the field regarding the ESF was noticeably lower than in other cases.

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For instance, public authorities rarely supported applications for ESF funding financially or with infrastructure. Consequently, usage of the ESF was not very publically legitimised or ‘normalised’. Such weak intervention by state actors and low cognitive usage of the ESF clearly seemed to complement each other. A somewhat superficial and pre-determined way of using the ESF reduced the intensity of contact between actors and the different dimensions of the ESF, which, in turn, prevented a transformation of usage into field routines and thus hindered field change. This fact was enhanced by the absence of legitimising and normalising public interventions. The conditional picture in the five cases that showed usage but only limited change reflected cream-skimming behaviour by local actors, who had their own clearly defined ideas as to how to achieve the field objectives and were particularly interested in strategically using the financial and programmatic dimensions of the ESF. However, their usage did not go beyond a superficial implementation. Together with weak public engagement to legitimise and normalise the ESF-related action, this resulted in only very partial field change. Based on the strategic usage pattern, the cases in this response pattern were called ‘cream skimmers’. The ‘transformers’: There were seven cases in the third pattern, where both usage and change were observed. Most interestingly, from a general perspective, usage in these cases differed from usage in the cream-skimmer cases. While the cream skimmers often had their own pre-defined ideas and aimed at using the ESF to ‘get them through’, usage in the third pattern often looked different. Here, field actors not only enjoyed high available ESF funding, but also benefited from a stable situation where usage of the ESF did not require too much individual effort or motivation, and where, due to a good available infrastructure, the benefits of usage outweighed the costs. This usage was then transformed into field routines clearly supported by the stabilising hand of the state. Usage was ‘normalised’ and became a routine habit in the field – it was transformed into field change – which is why the cases in this pattern were labelled ‘transformers’. While there are some empirical hints on how this transformation actually happens, other facets have not yet been fully explored. It seems to be obvious that a comprehensive and in-depth engagement with the ESF plays a role for the transformation process. Building habits, ‘getting used’ to things, adopting them in everyday practices and incorporating practices – all of this is of relevance for the ‘normalising’ process that transforms the previously ‘new’ usage into a standard in

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the field and changes different dimensions of the field. Good examples here include situations in which actors build up cooperation networks with other actors in the field via ESF projects, which, in the future, provide the basis for stable cooperation beyond such single projects or for the incorporation of ‘projectification’ practices (for example, particular forms of monitoring or budget planning) in non-ESF-related parts of the work in an organisation. However, I could not study the details of these processes on the basis of the empirical data, and further research is clearly required in the context of transformation processes. These three conditional patterns – refuseniks, cream skimmers and transformers – represent three different types of responses to the ESF. They not only show different empirical instances of how local fields respond to the ESF, but also provide insights on the contextual conditions that enable these occurrences. These findings can be contingently generalised to a larger population of cases and can thus probably be extrapolated beyond the 18 cases under study. However, their transferability to other parts of the world is probably limited. Although the FOCEM, the cohesion fund of Mercosur, shows a number of similarities to the ESF, it lacks one crucial aspect that European cohesion funding uniquely possesses: the link between financial incentives, policy objectives and procedural requirements, which makes the ESF a crucial governance tool of the EU.2 ESFinduced field change is presumably closely related to the complex nature of the ESF and actors’ cognitive engagement with all its dimension while still also rooted in local wilfulness and obstinacy.

Contributions and limitations of the study The present study neither followed a ‘traditional’ deductive approach of deriving hypotheses and operationalisation from theory and then testing them, and nor did it follow a classic inductive strategy, such as grounded theory. Just like many other qualitative studies, it is located somewhere in between these two approaches. The structured QCA approach allowed me to compare qualitative data from 18 local cases and to unravel the conditional patterns behind the usage of and change triggered by the ESF. However, although formal logic is of great help in structuring the data, in revealing ‘invisible’ patterns and in avoiding over- and under-estimating particular factors, at the end of the day, human lenses and intuitions should be brought back into the game. Hence, I fed the QCA results back into more in-depth reflections in a second step. This was crucial for the contingent generalisation of

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the findings, since it allowed me to develop a typological theory of the three empirical response patterns. Due to high internal validity and a generally good match of the empirical observations and interpretations with the theoretical approach, it was entirely possible to make contingent generalisations for most results, and the findings might hence also apply to the responses to the ESF by other similar local cases across Europe (although not beyond the EU). However, despite the possibility for contingent generalisation, this study suffers from a number of limitations, just as any scientific study does. Here, first of all, measurement issues should be mentioned. The empirical data drew on qualitative, re-analysed data collected and reported partly by other researchers. Despite careful assessments, comprehensive reporting of the calibration and a cross-check with other researchers, it might still be possible to interpret cases in a different manner, and hence to assign different fuzzy set scores or even construct the fuzzy set on an entirely different basis. To address this, I used robustness checks with different calibrations (see the technical online appendix at https://policy.bristoluniversitypress.co.uk/localpolicies-and-the-european-social-fund), yet this still only represents a limited attempt to increase validity. However, this is not only true for fuzzy set studies, but for all qualitative work in the social sciences. There was another conceptual problem with regard to the interdependencies between local Europeanisation processes and Europeanisation at a more general level – or, in other words, with regard to fields and their larger environments. The local fields studied here are, of course, embedded in numerous other fields, which might be equally subject to Europeanisation. National labour market policies and activation programmes are influenced by EU policies, as research has shown, and this, in turn, affects local policies. Here, the field perspective falls short in capturing such interdependencies, a fact that might be particularly relevant when it comes to the role of contextual conditions. Broader knowledge on how these contextual conditions are embedded in the ‘larger picture’ could further increase our understanding of the processes in the local fields. In this regard, more in-depth research on ESF-related Europeanisation in fields other than local ones, as well as on the interdependence of different fields, would most probably be worth the effort. Taking a more in-depth look at these issues would also help to address another shortcoming of the study: even though the field approach proved a very fruitful theoretical lens, the study did not explore the full potential of this analytical perspective and the related theoretical underpinnings. This is most evident with regard to the

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under-estimated role of social skill, but also goes much beyond it. Most crucially, it did not take into account the interaction of field actors and their power struggles. It was possible to assess how incumbents and challengers behave and what this means for field change using this study’s data, but it is clearly relevant for understanding what is going on in social fields. Besides these and other limitations, the study nevertheless was able to increase scholarly knowledge on Europeanisation via structural funding and contribute to the literature both on Europeanisation and on local labour market and activation policies. Here, particularly the merger of the field approach and the Europeanisation debate proved to be highly fruitful, as outlined earlier. The empirical results provide relatively broad and in-depth insights into local patterns of response to the ESF and the related contextual conditions from a bottomup, actor-centred perspective, while previous work mostly studied the regional level, adopted a top-down perspective and rarely applied a broader comparative approach. Besides the theoretical merger of two previously separate perspectives and the analytical and empirical innovativeness of the three response patterns, four main contributions stand out from this study: the analytical and empirical differentiation between usage and change, insights into the relationship between preferences and capacities, the unique character of the ESF as an integrated governance tool, and the emphasis on the local level from a denationalised, comparative perspective: As already discussed above, usage and change are two frequently applied concepts in Europeanisation research. Although the authors of the usages approach initially pointed out that usage does not equal change but is a prerequisite for it, this analytical differentiation was rarely applied in empirical studies and was also not further discussed from a theoretical perspective. The study showed that the two are indeed not the same and that usage is a necessary condition for change, but not a sufficient one. The findings revealed that, in empirical reality, we find both cases with usage but without change (the ‘cream skimmers’) and cases where usage and change simultaneously appear (the ‘transformers’). A similar claim can be made for the role of abilities and preferences as contextual factors for the usage and implementation of structural funds – and for the role of subjective perceptions of actors in general. As outlined above, the literature stresses the importance of commanding the relevant organisational resources (and particularly the role of

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administrative capacity) when it comes to explaining how and to what extent actors deal with structural funding (for example, the absorption of funding). In the study, the QCA results revealed a very interesting interplay of preferences for usage and the ability to use. Low available ESF funding and a financially and politically stable situation decreased local actors’ overall preferences for making use of the ESF. A lack of administrative capacities can reinforce this negative position towards usage, but this alone does not explain usage or non-usage. The subjective assessment of costs and efforts is of crucial relevance in this interplay. Thus, weak resource command does not precisely shape the ability for action; instead, it influences field actors’ preferences in conjunction with other contextual factors. Hence, this relationship should not be under-estimated, and future studies on the absorption and implementation of structural funds should not only focus on administrative capacity and other abilities for action but equally consider the role of preferences and their interplay with capacities, also from the subjective perspective of the relevant actors in the game. Another crucial finding of the study is related to the character of the ESF as an integrated governance tool. The ESF developed from being a simple redistributive tool to a unique constellation of financial incentives, policy objectives and procedural requirements that is currently closely embedded in the overall governance architecture and strategies of the EU. This plays a crucial role for the implementation stages, as the link between money, ideas and procedures strongly frames the behaviour of the involved local actors. However, the aid conditionality and complex accountability measures did not lead to a one-to-one implementation of EU policies at the local level: local actors still showed a high degree of autonomy, and the implementation procedures were strongly shaped by local contexts. This is why usage does not automatically lead to change, as paying lip service and cream skimming can happen. This is also why the transformation of usage into field change is a complex process that can affect the entire field. Consequently, it makes much more sense to speak of responses to the ESF rather than of the implementation of the ESF. As a fourth major contribution, I should note the emphasis on the local level from a denationalised, comparative field perspective. Studying Europeanisation at the local level from a comparative perspective is something that is rarely done. Despite a growing number of studies on urban and local Europeanisation, there has not been much scholarship with a broader cross-national perspective, and most scholarship is still

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strongly rooted in a methodological nationalism. This study thus provides useful empirical insights into an under-researched field. Here, particularly the fact that different response patterns within and across countries were identified is highly valuable. No clear country pattern was visible across the cases under study (except for Poland), and for almost all countries, the different local entities under study showed different responses to the ESF. This strongly indicates that a denationalised perspective not only on EU–local relationships but also on local welfare systems per se should be adopted more frequently. Besides these major contributions of the study, which are more of an analytical nature, the findings also, to a certain extent, speak to the ‘bigger picture’ of EU politics and European integration, as will now be outlined.

On ‘Trojan Horses’, incentives and conditionality in the EU In this book, the focus was on the local implementation procedures of the ESF and not on grand politics. However, EU structural funds are not a mere administrative tool; they play a crucial role in power struggles and grand bargaining. They have, for instance, been used as an argument for voting ‘Remain’ in the Brexit referendum (BBC News, 2016) or for applying possible sanctions to Spain and Portugal for breaking EU fiscal rules (Reuters, 2016). Germany’s interior minister Thomas de Maizière agreed with Jean-Claude Juncker that EU countries refusing migration quotas should get less structural funding, and stressed the solidarity factor of financial redistribution when he noted that those countries refusing quotas are often countries that receive a lot of structural funds (Harding, 2015). Since the beginning of EU structural funding, power struggles about the distribution of the funds have accompanied the reform processes, and in the 1980s, regional policy was at the top of the political agenda. However, never before have the funds played such a crucial role in overall power struggles and strategic policy making than today. This is most probably not only related to their financial power, but also to their role as a financing tool of more general EU strategies, their procedural role in the coordination processes (European Semester), and last but not least, to their embeddedness in subnational implementation structures in the member states. In many cases, the structural funds have become a well-established part of domestic social and employment policies, and for many subnational actors, the EU signifies first and foremost funding

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(Catalano et al, 2016). Indeed, Europe seems to have ‘levered in’ via the financing, procedures or programmatic aid conditionality. Such a ‘Trojan Horse strategy’ of linking financing or other incentives to compliance with desired behaviour has increasingly become a prominent approach in the EU (and beyond): for example, in the context of negotiations with prospective member states (see, for example, Grabbe, 2001; Schimmelfennig and Sedelmeier, 2004) or in the case of financial assistance in the shadow of the recent economic crisis (see, for example, Featherstone, 2014; Theodoropoulou, 2015). At the same time, the results of the present study show that when looking at the lower politico-administrative levels and at the everyday processes of dealing with funding, incentives and aid conditions, the picture is a different one. In the empirical case studies, local contexts clearly shaped how local actors responded to the ESF, and their responses did not always signify a clear ‘levering in’ of EU ideas, programmes or procedures. As mentioned in Chapter 1, my empirical interest was not in testing how ‘successful’ the ESF was as a ‘Trojan Horse’ for implementing EU policies. Rather than studying the intended execution process from the top down, my aim was to look at the reactions of the beneficiaries, how they engaged with the ESF, and what this meant for the local fields as a whole. From this bottom-up perspective, it can nevertheless be stated that the ‘Trojan Horse’ qualities of the ESF are judged differently by actors in different contexts. While some refuse the gift – albeit not because it comes from an enemy but more because they do not have a use for bulky presents – others welcome it and also incorporate the horse’s contents under certain conditions. While the unique nature of the ESF as an integrated governance tool – a ‘gilded horse’ – is hence remarkable and also has a crucial impact at the subnational level, this does not mean that the EU is automatically successful with its incentive-driven steering attempts. The EU policy targets linked to the ESF money are not necessarily implemented exactly as the EU would foresee; they are obviously filtered, supported or impeded by the preferences and abilities of local actors. Aid conditionality works in the sense that the financial incentives encourage beneficiaries – under certain conditions – to use the ESF; they also then implement the linked conditions. But such aid conditionality does not ensure a straightforward implementation of policy objectives: local wilfulness and obstinacy shape the implementation process. So far, the EU has tried to deal with its insufficient steering success by applying more rigorous accountability measures and greater

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procedural control. The entire process of linking the ESF money more closely to soft tools and procedural requirements outlined in this book were attempts to ensure greater steering powers were in place, to avoid having beneficiaries who just pay lip service and engage in cream-skimming practices, and to ensure ‘correct’ implementation of the policy objectives. However, a tightening of these control and accountability measures should not be the response to the findings of this book – even if the results point to imperfect steering attempts and local autonomy. This would most probably either lead to more professionalised lip service attempts (and would thus not avoid cream skimming) or to separated worlds of EU implementation that exists in parallel to and decoupled from domestic fields (Büttner et al, 2019). Instead, local autonomy should be seen as a powerful resource. Particularly in times of increasing Euroscepticism, the potential of the already existing link between the EU level and the local level could be used and further exploited. Just as national welfare policies engaged in decentralisation in order to build on local structures, knowledge, cooperation, trust, commitment, etc, EU policies could also reinforce local powers, cooperate with them and foster a ‘Europe on the ground’. This would mean politicising instruments like the ESF and giving greater autonomy to local actors and citizens, possibly with instruments such as citizens’ budgets or deliberation opportunities. Of course, this would necessarily come at the expense of a topdown steering potential and decrease the influence of the EU on the local level. However, the technocratic governance of the European Commission and the current intergovernmental games and power struggles between member states risk further alienating ‘the people’ from the European project (see, for example, Vauchez, 2016) – topdown governance is thus most probably not what will solve the current problems of the European project. Strengthening the local level also has the potential to revitalise the redistributive character of the EU, which has the potential to increase solidarity among Europeans (Knijn, 2019, see also, among others, Ferrera, 2014; Offe, 2015). Although cohesion funds still redistribute large sums of money from richer to poorer regions in Europe, this dimension has become obscured with their use as governance tools. Beneficiaries of the funds do not perceive the funding as a crossEuropean redistributive transfer but as a standard financing opportunity, as this study also showed. The European project is not seen as a social cohesion project. Shifting autonomy to the local level, involving local actors in decision-making processes, giving redistributed funding to citizens on the ground and – last but not least – increasing the

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redistributive power of Europe in general could strongly contribute to making the European project a project of European citizens. The EU already has its feet on the ground, as the example of the ESF shows, so why should the existing bypass strategies not be turned into a route to European integration? In this way, ‘gilded horses’ could be tamed, ridden and utilised by everyone in Europe, and Trojan tricks of ‘levering in’ and seeking top-down compliance would become redundant. Notes The summaries of the three response patterns are necessarily simplified and strongly generalised. 2 As the focus was on social and employment policies in this study, other EU funding tools are not discussed. 1

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167

Appendix: Calibration material

169

Set concepts Usage Usage

170 Definitions and explanations

Cognitive

ESF scheme

Field stability

Membership, partial membership or nonmembership in the set of cases where all relevant actors in the city actively try to gather ESF funding as financial support

Membership, partial membership or nonmembership in the set of cases where all relevant actors use the ESF for more than just the active pursuit of financial support

Membership, partial membership or nonmembership of the set of convergence regions

Membership, partial membership or nonmembership of the set of cases where the relevant actors have no problems with co-funding and/or a lack of money, staff, time or knowledge

Membership, partial membership or nonmembership in the set of cases where actors act in a highly stable field, in a mainly stable field, in a partially stable field or in a fully unstable field

Active pursuit of ESF funding includes successful and unsuccessful ESF applications

Cognitive usage means the understanding and interpretation of ESFrelated concepts, ideas, frames or procedures (eg the partnership principle, funding structure, target group approaches, employment orientation in social work etc)

This refers to the ESF funding scheme. In convergence regions the ESF covers up to 85% of the project costs, and more funding is available than in other regions

This refers to the subjective perception of relevant actors regarding whether a lack of cofunding or money, staff, time or knowledge is a problem in applying for funding or using the funds. The absence of such problems is defined as the presence of required capacities

‘Stability’ refers to a situation where actors can rely on sustainable and secure financial planning, a situation where political power struggles do not strongly affect their everyday work or where no administrative problems aggravate it. Financial capacity was most relevant and was thus prioritised for constructing set memberships

(continued)

Local Policies and the European Social Fund

Concept

Strategic

Conditions Resource command

Usage Strategic

Cognitive

Convergence region

Conditions Resource command All relevant actors have the required capacities (with very minor exceptions)

Field stability

The socioeconomic situation in the case study is above the national average (or equal to the national average in a country with a strong national labour market system), and the actors perceive the local political, financial and administrative situation as stable

Partly in (0.66)

The relevant actors use the ESF strategically, with some exceptions

The relevant actors use Administrative the ESF cognitively, with responsibilities for some exceptions convergence regions

Most relevant actors have The socioeconomic situation in the case study the required capacities is above the national average (or equal to the national average in a country with a strong national labour market system), but the actors perceive the local political, financial and administrative situation as not very stable

Partly out (0.33)

Only a few relevant actors use the ESF strategically (or they do it only occasionally)

Only a few relevant actors use the ESF strategically

Other than convergence funding, no administrative responsibilities

Only a few relevant actors have the required capacities

The socioeconomic situation in the case study is below the national average (or equal to the national average in a country with a weak national labour market system), but the actors perceive the local political, financial and administrative situation as stable

The relevant actors do not use the ESF strategically

Not eligible for funding

All relevant actors suffer from a lack of required capacities

The socioeconomic situation in the case study is below the national average (or equal to the national average in a country with a weak national labour market system), and the actors perceive the local political, financial and administrative situation as not very stable

Fully The relevant actors out (0) do not use the ESF at all strategically

Note: The notion of ‘relevant actors’ is related to the different delivery structures. If private for-profit providers are relevant for service delivery in a country’s scheme, they belong to the set of relevant actors in this question, but if the delivery landscape is solely dominated by the public sector or by NGOs, they do not belong to this set.

Appendix: Calibration material

171

Set membership

Fully in All relevant actors use All relevant actors use (1) the ESF strategically the ESF cognitively

ESF scheme

Change Change Structural dimension

Conditions

Increased interaction

Projectification

ESF structures

State actors’ interventions

Concept

Action dimension

Membership, partial membership or non-membership in the set of cases where the ESF is embedded in a broader (social and employment) strategy at the local level

Membership, partial membership or nonmembership of the set of cases where ESF ideas have been internalised by local actors

Membership, partial membership or nonmembership of the set of cases with increased sustainable cooperation among field actors that arose from ESF projects but lasted beyond

Membership, partial membership or non-membership of the set of cases where ESF-triggered projectification could be observed

Membership, partial membership or nonmembership of the set of cases where institutional and/or administrative structures have been built up in the context of the ESF

Membership, partial membership or nonmembership of the set of cases where state actors’ interventions legitimise and structure the ESF-related action in the field

Membership, partial membership or non-membership of the set of cases where leadership, particular individual interest or specific engagement by field actors dominate ESFrelated action

Definitions and explanations

Substantive dimension

A local strategy is a political programme (targets, instruments etc) with the aim of tackling social and employment issues or has a broader focus and includes social and employment policies

Local actors internalised ESF ideas (concrete or abstract) and deployed them in their everyday work. Only in very salient cases was a membership above 0.5 assigned

Sustainable cooperation among field actors refers to interaction between actors in the implementation of policies (eg a welfare association offers drug counselling to needy unemployment beneficiaries in cooperation with the PES)

Projectification here refers to the organisation of the service delivering tasks constrained by time, funding and other resources (eg budgeting, planning, staff hiring or monitoring)

Specialised support structures that deal with administrative or procedural ESF issues are of main interest. They can exist as a special unit/specialised staff within an organisation or externally as an EU office accessible for all interested organisations or in other forms

State actors from different levels can impose field orders by various means (eg sponsoring particular groups, certifying certain norms, sanctioning or legalising specific behaviour or providing particular resources)

Social skills refer to leadership, particular individual interest or specific engagement

ESF strategy

ESF ideas

Social skill

Local Policies and the European Social Fund

172

(continued)

Change Substantive dimension ESF ideas

Increased interaction

Structural dimension Projectification

ESF structures

Conditions State actors’ interventions

Social skill

Fully in (1)

The ESF is clearly embedded in a relevant strategy

All relevant actors show the internalisation of ESF ideas

Significant sustainable cooperation among several organisations

All relevant actors across most dimensions and services have adopted projectification

Both internal and external support structures have been built up, have broad knowledge and are accessible for all relevant actors

The ESF-related action in the field is strongly regulated by state actors’ interventions

All relevant actors show leadership, particular individual interest or specific engagement

Partly in (0.66)

The ESF is embedded in a strategy that has not become very relevant

Most relevant actors show the internalisation of ESF ideas

Significant cooperation, but it is not sustainable or it is limited to few organisations

Projectification is somewhat present, but not across all relevant actors or dimensions and services

Internal and/or external support structures exist for most actors, but not all of them (access problems or little knowledge)

Some parts of the ESFrelated action in the field are regulated by state actors’ interventions

Most relevant actors show leadership, particular individual interest or specific engagement

Partly out Local actors try (0.33) to link it to some strategic action but are not very successful

Only a few relevant actors show the internalisation of ESF ideas

Occasionally/very limited

Some significant projectification is observable either for only a few relevant actors or only in some dimensions or services

Some actors have internal support structures, or external capacities exist that are not broadly accessible (or well known)

We can observe only some single regulations by state actors with regard to ESF-related action

Only a few relevant actors show leadership, particular individual interest or specific engagement

Fully out (0)

No internalisation of ESF ideas

No increased cooperation

Absence of routinised projectification

No structures have been built up

We cannot observe state No leadership, actors’ interventions particular individual interest or specific engagement observable

No link/ embeddedness at all, no plans

Note: The notion of ‘relevant actors’ is related to the different delivery structures. If private for-profit providers are relevant for service delivery in a country’s scheme, they belong to the set of relevant actors, but if the delivery landscape is solely dominated by the public sector or by NGOs, they do not. We only classified observed phenomena as change if they clearly were part of the usual field portfolio and were not new and innovative.

Appendix: Calibration material

173

Set membership

ESF strategy

Action dimension

Local Policies and the European Social Fund

Coding framework Condition change

Condition usage

Change

Social skill

Resource command

Field stability

ESF strategy

‘[The central Office for Europe] works as a coordinating service for the various departments. It gives us all the information about opening calls so that we avoid [extra work], it coordinates the [projects] presentations…’ (quoted from WP5 report Italy: 14)

A: ‘It is such a lot of work. And it is very competitive…. And I am alone, as I said. I cannot write applications all the time.’ Q: ‘But you keep trying?’ A: ‘Yes, I do keep on trying [mentions several plans for project applications]. I don’t give up!’ (head of local subdepartment for migration; DE2 interview)

‘… the assessment, the control … payments are delayed and you are told to expect one more control.… People are worn out’ (quoted from WP5 report France: 17)

‘You see, we are well embedded in the regional labour market, and – my goodness – I can’t see any reasons for European issues at the moment’ (training provider A; quoted from WP5 report Germany: 15)

‘We often have to bend the municipal planning to the objectives set within the European and the national planning. Sometimes we end up by doing things we wouldn’t have chosen to do and that do not correspond to that we deem would be a local priority’ (municipal elected representative, IT1; quoted from case study Naples: 33)

F1

We can observe a crucial role of state actors’ intervention in the sense of administrative structures, information, support etc at the regional level, but this only affects the local level to a minor extent

Personal interest (and leadership) are mentioned as a crucial driver in the field in general; is also relevant for ESF

Administrative burdens are mentioned as a burden or as obstacles to strategic usage by most actors. Also, co-funding was mentioned as a problem

The city of F1 benefits from a strong socioeconomic situation. Spending capacity is relatively high, and resource dependency is rather low. However, political tensions and power struggles play a role in local service delivery and influence field stability

The ESF is not embedded in a local strategy; it remains at the regional level and is only referred to in an ad hoc manner by local actors

0.33

0.66

0.33

0.66

0

F2

We can observe a crucial role of state actors’ intervention in the sense of administrative structures, information, support etc at the regional level, but this only affects the local level to a minor extent

Personal interest (and leadership) are mentioned as a crucial driver in the field in general; is also relevant for ESF

Administrative burdens are mentioned as a burden or as obstacles to strategic usage by most actors. Also, co-funding was mentioned as a problem

While the economic situation in the region is average and unemployment not a very demanding problem, political tensions and power struggles play a role in local service delivery and influence the field stability

The ESF is not embedded in a local strategy; it remains at the regional level and is only referred to in an ad hoc manner by local actors

0.33

0.66

0.33

0.33

0

Anchor examples (various degrees of set membership)

State actors

174

Appendix: Calibration material

Change (continued) ESF ideas

Usage Increased interaction

Projectification

Capacities

Strategic

Cognitive

‘… People were thinking that offenders should go to jail, and now there is a different way of thinking about a person who hurt[s] another, this person is given a chance instead of just jail; jail is the final measure; of course we need someone there to keep on putting this person on the right track so that history doesn’t repeat itself’ [referring to changed notions on the role of social policies due to EU funding] (quoted from Polish WP5 report: 9)

A: ‘… We can imagine, for example, to keep on working with the same staff in other constellations.…’ Q: ‘This means that out of existing networks new networks evolve? A: Exactly’ (project manager, training institute of employers’ association; quoted from DE2 case study: 73)

‘A change is definitely visible in the operation of centres; people started to think in a project-oriented manner, you know … we can say that people have undergone an “upgrade”, there were also funds to give people skills and a possibility to execute the project’ (quoted from Polish WP5 report: 9)

‘And for this [writing ESF proposals] I would need to take a few weeks off, go to a monastery or something, I don’t know.’ Interviewer: ‘But there are organisations with own staff only for those funds.’ Interviewee: ‘Yes, but our umbrella organisation is not very large, so they can’t afford such a department which is solely responsible for external funding. It is actually a shame’ (welfare association; quoted from WP5 report Germany: 13)

‘… Therefore, we have an incentive to intervene just on those calls that are more profitable in terms of resources and right now the most profitable calls refer to phenomena linked to immigration’ (representative from municipality, Social Policy DirectorateGeneral, quoted from WP4 report Milan: 43)

‘We are not participating but we collect experiences ... we collect ideas and experiences from several ESF-funded projects’ (coordination union; quoted from WP5 report Sweden: 5)

Some actors use ‘EU buzzwords’ and refer to EU concepts, but there is only little internalisation of EU concepts or introduction in everyday (nonESF-related) work

We can observe some increased interaction via ESF projects, but this remains at a superficial level or is not very sustainable. In any case, interaction is fostered by the national system

The European project logic is understood as something different from the domestic logic, which requires adaptation to some extent. Nevertheless, project learning can be observed to some extent with regard to monitoring etc, but it remains limited

Capacity building with regard to ESF knowledge etc is observable, but remains mostly within specific organisations

Most field actors are involved in ESF funding or have applied for it in the past. Strategic usage is widespread, but not dominant among all actors

Some field actors refer to EU ideas and are informed about targets, objectives etc. However, cognitive usage remains at a very superficial level and is not carried out by all actors

0.33

0.33

0.33

0.33

0.66

0.33

Some actors use ‘EU buzzwords’ and refer to EU concepts, but there is only little internalisation of EU concepts or introduction in everyday (nonESF-related) work

We can observe some increased interaction via ESF projects, but this remains at a superficial level or is not very sustainable. In any case, interaction is fostered by the national system

The European project logic is understood as something different from the domestic logic, which requires adaptation to some extent. Nevertheless, project learning can be observed to some extent with regard to monitoring etc, but it remains limited

Capacity building with regard to ESF knowledge etc is observable. The focus is on internal capacity building within organisations. Most organisations in the field show such processes

We can observe some strategic usage by field actors, but it remains at a low level

Some field actors refer to EU ideas and are informed about targets, objectives etc. However, cognitive usage remains at a very superficial level and is not undertaken by all actors

0.33

0.33

0.33

0.66

0.33

0.33 (continued)

175

Local Policies and the European Social Fund

Condition change

Condition usage

Change

State actors

Social skill

Resource command

Field stability

ESF strategy

F3

We can observe a crucial role of state actors’ intervention in the sense of administrative structures, information, support etc at the regional level but this only affects the local level to a minor extent

Personal interest (and leadership) are mentioned as a crucial driver in the field in general; is also relevant for ESF

Administrative burdens are mentioned as a burden or as obstacles for strategic usage by most actors. Also, co-funding was mentioned as a problem

The socioeconomic situation in F3 is weak, and the city does not have not very strong spending capacities

The ESF is not embedded in a local strategy, it remains at the regional level and is only referred to in an ad hoc manner by local actors

0.33

0.66

0.33

0.33

0

IT1

Centralised EU offices exist that provide support for ESF applications and establish general rules for application

Leadership as a crucial element mentioned with regard to the EU– local relationship

Both a lack of financial abilities for co-funding and administrative burdens are a source of complain and are mentioned as barriers to application

IT1 has very stable and good socioeconomic conditions, and despite some resource shortages in social policies, resource dependency in general is low

The ESF is only partially embedded in local strategies; there are attempts but they remain unsuccessful. ESF usage is mostly ad hoc

0.66

0.66

0.33

0.66

0.33

IT2

Both the municipal and the regional level provide centralised information, resources and support with regard to the ESF via specialised offices. These rules and resources are of crucial relevance for most field actors

Leadership/ entrepreneurship is mentioned as crucial for interorganisational integration in IT2, no explicit role mentioned with regard to EU

While administrative burdens are mentioned as a burden by several actors, a lack of co-funding is rarely described as a problem. A lack of administrative capacities is not listed as a barrier to strategic usage

The socioeconomic situation is average and does not impact crucially on the stability of the field. The same applies to resource dependency. However, political power struggles and then instability of the political situation led to certain political instability in the field of local labour market policies

The ESF is closely embedded in the local strategy on vocational training (ie the strategy is almost entirely built on the ESF)

0.66

0.33

0,66

0.33

0.66

176

Appendix: Calibration material

Change (continued) ESF ideas

Usage Increased interaction

Projectification

Capacities

Strategic

Cognitive

Some actors use ‘EU buzzwords’ and refer to EU concepts, but there is only little internalisation of EU concepts or introduction in everyday (nonESF-related) work

We can observe some increased interaction via ESF projects, but this remains at a superficial level or is not very sustainable. In any case, interaction is fostered by the national system

The European project logic is understood as something different from the domestic logic, which requires adaptation to some extent. Nevertheless, project learning can be observed to some extent with regard to monitoring etc, but it remains limited

Capacity building with regard to ESF knowledge etc is observable. The focus is on internal capacity building within organisations. Most organisations in the field have such processes

Most field actors are involved in ESF funding or have applied for in the past. Strategic usage is widespread, but not dominant among all actors

Some field actors refer to EU ideas and are informed about targets, objectives etc. However, cognitive usage remains at a very superficial level and is not undertaken by all actors

0.33

0.33

0.33

0.66

0.66

0.33

Most actors use ‘EU buzzwords’ and refer to EU concepts, but they seem to clearly differentiate between EU concepts for EUrelated work and domestic concepts for domestic work

Increased interaction in IT1 mostly takes place via channels other than the ESF; here, fragmented and uncoordinated usage dominates and is a barrier to sustainable partnerships

Some effects of the ESF on evaluation and monitoring are mentioned, but these remain limited and are not mentioned by many actors

The nationally installed EU offices exist, but beyond these, capacity building remains limited. Some actors have built up internal capacities, but in general it remains ‘ad hoc’ training

Most actors use the ESF in a strategic form (applications, funds’ spending, national programmes, regional programmes etc). However, strategic usage is also selective in the sense that actors clearly calculate costs and benefits with regard to applications

Cognitive usage remains at a very superficial level and is not carried out by all actors

ESF funds are considered if funding is not found elsewhere (supplementary) 0.33

0.33

0.33

0.33

0.33

0.33

Most actors use ‘EU buzzwords’ and refer to EU concepts; they seem to have internalised them and do not differentiate between domestic and EU concepts and ideas

Some interactions arose out of the ESF, but these are mostly ad hoc and not very sustainable. Due to the focus on vocational training, ESF-related interaction remains limited to this dimension

Project budgeting, staff planning etc is widespread in vocational training, while other services are less dominated by this logic. However, due to the high relevance of vocational training, a project logic has become relevant in the field

Most actors built up internal capacities. Furthermore, strong external capacities provided by the regional and municipal level have been put in place

The ESF finances the entire sector of vocational training and is used by all relevant actors in this sector. However, beyond vocational training, the usage is limited

Cognitive usage remains at a very superficial level and is not carried out by all actors

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177

Local Policies and the European Social Fund

Condition change

IT3

Condition usage

Change

State actors

Social skill

Resource command

Field stability

ESF strategy

The majority of the ESF funding comes via the nationally administered programmes, where the national government has installed rules and organisational structures. These nationally administered ESF funds are of much higher importance in the case of IT3 than the local programmes, which are administered in direct contact with the ESF. Thus, the nationally determined rules are of high relevance, although they do not dominate the field entirely

Leadership/ entrepreneurship is mentioned as crucial for interorganisational integration in IT3, no explicit role mentioned with regard to EU

A lack of administrative capacities and financial abilities for co-funding is mentioned by some field actors, and the administrative burdens are usually a broad source of complaint

IT3 suffers from generally very weak socioeconomic conditions. Spending capacity is quite low and thus resource dependency from other fields is high. This is described as a crucial barrier for achieving field objectives

ESF funds are closely embedded in local/ regional political strategy; they are an essential part of financial planning in the region. Regional objectives are to some extent targeted towards ESF objectives

0.66

However, this focus of local strategies towards the ESF is to some extent challenged by the administrative setup (different administrative responsibilities at different levels)

0.66

0.33

0.33

0

DE1

Municipality established an EU office, but this remains of low relevance in practice. Regional level provides some guidance, but this is also limited

Entrepreneurship not very relevant in general, but appeared to be crucial in rare cases of ESF usage

Actors perceive the ESF as a mess with regard to administrative complexity. While co-financing is in general not a problem, administrative capacities are a problem for most actors

The ESF is not at all The city is wealthy embedded in a political and benefits strategy from very good socioeconomic conditions. The political situation is stable and LTU is not a big problem. Financing ability is very good, and resource dependency is very low

0.33

0.66

0.33

1

0

DE2

Only limited support, guidelines or information from the municipal level (more with a focus on the ERDF). Regional level interventions exist but are filtered through chaotic administrative procedures

Entrepreneurs play a crucial role in the city, not solely with regard to the ESF

A lack of administrative capacities and financial abilities to co-fund is described by all actors, and for several it was a reason for non-usage

The city is in relatively stable socioeconomic condition and benefits from the strong national activation system, which ensures spending capacity to some extent. However, it suffers from an unstable local labour market policy system with a lack of strategic political planning and little emphasis on social and employment issues

The ESF is not embedded in a political strategy, and applications by field actors happen mostly ad hoc

0.33

0.66

0

0.66

0

178

Appendix: Calibration material

Change (continued) ESF ideas

Usage Increased interaction

Projectification

Capacities

Strategic

Cognitive

Most actors use ‘EU buzzwords’ and refer to EU concepts; they seem to have internalised them and do not differentiate between domestic and EU-concepts and ideas

The ESF’s partnership approach significantly increased cooperation between different stakeholders, and there are examples for sustainable cooperation structures that emerged out of EU promotion. However, coordination in general is not always sustainable

The funds have contributed to greater awareness with regard to planning, monitoring and evaluation in several relevant organisations. Project budgeting, staff planning etc is relatively widespread

As in all three Italian cities, EU offices with particular capacities have been built up to a large extent. Furthermore, internal capacities exist in almost all organisations. However, due to the broad coverage via nationally administered EU funds (convergence region), the need for very specialised capacities is lower in IT3

All actors in the field participate in ESF funding in one way or another (via national programmes or direct EU programmes). The funds are very present, all actors refer to them and understand them as a crucial and inevitable part of funding in the field

Cognitive usage as a by-product of strategic usage: despite the reference to the funds as a source of new ideas and ‘fresh air’, this is always closely coupled with the strategic usage

0.66

0.66

0.66

0.66

1

0.66

Most actors use EU ‘buzzwords’ and refer to EU concepts, but they seem to clearly differentiate between EU concepts for EUrelated work and domestic concepts for domestic work

In those rare cases where projects took place, they led to sustainable interaction and continued cooperation

Project learning via the ESF is not observable. Project logic is criticised by several actors

No or very limited internal and external capacity building with regard to the ESF

Low usage; actors mostly do not consider the ESF as relevant for their work

No cognitive usage of the ESF; low awareness in general

0.33

0.66

0

0

0.33

0

Most actors use EU ‘buzzwords’ and refer to EU concepts, but they seem to clearly differentiate between EU concepts for EUrelated work and domestic concepts for domestic work

Some actors report that cooperation in ESF projects has brought about sustainable interaction, but this is limited to a few cases

Project-based funding from the ESF and other sources is reflected and also criticised by some actors. Those actors who intensively use the ESF in a strategic sense broadly refer to project learning: budgeting, staff hiring etc follows a clear project logic; projects are a common service delivery tool. However, this does not apply to the majority of the actors

A clear split: some actors have built up internal capacities, others refuse do to so. External capacities exist, to some extent, in the form of a private consulting agency, but this does not play a crucial role in the field

There was a clear split between actors: some decided to strategically use the ESF, others decided not to. In general, most definitely not all relevant actors in the field use it. Many actors make clear cost-benefit calculations with regard to administrative requirements

Cognitive usage can mostly be observed with regard to ‘innovative ideas through the ESF’ that are highlighted as positive by a few actors. However, this remains very selective

0.33

0.33

0.33

0.33

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179

Local Policies and the European Social Fund

Condition change

Condition usage

Change

State actors

Social skill

Resource command

Field stability

ESF strategy

DE3

The regional level and the municipality have built up a network of ESF support, which, to some extent, provides guidelines and help for the strategic usage of the funds

Strong bureaucratic and hierarchical structures; entrepreneurs are of relevance but within administrative boundaries

Administrative requirements and co-financing are very often mentioned as a burden, but actors only refer to a real lack of those resources in some cases

DE3 suffers from a comparably weak labour market situation and low socioeconomic performance. The spending capacity is rather weak by German standards, but still stable due to the strong national activation system

The ESF is understood as a crucial part of the social budget, and it is largely embedded in strategic planning. However, this planning strategy suffers due to a lack of sustainable financing

0.66

0,33

0.33

0.33

0.66

PL1

The ESF can be described as the basis of local policies for LTU. Public authorities provide a broad framework for it and clearly provide rules for the field. They provide information, structure the processes etc. Here, higherlevel structures (voivodeship, poviat) are also of crucial relevance

Informal contacts between engaged individuals mentioned as crucial for interorganisational integration and successful achievement of field objectives; no explicit role mentioned with regard to EU

Administrative procedures are a cause for complaints, but are not understood as an obstacle for usage. Co-funding is not mentioned as a problem, mainly due to the high EU funding rates (up to 90%)

Social and employment policy suffer due to low spending capacities, and despite a socioeconomic situation above the national average, PL1 was also affected by the crisis, which impacted on the socioeconomic situation in the city

The ESF can be described as the basis for local policies for LTU and is the only source of strategy; there is no political/administrative strategy into which the ESF could be embedded, but the entire strategic planning is based on ESF objectives. However, this strategy is not highly relevant for the field

1

0.33

0.66

0.33

0.66

PL2

The ESF can be described as the basis of local policies for LTU. Public authorities provide a broad framework for it and clearly provide rules for the field. They provide information, structure the processes etc. Here, higherlevel structures (voivodeship, poviat) are also of crucial relevance

Leadership and informal contacts between engaged individuals mentioned as crucial for interorganisational integration and successful achievement of field objectives; no explicit role mentioned with regard to EU

Administrative procedures are a cause for complaints, but are not understood as an obstacle to usage. Co-funding is not mentioned as a problem, mainly due to the high EU funding rates (up to 90%)

Unemployment is perceived as a crucial problem in PL2. Social policies are on the agenda, but spending capacity is low

The ESF can be described as the basis for local policies for LTU and is the only source of strategy; there is no political/administrative strategy into which the ESF could be embedded, but the entire strategic planning is based on ESF objectives. However, this strategy is not highly relevant for the field

1

0.33

0.66

0

0.66

180

Appendix: Calibration material

Change (continued)

Usage Increased interaction

Projectification

Capacities

Strategic

Cognitive

Most actors use EU ‘buzzwords’ and refer to EU concepts, but they seem to clearly differentiate between EU concepts for EUrelated work and domestic concepts for domestic work

Significant cooperation clearly arose out of ESF projects: project participants know each other, consider cooperation for further projects etc. However, due to the generally high level of cooperation, this explicitly ESF-induced cooperation is not to be found for all actors

Project learning is not explicitly mentioned by actors; the ‘project spirit’ is so embedded in everyday practice that they do not reflect on it anymore. Staff are usually hired for project duration, budgeting is done on the basis of project budgets etc. Projects have become the usual form of service delivery

Internal capacity building is very common: all relevant actors have specialised staff. In addition, the municipal and regional level has built up overall infrastructure for ESF support

All actors in the field use the ESF in a strategic way over time. It is a crucial and well established funding tool in the field, thus all actors clearly refer to them

Cognitive usage beyond the strategic usage exists but is weak and only some actors in the field refer to other than monetary aspects. In most of the cases, actors apply for programmes that fit into their general objectives

0.33

0.66

1

1

1

0.33

Actors regularly use ‘buzzwords’ and some of them have also strongly internalised ideas and concepts promoted by the EU. However, other actors still use ‘old’ ideas, and internalisation is not regularly visible, particularly with regard to the activation of disadvantaged groups

The ESF is described as a very crucial tool for interaction between institutions in a generally fragmented system. Although these interactions are not always sustainable, they are sometimes the only forms of interaction

Project learning plays a crucial role for field actors. Due to the very different starting point (very little domestic projectorientation), the changes are perceived as large. Project learning is stressed by several actors themselves

Many field structures with regard to LTU policies have been built up on the basis of the ESF; the ESF is hence the source of them in some way. This of course means that capacities within these structures are clearly focused on the ESF

The funds are very present, and all actors in the field strategically use the ESF in one way or another

Cognitive usage is observable for several relevant actors in the field. Many actors refer to ESF themes beyond the mere financial aspects

0,33

0.66

1

0.66

1

0.66

Actors regularly use ‘buzzwords’ and some of them have also strongly internalised ideas and concepts promoted by the EU. However, other actors still use ‘old’ ideas, and internalisation is not regularly visible, particularly with regard to the activation of disadvantaged groups

The ESF is described as a very crucial tool for interaction between institutions in a generally fragmented system. Although these interactions are not always sustainable, they are sometimes the only forms of interactions

Project learning plays a crucial role for field actors. Due to the very different starting point (very little domestic project orientation), the changes are perceived as large. Project learning is stressed by several actors themselves

Many field structures with regard to LTU policies have been built up on the basis of the ESF; the ESF is hence the source of them in some way. This, of course, means that capacities within these structures are clearly focused on the ESF

The funds are very present, and all actors in the field strategically use the ESF in one way or another

Cognitive usage is observable for several relevant actors in the field. Many actors refer to ESF themes beyond the mere financial aspects

0,33

0.66

1

0.66

1

0.66

ESF ideas

(continued)

181

Local Policies and the European Social Fund

Condition change

Condition usage

Change

State actors

Social skill

Resource command

Field stability

ESF strategy

PL3

The ESF can be described as the basis of local policies for LTU. Public authorities provide a broad framework for it and clearly provide rules for the field. They provide information, structure the processes etc. Here, higherlevel structures (voivodeship, poviat) are also of crucial relevance

Informal contacts between engaged individuals mentioned as crucial for interorganisational integration and successful achievement of field objectives; no explicit role mentioned with regard to EU

Administrative procedures are a cause of complaints, but are not understood as an obstacle for usage. Co-funding is not mentioned as a problem, mainly due to the high EU funding rates (up to 90%)

PL3 suffers from weak socioeconomic conditions, and high unemployment is a major problem in the city. Furthermore, the political situation was rather conflictual

The ESF can be described as the basis of local policies for LTU and is the only source of strategy; there is no political/administrative strategy into which the ESF could be embedded, but the entire strategic planning is based on ESF objectives. However, this strategy is not highly relevant for the field

1

0.33

0.66

0

0.66

SE1

No state interventions are mentioned

Personal commitment, interest or leadership not mentioned as a crucial factor

A clear trade-off is made by all actors: administrative burdens are too high, and financial need is too low. Co-funding is not mentioned as a problem

SE1 is a very prosperous city, with low unemployment and high spending capacity

The ESF is not embedded in a local strategy

0

0

0.33

1

0

SE2

No state interventions are mentioned

Personal commitment as a crucial factor in general; no particular reference to ESF

Actors complain about administrative burdens, and for some, they are a reason for not using the ESF strategically. Co-funding is also mentioned as a problem by several actors

SE2’s socioeconomic conditions are average compared to the rest of the country. Spending capacity is high, and although unemployment is perceived as a problem, it is not a major concern

The ESF is not embedded in a local strategy

0

0.33

0

0.66

0

SE3

Personal interest as A coordination a crucial factor with office has been installed, but its role regard to ESF remains limited with regard to the ESF

A lack of administrative capacities is mentioned by several actors, also as a reason for not using the ESF. Co-funding is not discussed as a problem

The socioeconomic conditions in the city are well below the national average. Youth unemployment is particularly high, and the spending capacity is limited due to the weak economic situation. However, the Swedish system nevertheless ensures a certain resource independence

Due to the long tradition of usage for some highly relevant actors in the field, the ESF is already, to some extent, embedded in a local strategy. But this remains very specific

0.33

0.33

0.33

0.33

0.66

182

Appendix: Calibration material

Change (continued) ESF ideas

Usage Increased interaction

Projectification

Capacities

Strategic

Cognitive

Actors regularly use ‘buzzwords’ and some of them have also strongly internalised ideas and concepts promoted by the EU. However, other actors still use ‘old’ ideas, and internalisation is not regularly visible, particularly with regard to the activation of disadvantaged groups

The ESF is mentioned as a very crucial tool for interaction between institutions in a generally fragmented system. Although these interactions are not always sustainable, they are sometimes the only forms of interaction

Project learning plays a crucial role for field actors. Due to the very different starting point (very little domestic projectorientation), the changes are perceived as large. Project learning is stressed by several actors themselves

Many field structures with regard to LTU policies have been built up on the basis of the ESF; the ESF is hence the source of them in some way. This of course means that capacities within these structures are clearly focused on the ESF

The funds are very present, and all actors in the field strategically use the ESF in one way or another

Cognitive usage is observable for several relevant actors in the field. Many actors refer to ESF themes beyond the mere financial aspects

0,33

0.66

1

0.66

1

0.66

No internalisation of ESF ideas or EU concepts is visible

No sustainable interaction arose out of the ESF

No project learning took place on the basis of the ESF

No capacities have been built up

All actors chose not to use the ESF in a strategic manner

Despite the lack of strategic usage, a few actors are well informed about the ESF and some also mention it as a source of new ideas

0

0

0

0

0

0.33

The ESF is mentioned as a source of innovative ideas (see cognitive usage), and these ideas are relatively broadly deployed in further measures and programmes not linked to the ESF

Increased interaction is mentioned as a positive effect by some actors

Some limited learning with regard to monitoring and evaluation was mentioned

No capacities have been built up

Some actors are regularly involved in ESF funded projects and use the ESF strategically. Others totally refuse to use the ESF

The ESF is mentioned by some actors as a source of innovative ideas

0.66

0.33

0.33

0

0.33

0,33

The ESF is partially mentioned as a source of innovative ideas (see cognitive usage), and these ideas are deployed by some actors in further measures and programmes not linked to the ESF

No sustainable interaction from the ESF was mentioned

Some limited learning with regard to monitoring and evaluation was mentioned

No capacities have been built up

Some actors strategically use the ESF, others do not. However, for some very crucial actors in the field, usage is already well established

The ESF is mentioned by some actors as a source of innovative ideas

0.33

0

0.33

0

0.66

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183

Local Policies and the European Social Fund

Condition change State actors UK1 The devolved administrative level (Scotland) is of crucial importance. Here, some rules of the field are clearly defined, and structures are shaped. However, due to a strong local approach, this plays a limited role at the local level 0.33 UK2 The devolved administrative level (Wales) is of crucial importance. Here, the rules of the field are clearly defined, and structures are shaped. There is high activity in this regard

1 UK3 Although in the region in question the role of regional state actors with regard to setting rules and structuring the field is much more limited than in UK2, there is nevertheless a strong attempt to provide information, align strategies etc 0.33

Condition usage

Change

Social skill

Resource command

Field stability

ESF strategy

Leadership as a crucial element in general; no explicit reference to the ESF

A lack of administrative capacities is mentioned by several actors, also as a reason for not using the ESF. Co-funding is not discussed as a problem

UK1 is enjoying a comparably good socioeconomic situation, with low unemployment rates and a good spending capacity. However, as is common in the UK system, resource dependence, in the sense of third party funding, exists

The ESF is embedded in a local strategy, but there are some doubts as to whether alignment between local/regional policies and the ESF would not have happened anyway due to similar objectives

0.33

0.33

0.66

0.33

Leadership as a crucial element in general; no explicit reference to the ESF

Administrative procedures are a cause of complaints, but they are usually not understood as an obstacle to usage. Co-funding is not mentioned as a problem

UK2’s socioeconomic conditions are average. Spending capacity is high, and is not a major concern. However, as is common in the UK system, resource dependence, in the sense of third party funding, exists

The regional government has oriented its employment policy towards the ESF objectives in order to ensure that policies could make use of the ESF. However, this seems to be of relatively low relevance for everyday implementation

0.33

0.66

0.66

0.33

Leadership as a crucial element in general; no explicit reference to ESF

Administrative procedures are a cause of complaints, but are usually not understood as an obstacle for usage. Co-funding is not mentioned as a problem

The socioeconomic situation in UK3 is relatively weak, and most actors describe the spending capacity as low

Although no embedding of the ESF in an overall field strategy could be observed, there are nevertheless a number of relevant actors who align their strategy towards the ESF

0.33

0.66

0.33

0.33

184

Appendix: Calibration material

Change (continued) ESF ideas

Usage Increased interaction

Projectification

Capacities

Strategic

Cognitive

The ESF is partially mentioned as a source of innovative ideas (see cognitive usage), and these ideas are deployed by some actors in further measures and programmes not linked to the ESF

Increased interaction on the basis of the ESF seems to occur on some occasions

A project logic is quite established in the UK system. However, some minor additional learning could be observed with regard to co-funding and application procedures

Some actors have built up internal capacities, and some external capacities exist (mostly at a regional level)

Strategic usage of the ESF is mixed, some actors use it, and others do not. In general, strategic usage is not as widespread as in other UK cities

The ESF is mentioned by some actors as a source of innovative ideas and forms of service delivery

0.33

0.33

0.33

0.33

0.33

0.33

The ESF is partially mentioned as a source for innovative ideas (see cognitive usage), and these ideas are deployed by some actors in further measures and programmes not linked to the ESF

Interaction through partnership is fostered by public approaches (EU Partnership Forum). This is mentioned as being crucial for building up informal cooperation

A project logic is quite established in the UK system, but in UK2 there was significant additional learning with regard to funding and application procedures

Almost all actors have built up internal capacities, and some external capacities exist (mostly at a regional level)

Most actors in the field use the ESF strategically in one way or another; usage of the ESF is highly widespread and common

The ESF is mentioned by some actors as a source of innovative ideas and forms of service delivery

0.33

0.66

0.66

0.66

0.66

0.33

The ESF is partially mentioned as a source of innovative ideas (see cognitive usage), and these ideas are deployed by some actors in further measures and programmes not linked to the ESF

Increased interaction on the basis of the ESF is not mentioned

A project logic is quite established in the UK system, and no additional learning could be observed

Some actors have built up internal capacities, and some external capacities exist

Most actors in the field use the ESF strategically in one way or another; usage of the ESF is highly widespread and common

The ESF is mentioned by some actors as a source for innovative ideas and forms of service delivery

0.33

0

0

0.33

0.66

0.33

185

Local Policies and the European Social Fund

Case profiles F1, Aquitaine, France National activation scheme/decentralisation in activation ‘In France, the renewal of the main minimum income scheme (“Revenu minimum d’insertion” [RMI] re-invigorated by a new regulation for a “Revenu de Solidarité Active” [RSA] in 2009) into an instrument of active inclusion policy has entailed an extensive reorganization of welfare provision. While access criteria and the level of benefits both remain regulated nationally, decentralization in 2004 turned the organization of services into a local issue. Legal provisions only oblige the responsible local authority (“Départements”) to appoint case-managers and to sign integration contracts with recipients (Borgetto and Lafore, 2007). The local authority holds competences for numerous social services and is free to devise proper ALMP. As amounts of state financing are fixed, the development of the number of welfare recipients can pose a budgetary risk for the local authority (Aubree et al, 2006). At the local level, recipients of minimum income schemes can also access services run by the public employment service (“Pôle Emploi”), agencies of national ministries, other sub-national actors, action plans for long-term unemployed (“Plans Locaux pour l’Insertion et l’Emploi” [PLIE]) and local “one-stop shops for employment” (“Maison d’Emploi”)’ (Künzel, 2012). ESF 2007–13 In the funding period 2007–13, France had five operational programmes, with four of them referring to French overseas territories and one for France (this changed for 2014–20; in this period, regional OPs were established in France, too). The overall granted ESF contribution for France was €4,494,563,975 (EU – DG Regional Policy, 2007a). Even though it had only one single OP, it nevertheless consisted of a regional part and a national one, with the national focus being on anti-discrimination, social cohesion or mobility, and the regional focus being more on labour market inclusion. All French regions fell under the competitiveness and employment objective (and the overseas territories were eligible for convergence funding). The main focus of the national ESF OP 2007–13 was to improve access to employment and sustainability (30% of the ESF budget), and the inclusion of less favoured people (34% of the ESF budget; EU – DG Regional Policy, 2007a), particularly also against the backdrop of increasing youth unemployment and long-term unemployment.   The French service delivery landscape is characterised by a large multiplicity of actors. Various organisations of different types (public, NGOs, welfare associations, for-profit-providers…) exist at the regional or local level, and a large number of them are also ESF beneficiaries. The abovementioned PLIE are largely co-financed via the ESF. Typical employment-related measures for long-term unemployed people and other disadvantaged groups consist of job search or career planning, language training, mobility aid, individualised coaching for jobseekers, temporary work enterprises or developing local partnerships for better integrated and individualised services (European Commission, 2016a). Local profile Population 1 January 2014 (NUTS 3)

1,524,240

GDP at purchasing power standards per inhabitant 2011/14 (NUTS 2)

25,100/25,300

Employment rate total/male/female 2011 (% of population aged 15–64; NUTS 2)

63.5/66.9/60.9

Long-term unemployment 2011 (% of total unemployment; NUTS 2)

36.7

Agricultural/industrial/service employment as % of total employment 4.3/20.8/74.6 2010 (NUTS 2) Political parties in office at time of fieldwork: Council: left wing

186

Appendix: Calibration material

F2, Centre, France National activation scheme/decentralisation in activation ‘In France, the renewal of the main minimum income scheme (“Revenu minimum d’insertion” [RMI] re-invigorated by a new regulation for a “Revenu de Solidarité Active” [RSA] in 2009) into an instrument of active inclusion policy has entailed an extensive reorganization of welfare provision. While access criteria and the level of benefits both remain regulated nationally, decentralization in 2004 turned the organization of services into a local issue. Legal provisions only oblige the responsible local authority (“Départements”) to appoint case-managers and to sign integration contracts with recipients (Borgetto and Lafore, 2007). The local authority holds competences for numerous social services and is free to devise proper ALMP. As amounts of state financing are fixed, the development of the number of welfare recipients can pose a budgetary risk for the local authority (Aubree et al, 2006). At the local level, recipients of minimum income schemes can also access services run by the public employment service (“Pôle Emploi”), agencies of national ministries, other sub-national actors, action plans for long-term unemployed (“Plans Locaux pour l’Insertion et l’Emploi” [PLIE]) and local “one-stop shops for employment” (“Maison d’Emploi”)’ (Künzel, 2012). National ESF setup 2007–13 In the funding period 2007–13, France had five operational programmes, with four of them referring to French overseas territories and one for France (this changed for 2014–20; in this period, regional OPs were established in France, too). The overall granted ESF contribution for France was €4,494,563,975 (EU – DG Regional Policy, 2007a). Even though it had only one single OP, it nevertheless consisted of a regional part and a national one, with the national focus being on anti-discrimination, social cohesion or mobility, and the regional focus being more on labour market inclusion. All French regions fell under the competitiveness and employment objective (and the overseas territories were eligible for convergence funding). The main focus of the national ESF OP 2007–13 was to improve access to employment and sustainability (30% of the ESF budget), and the inclusion of less favoured people (34% of the ESF budget; EU – DG Regional Policy, 2007a), particularly also against the backdrop of increasing youth unemployment and long-term unemployment.   The French service delivery landscape is characterised by a large multiplicity of actors. Various organisations of different types (public, NGOs, welfare associations, for-profit-providers…) exist at the regional or local level, and a large number of them are also ESF beneficiaries. The abovementioned PLIE are largely co-financed via the ESF. Typical employment-related measures for long-term unemployed people and other disadvantaged groups consist of job search or career planning, language training, mobility aid, individualised coaching for jobseekers, temporary work enterprises or developing local partnerships for better integrated and individualised services (European Commission, 2016a). Local profile Population 1 January 2014 (NUTS 3)

603,052

GDP at purchasing power standards per inhabitant 2011/14 (NUTS 2)

23,600/24,300

Employment rate total/male/female 2011 (% of population aged 15–64; NUTS 2)

64.7/68.2/61.2

Long-term unemployment 2011 (% of total unemployment; NUTS 2)

41.8

Agricultural/industrial/service employment as % of total employment 2.1/25.7/72.1 2010 (NUTS 2) Political parties in office at time of fieldwork: Council: left wing

187

Local Policies and the European Social Fund

F3, Languedoc-Roussillon, France National activation scheme/decentralisation in activation ‘In France, the renewal of the main minimum income scheme (“Revenu minimum d’insertion” [RMI] re-invigorated by a new regulation for a “Revenu de Solidarité Active” [RSA] in 2009) into an instrument of active inclusion policy has entailed an extensive reorganization of welfare provision. While access criteria and the level of benefits both remain regulated nationally, decentralization in 2004 turned the organization of services into a local issue. Legal provisions only oblige the responsible local authority (“Départements”) to appoint case-managers and to sign integration contracts with recipients (Borgetto and Lafore, 2007). The local authority holds competences for numerous social services and is free to devise proper ALMP. As amounts of state financing are fixed, the development of the number of welfare recipients can pose a budgetary risk for the local authority (Aubree et al, 2006). At the local level, recipients of minimum income schemes can also access services run by the public employment service (“Pôle Emploi”), agencies of national ministries, other sub-national actors, action plans for long-term unemployed (“Plans Locaux pour l’Insertion et l’Emploi” [PLIE]) and local “one-stop shops for employment” (“Maison d’Emploi”)’ (Künzel, 2012). National ESF setup 2007–13 In the funding period 2007–13, France had five operational programmes, with four of them referring to French overseas territories and one for France (this changed for 2014–20; in this period, regional OPs were established in France, too). The overall granted ESF contribution for France was €4,494,563,975 (EU – DG Regional Policy, 2007a). Even though it had only one single OP, it nevertheless consisted of a regional part and a national one, with the national focus being on anti-discrimination, social cohesion or mobility, and the regional focus being more on labour market inclusion. All French regions fell under the competitiveness and employment objective (and the overseas territories were eligible for convergence funding). The main focus of the national ESF OP 2007–13 was to improve access to employment and sustainability (30% of the ESF budget), and the inclusion of less favoured people (34% of the ESF budget; EU – DG Regional Policy, 2007a), particularly also against the backdrop of increasing youth unemployment and long-term unemployment.   The French service delivery landscape is characterised by a large multiplicity of actors. Various organisations of different types (public, NGOs, welfare associations, for-profit-providers…) exist at the regional or local level, and a large number of them are also ESF beneficiaries. The abovementioned PLIE are largely co-financed via the ESF. Typical employment-related measures for long-term unemployed and other disadvantaged groups consist of job search or career planning, language training, mobility aid, individualised coaching for jobseekers, temporary work enterprises or developing local partnerships for better integrated and individualised services (European Commission, 2016a). Local profile Population 1 January 2014 (NUTS 3)

1,108,134

GDP at purchasing power standards per inhabitant 2011/14 (NUTS 2)

21,800/22,100

Employment rate total/male/female 2011 (% of population aged 15–64; 57.7/62.0/53.5 NUTS 2) Long-term unemployment 2011 (% of total unemployment; NUTS 2)

43.5

Agricultural/industrial/service employment as % of total employment 3.3/15.6/80.4 2010 (NUTS 2) Political parties in office at time of fieldwork: Council: left wing

188

Appendix: Calibration material

IT1, Lombardy, Italy National activation scheme/decentralisation in activation In Italy, a compulsory unemployment insurance scheme exists, which is financed via employers’ contributions. In addition, a special short-term unemployment benefit scheme and mobility benefits exist. Originally, these schemes were highly centralised and controlled via the Ministry of Labour. In 1997, the responsibility for placement, employment services and ALMPs were transferred to the regional level, and employment centres (Centri per l’Impiego) were established at the regional level. They are now the most important players in employment policies and are responsible for registration, information and job matching in the context of unemployment benefits (Catalano et al, 2016). The ordinary unemployment benefits are earnings related. Until April 2015, they were granted to unemployed people who had worked in a job subject to social insurance contributions for at least two years. They were entitled to an earnings-related maximum of €1,167 for 10–16 months (depending on age). With regard to conditionality and activation, we did not observe strict criteria, although benefits can be cut in case of job refusal (Berthet and Bourgeois, 2012).   The regionally administered unemployment benefits are only marginally linked to the locally organised social policies. In Italy, there is still no full social assistance scheme, despite some experiments in the 1990s. Some measures for needy people exist (such as the Social Card), but in general, social assistance remains a decentralised and diverging matter. Furthermore, links between social and employment policies are very rare due to a specialisation ethos (Catalano et al, 2016). ESF 2007–13 In the funding period 2007–13, Italy had 24 operational programmes: 19 regional OPs, two OPs for the autonomous provinces of Bolzano and Trento and three OPs covering all the regions under the regional competitiveness and employment objective and convergence objective (with a total national ESF budget for convergence of €3,757,523,042, and for regional competitiveness and employment of €3,180,484,854; EU – DG Regional Policy, 2007c). The country has a particular problem with labour market segmentation and large regional inequalities. In general, only a few people participate in further training, so this was adopted as a crucial ESF priority, and the main focus was on human capital development (34% of the total granted budget) and improving access to employment and sustainability (34%; EU – DG Regional Policy, 2007c). The ESF beneficiaries are manifold and located both at the regional level and lower levels. Social partners are broadly engaged, but also public authorities, cooperatives and welfare associations. A crucial role is played by diverse vocational training providers, which may have legal links to social partners (European Commission, 2016a).   In Lombardy (a competitiveness and employment region), the labour market situation is comparably good, and here strengthening human capital development dominates the OP and the service delivery landscape. The region was granted a total budget of ESF funding of €338,017,613 (EU – DG Regional Policy, 2007c). For-profit and not-for-profit training providers are of crucial relevance. Among the five priority areas of the 2007–13 OP, two of these focused on the labour market integration of long-term unemployed people (ie, ‘employability’ and ‘social inclusion’). Here, typical measures are work incentives, vouchers for vocational training, support for self-employment or individualised support for jobseekers (European Commission, 2016a). Local profile Population 1 January 2014 (NUTS 3)

3,176,180

GDP at purchasing power standards per inhabitant 2011/14 (NUTS 2)

35,500/34,700

Employment rate total/male/female 2011 (% of population aged 15–64; NUTS 2) 64.7/74.1/55.2 Long-term unemployment 2011 (% of total unemployment; NUTS 2)

45.7

Agricultural/industrial/service employment as % of total employment 2010 (NUTS 2)

1.5/34.0/64.5

Political parties in office at time of fieldwork: Province: right wing (previously left wing in 2009)/council: left wing (previously right wing in 2011)

189

Local Policies and the European Social Fund

IT2, Lazio, Italy National activation scheme/decentralisation in activation In Italy, a compulsory unemployment insurance scheme exists, which is financed via employers’ contributions. In addition, a special short-term unemployment benefit scheme and mobility benefits exist. Originally, these schemes were highly centralised and controlled via the Ministry of Labour. In 1997, the responsibility for placement, employment services and ALMPs were transferred to the regional level, and employment centres (Centri per l’Impiego) were established at the regional level. They are now the most important players in employment policies and are responsible for registration, information and job matching in the context of unemployment benefits (Catalano et al, 2016). The ordinary unemployment benefits are earnings-related. Until April 2015, they were granted to unemployed people who had worked in a job subject to social insurance contributions for at least two years. They were entitled to an earnings-related maximum of €1,167 for 10–16 months (depending on age). With regard to conditionality and activation, we did not observe strict criteria, although benefits can be cut in case of job refusal (Berthet and Bourgeois, 2012).   The regionally administered unemployment benefits are only marginally linked to the locally organised social policies. In Italy, there is still no full social assistance scheme, despite some experiments in the 1990s. Some measures for needy people exist (such as the Social Card), but in general, social assistance remains a decentralised and diverging matter. Furthermore, links between social and employment policies are very rare due to a specialisation ethos (Catalano et al, 2016). ESF 2007–13 In the funding period 2007–13, Italy had 24 operational programmes: 19 regional OPs, two OPs for the autonomous provinces of Bolzano and Trento and three OPs covering all the regions under the regional competitiveness and employment objective and convergence objective (with a total national ESF budget for convergence of €3,757,523,042, and for regional competitiveness and employment of €3,180,484,854; EU – DG Regional Policy, 2007c). The country has a particular problem with labour market segmentation and large regional inequalities. In general, only a few people participate in further training, so this was adopted as a crucial ESF priority, and the main focus was on human capital development (34% of the total granted budget) and improving access to employment and sustainability (34%; EU – DG Regional Policy, 2007c). The ESF beneficiaries are manifold and located both at the regional level and lower levels. Social partners are broadly engaged, but also public authorities, cooperatives and welfare associations. A crucial role is played by diverse vocational training providers, which may have legal links to social partners (European Commission, 2016a).   In Lazio (a competitiveness and employment region), one focal issue is entrepreneurship and human capital development. The region was granted a total of €368,038,775 ESF contribution. The two ESF priorities dealing with labour market policies for long-term unemployment and other disadvantaged groups are mainly the priorities ‘employability’ and ‘social inclusion’. Attempts were also made to improve the performance of the PES, and the employment centres are relevant beneficiaries of the ESF in this region. Another focal issue is female employment support. Typical measures include micro-credits, vocational training actions, apprenticeship support or support for start-ups and self-employment. Local profile Population 1 January 2014 (NUTS 3)

4,321,244

GDP at purchasing power standards per inhabitant 2011/14 (NUTS 2)

33,000/31,400

Employment rate total/male/female 2011 (% of population aged 15–64; NUTS 2)

58.8/69.0/49.0

Long-term unemployment 2011 (% of total unemployment; NUTS 2)

53.0

Agricultural/industrial/service employment as % of total employment 2010 (NUTS 2)

1.7/19.9/78.4

Political parties in office at time of fieldwork: Province: left wing/council: right wing (previously left wing in 2008)

190

Appendix: Calibration material

IT3, Campania, Italy National activation scheme/decentralisation in activation In Italy, a compulsory unemployment insurance scheme exists, which is financed via employers’ contributions. In addition, a special short-term unemployment benefit scheme and mobility benefits exist. Originally, these schemes were highly centralised and controlled via the Ministry of Labour. In 1997, the responsibility for placement, employment services and ALMPs were transferred to the regional level, and employment centres (Centri per l’Impiego) were established at the regional level. They are now the most important players in employment policies and are responsible for registration, information and job matching in the context of unemployment benefits (Catalano et al, 2016). The ordinary unemployment benefits are earnings-related. Until April 2015, they were granted to unemployed people who had worked in a job subject to social insurance contributions for at least two years. They were entitled to an earnings-related maximum of €1,167 for 10–16 months (depending on age). With regard to conditionality and activation, we did not observe strict criteria, although benefits can be cut in case of job refusal (Berthet and Bourgeois, 2012).   The regionally administered unemployment benefits are only marginally linked to the locally organised social policies. In Italy, there is still no full social assistance scheme, despite some experiments in the 1990s. Some measures for needy people exist (such as the Social Card), but in general, social assistance remains a decentralised and diverging matter. Furthermore, links between social and employment policies are very rare due to a specialisation ethos (Catalano et al, 2016). National ESF setup 2007–13 In the funding period 2007–13, Italy had 24 operational programmes: 19 regional OPs, two OPs for the autonomous provinces of Bolzano and Trento and three OPs covering all the regions under the regional competitiveness and employment objective and convergence objective (with a total national ESF budget for convergence of €3,757,523,042, and for regional competitiveness and employment of €3,180,484,854; EU – DG Regional Policy, 2007c). The country has a particular problem with labour market segmentation and large regional inequalities. In general, only a few people participate in further training, so this was adopted as a crucial ESF priority, and the main focus was on human capital development (34% of the total granted budget) and improving access to employment and sustainability (34%; EU – DG Regional Policy, 2007c). The ESF beneficiaries are manifold and located both at the regional level and lower levels. Social partners are broadly engaged, but also public authorities, cooperatives and welfare associations. A crucial role is played by diverse vocational training providers, which may have legal links to social partners (European Commission, 2016a).   Campania is a region facing severe inequalities, where large groups of people (long-term unemployed people, young people with a poor level of education, families with irregular incomes, immigrants) are at risk of economic and social exclusion. The region is entitled to convergence funding and was granted a total of €559,000,000 in ESF funding under the convergence objective (EU – DG Regional Policy, 2007c). A focus of the ESF interventions was not only on the labour market inclusion of disadvantaged groups (in particular, migrants, young people and females) via vocational training, entrepreneurship or apprenticeships, but also on the improvement of the quality of service within the PES with a more individualised and targeted approach. Typical measures are actions that seek to better link education and work, work incentives, specialisation courses, general vocational training, training for PES staff or actions to support self-employment and the creation of enterprises (European Commission, 2016a). Local profile Population 1 January 2014 (NUTS 3)

3,127,390

GDP at purchasing power standards per inhabitant 2011/14 (NUTS 2)

17,000/16,700

Employment rate total/male/female 2011 (% of population aged 15–64; 39.4/53.7/25.4 NUTS 2) Long-term unemployment 2011 (% of total unemployment; NUTS 2)

62.8

Agricultural/industrial/service employment as % of total employment 2010 4.2/23.5/72.4 (NUTS 2) Political parties in office at time of fieldwork: Province/council: left wing

191

Local Policies and the European Social Fund

DE1, Bavaria, Germany National activation scheme/decentralisation in activation Activation policies in Germany were mainly established in the context of the Hartz reforms in 2003–05. Since then, the contribution-based unemployment insurance benefit scheme has been complemented by a tax-financed minimum income scheme (MIS) for needy jobseekers (ie, work-ready but not entitled to unemployment insurance). This MIS has relatively strict benefit conditionality, but also offers a large range of so-called ‘enabling measures’ to unemployed people in order to increase employability.   While the overall framework for provision of the activation scheme (entitlement, benefits’ regulations, general catalogue of measures) is decided at the national level (by the Federal Employment Agency and national ministries), the local level has relatively broad leeway. Benefit provision, counselling and decisions on ALMPs and activation measures are implemented in so-called local job centres, which are either solely run by the municipality or jointly by the municipality and local branches of the Federal Employment Agency. The implementation of activation measures (eg training courses, counselling, coaching) is mostly done by third sector actors, public actors (eg municipal social office), and also, to some extent, by social partners and chambers of industry and commerce. ESF 2007–13 In the funding period 2007–13, Germany had 18 OPs for the ESF, one at the national level, one for each of the federal states and one for a region in Lower Saxony, which is subject to convergence funding. About 40% of the German ESF budget goes to the national programme, and 60% to the federal states’ programmes. In total, Germany was granted €4,662,551,923 in the regional competitiveness and employment objective, and €4,718,102,840 in the convergence objective (EU – DG Regional Policy, 2007b). Twenty-eight per cent of the ESF budget was planned for improving access to employment and sustainability, 31% for human capital investment and 20% for improving the social inclusion of disadvantaged people (EU – DG Regional Policy, 2007b). ESF beneficiaries in Germany in the field of labour market policies are mostly third sector actors (NGOs, free welfare associations) and for-profit organisations such as training institutes. The local job centres are very often ESF beneficiaries without being involved in the practical delivery, but with the MIS benefits serving as the necessary co-funding for ESF projects.   The Bavarian labour market is generally characterised by a good demand for skilled workers and very low unemployment rates, and Bavaria is only entitled to regional competitiveness and employment funding (with €310,059,703 in ESF contributions). Against the backdrop of a good economic situation, the main priorities of the Bavarian OP 2007–13 were human resource development and the competitiveness of employees and enterprises. However, certain groups experience problems in accessing employment, such as, in particular, long-term unemployed people, low-skilled people, long-term unemployed women, disabled people and people with immigrant backgrounds. In Bavaria, measures for these disadvantaged groups (particularly long-term unemployment) in the OP 2007–13 were mainly subsumed under the axis ‘Improving access to work and social inclusion’. Typical measures included projects for raising the skills of long-term unemployed people, disabled people and people with mental ill health, specific skills training for migrants or particular support for long-term unemployed women (European Commission, 2016a). Local profile Population 1 January 2014 (NUTS 3)

124,698

GDP at purchasing power standards per inhabitant 2011/14 (NUTS 2)

32,700 /34,800

Employment rate total/male/female 2011 (% of population aged 15–64; NUTS 2)

75.0/80.3/69.5

Long-term unemployment 2011 (% of total unemployment; NUTS 2)

37.5

Agricultural/industrial/service employment as % of total employment 2010 (NUTS 2)

1.4/33.4/64.9

Political parties in office at time of fieldwork: Council: Conservatives

192

Appendix: Calibration material

DE2, Lower Saxony, Germany National activation scheme/decentralisation in activation Activation policies in Germany were mainly established in the context of the Hartz reforms in 2003–05. Since then, the contribution-based unemployment insurance benefit scheme has been complemented by a tax-financed minimum income scheme (MIS) for needy jobseekers (ie, work-ready but not entitled to unemployment insurance). This MIS has relatively strict benefit conditionality but also offers a large range of so-called ‘enabling measures’ to unemployed people in order to increase employability.   While the overall framework for provision of the activation scheme (entitlement, benefits’ regulations, general catalogue of measures) is decided at national level (by the Federal Employment Agency and national ministries), the local level has relatively broad leeway. Benefit provision, counselling and decisions on ALMPs and activation measures are implemented in so-called local job centres, which are either solely run by the municipality or jointly by the municipality and local branches of the Federal Employment Agency. The implementation of activation measures (eg training courses, counselling, coaching) is mostly done by third sector actors, public actors (eg municipal social office), and also, to some extent, by social partners and chambers of industry and commerce. ESF 2007–13 In the funding period 2007–13, Germany had 18 OPs for the ESF, one at the national level, one for each of the federal states and one for a region in Lower Saxony, which is subject to convergence funding. About 40% of the German ESF budget goes to the national programme, and 60% to the federal states’ programmes. In total, Germany was granted €4,662,551,923 in the regional competitiveness and employment objective, and €4,718,102,840 in the convergence objective (EU – DG Regional Policy, 2007b). Twenty-eight per cent of the ESF budget was planned for improving access to employment and sustainability, 31% for human capital investment and 20% for improving the social inclusion of disadvantaged people (EU – DG Regional Policy, 2007b). ESF beneficiaries in Germany in the field of labour market policies are mostly third sector actors (NGOs, free welfare associations) and for-profit organisations such as training institutes. The local job centres are very often ESF beneficiaries without being involved in the practical delivery, but with the MIS benefits serving as the necessary co-funding for ESF projects.   The majority of Lower Saxony falls under the regional competitiveness and employment objective, but there is also a smaller part that is subject to convergence funding. DE2 is located in the former part, which was granted €237,090,765 of ESF contributions. The OP for this region covers three priorities, one of which emphasises improving access to employment and social inclusion for disadvantaged people. Support for disadvantaged groups is also provided under the headline of ‘human capital development’. Typical measures in these two priority axes include apprenticeship support, targeted vocational training, career support, individual coaching and case management, or support for self-employment and the creation of enterprises (European Commission, 2016a). Local profile Population 1 January 2014 (NUTS 3)

159,610

GDP at purchasing power standards per inhabitant 2011/14 (NUTS 2)

28,800/30,400

Employment rate total/male/female 2011 (% of population aged 15–64; 72.8/78.9/66.5 NUTS 2) Long-term unemployment 2011 (% of total unemployment; NUTS 2)

45.5

Agricultural/industrial/service employment as % of total employment 3.2/29.9/66.5 2010 (NUTS 2) Political parties in office at time of fieldwork: Municipality: Social Democrats

193

Local Policies and the European Social Fund

DE3, Saxony Anhalt, Germany National activation scheme/decentralisation in activation Activation policies in Germany were mainly established in the context of the Hartz reforms in 2003–05. Since then, the contribution-based unemployment insurance (MIS) benefit scheme has been complemented by a tax-financed minimum income scheme for needy jobseekers (ie, work-ready but not entitled to unemployment insurance). This MIS has relatively strict benefit conditionality but also offers a large range of so-called ‘enabling measures’ to unemployed people in order to increase employability.   While the overall framework for provision of the activation scheme (entitlement, benefits’ regulations, general catalogue of measures) is decided at national level (by the Federal Employment Agency and national ministries), the local level has relatively broad leeway. Benefit provision, counselling and decisions on ALMPs and activation measures are implemented in so-called local job centres, which are either solely run by the municipality or jointly by the municipality and local branches of the Federal Employment Agency. The implementation of activation measures (eg training courses, counselling, coaching) is mostly done by third sector actors, public actors (eg municipal social office), and also, to some extent, by social partners and chambers of industry and commerce. ESF 2007–13 In the funding period 2007–13, Germany had 18 OPs for the ESF, one at the national level, one for each of the federal states and one for a region in Lower Saxony, which is subject to convergence funding. About 40% of the German ESF budget goes to the national programme, and 60% to the federal states’ programmes. In total, Germany was granted €4,662,551,923 in the regional competitiveness and employment objective, and €4,718,102,840 in the convergence objective (EU – DG Regional Policy, 2007b). Twenty-eight per cent of the ESF budget was planned for improving access to employment and sustainability, 31% for human capital investment and 20% for improving the social inclusion of less-favoured people (EU – DG Regional Policy, 2007b). ESF beneficiaries in Germany in the field of labour market policies are mostly third sector actors (NGOs, free welfare associations), and for-profit organisations such as training institutes. The local job centres are very often ESF beneficiaries without being involved in the practical delivery, but with the MIS benefits serving as the necessary co-funding for ESF projects.   Saxony Anhalt is located on the territory of the former GDR and subject to convergence funding (€643,930,752 in ESF contributions granted; EU – DG Regional Policy, 2007b). It suffers from high unemployment and a weak economic situation. A main focus of the ESF is indeed to achieve the labour market integration of disadvantaged groups. Here, the focus is particularly on young people and older people, but there are also specific target groups such as lone parents. Typical measures include the creation of additional work opportunities, coaching, career planning, apprenticeships, micro projects at the local level with the aim of reducing shortcomings in education and training or to reduce other obstacles to work, or targeted advice and support for ex-prisoners (European Commission, 2016a). Local profile Population 1 January 2014 (NUTS 3)

231,565

GDP at purchasing power standards per inhabitant 2011/14 (NUTS 2) 21,900/23,900 Employment rate total/male/female 2011 (% of population aged 15–64; NUTS 2)

72.9/75.4/70.3

Long-term unemployment 2011 (% of total unemployment; NUTS 2)

60.6

Agricultural/industrial/service employment as % of total employment 2010 (NUTS 2)

2.3/29.1/68.6

Political parties in office at time of fieldwork: Municipality: Conservatives and left wing

194

Appendix: Calibration material

PL1, Pomorskie, Poland National activation scheme/decentralisation in activation After the fall of communism, Poland’s social security system had to be developed entirely from scratch. At the beginning, social security benefits were initially relatively generous, but they were sharply cut in the 1990s due to budget constraints. At that time, unemployment was understood as a supply-side problem, and active labour market measures remained very weak. In a reform period in 1999–2000, selected competencies (particularly for developing and implementing social policies) were devolved to the local and regional level. It was then that the district level (poviat) with the Poviat Labour Office (PUP) gained crucial relevance for labour market and employment issues. The PUP is responsible for administering unemployment benefits (unemployment registration, benefit payment, job matching) and for ALMP measures integrated since the 2000s. Employers pay unemployment insurance contributions in Poland. Entitlement is subject to previous work for at least 365 days during the last 18 months, earning at least a minimum salary. Provided that the employer had paid the contributions during this period, people out of work are entitled to a quite low flat-rate benefit (with the level also depending on the years of previous employment) for a maximum period of 12 months (or 18 months for those who were employed for longer than 25 years). Beneficiaries need to be ready to take up a suitable job and participate in ALMP measures, otherwise sanctions can be imposed.   For people in need but not entitled to unemployment benefits, social assistance is available without activation-related conditions. However, social assistance is very low and hardly covers subsistence costs. Social assistance is administered at the local level (gmina). Some ALMP measures are provided to social assistance recipients (in cooperation with PUP), which mainly consist of subsidised employment and community work. However, cooperation between the different levels and the different social security schemes remains low (all information retrieved from Sztandar-Sztanderska and Mandes, 2011). ESF 2007–2013 In the 2007–13 period, Poland had one single OP for the entire country (this changed for the 2013–20 period) with an additional one for the performance reserve. In total, the granted ESF contribution was €9,707,176,000, 37% of which was targeted towards human capital development, 26% to improving access to employment and sustainability and 11% to improving the social inclusion of disadvantaged people (EU – DG Regional Policy, 2007d). Although regional differences in Poland are large, almost the entire country still suffers from economic problems and unemployment. With regard to employment for disadvantaged groups, there are several priorities addressing this field (ie, employment and social integration, the labour market open for all, promotion of social integration and also the more human capitaloriented priorities). The priorities in the Polish OP also include measures for modernising the labour market institutions and improving the institutional capacities of public bodies. The implementation of the partnership principle is likewise stressed (European Commission, 2016a).   Beneficiaries of the ESF in Poland include various types of actors, particularly public actors and third sector actors. Furthermore, so-called social economies are on the rise – social enterprises stemming from earlier social coops, which have a longer tradition in Poland. These social enterprises engage in the field of social inclusion, and are not mere ‘standard’ beneficiaries, as their infrastructure and development is also strongly supported via the ESF. Typical ESF measures provided by a large variety of actors are vocational training, counselling, subsidised employment, auxiliary assistance (eg childcare), promotion of spatial mobility, incentives to employers, propagation of flexible employment forms or supporting entrepreneurship. Local profile Population 1 January 2014 (NUTS 3)

767,131

GDP at purchasing power standards per inhabitant 2011/14 (NUTS 2)

13,700/15,100

Employment rate total/male/female 2011 (% of population aged 15–64; NUTS 2) 57.0/64.9/49.5 Long-term unemployment 2011 (% of total unemployment; NUTS 2)

37.2

Agricultural/industrial/service employment as % of total employment 2010 (NUTS 2)

7.1/31.5/61.3

Political parties in office at time of fieldwork: Independent (previously left wing)

195

Local Policies and the European Social Fund

PL2, Kujawsko-Pomorskie, Poland National activation scheme/decentralisation in activation After the fall of communism, Poland’s social security system had to be developed entirely from scratch. At the beginning, social security benefits were initially relatively generous, but they were sharply cut in the 1990s due to budget constraints. At that time, unemployment was understood as a supply-side problem, and active labour market measures remained very weak. In a reform period in 1999–2000, selected competencies (particularly for developing and implementing social policies) were devolved to the local and regional level. It was then that the district level (poviat) with the Poviat Labour Office (PUP) gained crucial relevance for labour market and employment issues. The PUP is responsible for administering unemployment benefits (unemployment registration, benefit payment, job matching) and for ALMP measures integrated since the 2000s. Employers pay unemployment insurance contributions. Entitlement is subject to previous work for at least 365 days during the last 18 months, earning at least a minimum salary. Provided that the employer had paid the contributions during this period, people out of work are entitled to a quite low flat-rate benefit (with the level also depending on the years of previous employment) for a maximum period of 12 months (or 18 months for those who were employed for longer than 25 years). Beneficiaries need to be ready to take up a suitable job and participate in ALMP measures, otherwise sanctions can be imposed.   For people in need but not entitled to unemployment benefits, social assistance is available without activation-related conditions. However, social assistance is very low and hardly covers subsistence costs. Social assistance is administered at the local level (gmina). Some ALMP measures are provided to social assistance recipients (in cooperation with PUP), which mainly consist of subsidised employment and community work. However, the cooperation between the different levels and the different social security schemes remains very low (all information retrieved from Sztandar-Sztanderska and Mandes, 2011).

National ESF-setup 2007-2013 In the 2007–13 period, Poland had one single OP for the entire country (this changed for the 2013–20 period) with an additional one for the performance reserve. In total, the granted ESF contribution was €9,707,176,000, 37% of which was targeted towards human capital development, 26% to improving access to employment and sustainability and 11% to improving the social inclusion of disadvantaged people (EU – DG Regional Policy, 2007d). Although regional differences in Poland are large, almost the entire country still suffers from economic problems and unemployment. With regard to employment for disadvantaged groups, there are several priorities addressing this field (ie, employment and social integration, the labour market open for all, promotion of social integration, and also the more human capital-oriented priorities). The priorities in the Polish OP also include measures for modernising the labour market institutions and improving the institutional capacities of public bodies. The implementation of the partnership principle is likewise stressed (European Commission, 2016a).   Beneficiaries of the ESF in Poland include various types of actors, particularly public actors and third sector actors. Furthermore, so-called social economies are on the rise – social enterprises stemming from earlier social coops, which have a longer tradition in Poland. These social enterprises engage in the field of social inclusion, and are not mere ‘standard’ beneficiaries, as their infrastructure and development is also strongly supported via the ESF. Typical ESF measures provided by a large variety of actors are vocational training, counselling, subsidised employment, auxiliary assistance (eg childcare), promotion of spatial mobility, incentives to employers, propagation of flexible employment forms or supporting entrepreneurship.

Local profile Population 1 January 2014 (NUTS 3)

521,108

GDP at purchasing power standards per inhabitant 2011/14 (NUTS 2)

18,000/19,300

Employment rate total/male/female 2011 (% of population aged 15–64; NUTS 2)

58.0/65.5/50.6

Long-term unemployment 2011 (% of total unemployment; NUTS 2)

38.9

Agricultural/industrial/service employment as % of total employment 2010 (NUTS 2)

13.5/32.2/54.3

Political parties in office at time of fieldwork: Left-wing Democratic Left Alliance (recent previous, a right-wing party)

196

Appendix: Calibration material

PL3, Slaskie, Poland National activation scheme/decentralisation in activation After the fall of communism, Poland’s social security system had to be developed entirely from scratch. At the beginning, social security benefits were initially relatively generous, but were sharply cut in the 1990s due to budget constraints. At that time, unemployment was understood as a supply-side problem, and active labour market measures remained very weak. In a reform period in 1999–2000, selected competencies (particularly for developing and implementing social policies) were devolved to the local and regional level. It was then that the district level (poviat) with the Poviat Labour Office (PUP) gained crucial relevance for labour market and employment issues. The PUP is responsible for administering unemployment benefits (unemployment registration, benefit payment, job matching) and for the ALMP measures integrated since the 2000s. Employers pay unemployment insurance contributions. Entitlement is subject to previous work for at least 365 days during the last 18 months, earning at least a minimum salary. Provided that the employer had paid the contributions during this period, people out of work are entitled to a quite low flat-rate benefit (with the level also depending on the years of previous employment) for a maximum period of 12 months (or 18 months for those who were employed for longer than 25 years). Beneficiaries need to be ready to take up a suitable job and participate in ALMP measures, otherwise sanctions can be imposed.   For people in need but not entitled to unemployment benefits, social assistance is available without activation-related conditions. However, social assistance is very low and hardly covers subsistence costs. Social assistance is administered at the local level (gmina). Some ALMP measures are provided to social assistance recipients (in cooperation with PUP), which mainly consist of subsidised employment and community work. However, the cooperation between the different levels and the different social security schemes remains very low (all information retrieved from Sztandar-Sztanderska and Mandes, 2011).

National ESF-setup 2007–13 In the 2007–13 period, Poland had one single OP for the entire country (this changed for the 2013–20 period) with an additional one for the performance reserve. In total, the granted ESF contribution was €9,707,176,000, 37% of which was targeted towards human capital development, 26% to improving access to employment and sustainability and 11% to improving the social inclusion of disadvantaged people (EU – DG Regional Policy, 2007d). Although regional differences in Poland are large, almost the entire country still suffers from economic problems and unemployment. With regard to employment for disadvantaged groups, there are several priorities addressing this field (ie, employment and social integration, the labour market open for all, promotion of social integration, and also the more human capital-oriented priorities). The priorities in the Polish OP also include measures for modernising the labour market institutions and improving the institutional capacities of public bodies. The implementation of the partnership principle is likewise stressed (European Commission, 2016a).   Beneficiaries of the ESF in Poland include various types of actors, particularly public actors and third sector actors. Furthermore, so-called social economies are on the rise – social enterprises stemming from earlier social coops, which have a longer tradition in Poland. These social enterprises engage in the field of social inclusion, and they are not mere ‘standard’ beneficiaries, as their infrastructure and development is also strongly supported via the ESF. Typical ESF measures provided by a large variety of actors are vocational training, counselling, subsidised employment, auxiliary assistance (eg childcare), promotion of spatial mobility, incentives to employers, propagation of flexible employment forms or supporting entrepreneurship.

Local profile Population 1 January 2014 (NUTS 3)

480,351

GDP at purchasing power standards per inhabitant 2011/14 (NUTS 2)

16,100 /17,700

Employment rate total/male/female 2011 (% of population aged 15–64; NUTS 2)

59.1/67.0/51.6

Long-term unemployment 2011 (% of total unemployment; NUTS 2)

33.4

Agricultural/industrial/service employment as % of total employment 2010 (NUTS 2)

2.9/38.0/59.0

Political parties in office at time of fieldwork: Left-wing Democratic Left Alliance (in power for a long time)

197

Local Policies and the European Social Fund

SE1, Nacka, Sweden National activation scheme/decentralisation in activation The Swedish system is traditionally characterised by extensive and universal social protection. A basic flat-rate tax-funded unemployment protection exists, which is applicable to everyone who has worked for at least six months. In addition, employees can become members of an unemployment insurance fund, which entitles them in the case of unemployment to relatively high earnings-related benefits (up to 80%). Benefit conditionality is relatively strict, with clear requirements for job search and job take-up. Registering, benefits payment, job matching and the provision of activation measures are in the hands of the PES, which are local branches of the national statutory agency. The activation measures are particularly targeted at long-term unemployed people.   In addition to the national benefits and policies, local activation programmes also exist. Here, social services such as means-tested social assistance, debt counselling or family services are provided. Due to the diverging socioeconomic and institutional situations of the municipalities, services may differ (all information from Hollertz, 2016). National ESF setup 2007–13 Like France and Poland, Sweden also had only one OP for the entire country in the period 2007–13 (this is still the case for the 2014–20 period). Sweden is a very prosperous country with comparably low labour market problems, and in line with this, it receives lower ESF contributions. The entire country is subject to regional and competitiveness funding, and the total granted ESF contribution for 2007–13 was at €691,551,158. Almost two-thirds of it (63%) was allocated for improving access to employment and sustainability and 25% for increasing the adaptability of workers and firms, enterprises and entrepreneurs (EU – DG Regional Policy, 2007e).   With regard to long-term unemployed people and disadvantaged groups, the Swedish OP particularly focuses on ‘non-traditional initiatives’. As mentioned, Sweden has a broad range of activation measures available, and ESF measures are explicitly required to be innovative and go beyond the national programmes. Typical measures include coaching or special education programmes, but also networking support or long-term guidance for beneficiaries beyond their labour market entry. Due to the high numbers of individuals on long-term sick leave in Sweden, there is also a special focus on preventing long-term sick leave and on enabling an easier return to work (Swedish ESF Council, 2007). Local profile Population 1 January 2014 (NUTS 3)

2,163,042

GDP at purchasing power standards per inhabitant 2011/14 (NUTS 2)

46,200/47,200

Employment rate total/male/female 2011 (% of population aged 15–64; NUTS 2)

77.0/78.5/75.5

Long-term unemployment 2011 (% of total unemployment; NUTS 2)

16.5

Agricultural/industrial/service employment as % of total employment 2010 (NUTS 2)

0.3/11.0/88.4

Political parties in office at time of fieldwork: County: centre-right/municipality: centre-right (for a long time)

198

Appendix: Calibration material

SE2, Östra Mellansverige, Sweden National activation scheme/decentralisation in activation The Swedish system is traditionally characterised by extensive and universal social protection. A basic flat-rate tax-funded unemployment protection exists, which is applicable to everyone who has worked for at least six months. In addition, employees can become members of an unemployment insurance fund, which entitles them in the case of unemployment to relatively high earnings-related benefits (up to 80%). Benefit conditionality is relatively strict, with clear requirements for job search and job take-up. Registering, benefits payment, job matching and the provision of activation measures are in the hands of the PES, which are local branches of the national statutory agency. The activation measures are particularly targeted at long-term unemployed people.   In addition to the national benefits and policies, local activation programmes also exist. Here, social services such as means-tested social assistance, debt counselling or family services are provided. Due to the diverging socioeconomic and institutional situations of the municipalities, services may differ (all information from Hollertz, 2016). National ESF setup 2007–13 Like France and Poland, Sweden also had only one OP for the entire country in the period 2007–13 (this is still the case for the 2014–20 period). Sweden is a very prosperous country with comparably low labour market problems, and in line with this, it receives lower ESF contributions. The entire country is subject to regional and competitiveness funding, and the total granted ESF contribution for 2007–13 was at €691,551,158. Almost two-thirds of it (63%) was allocated for improving access to employment and sustainability and 25% for increasing the adaptability of workers and firms, enterprises and entrepreneurs (EU – DG Regional Policy, 2007e).   With regard to long-term unemployed people and disadvantaged groups, the Swedish OP particularly focuses on ‘non-traditional initiatives’. As mentioned, Sweden has a broad range of activation measures available, and ESF measures are explicitly required to be innovative and go beyond the national programmes. Typical measures include coaching or special education programmes, but also networking support or long-term guidance for beneficiaries beyond their labour market entry. Due to the high numbers of individuals on long-term sick leave in Sweden, there is also a special focus on preventing long-term sick leave and on enabling an easier return to work (Swedish ESF Council, 2007). Local profile Population 1 January 2014 (NUTS 3)

285,395

GDP at purchasing power standards per inhabitant 2011/14 (NUTS 2)

28,700/29,000

Employment rate total/male/female 2011 (% of population aged 15–64; NUTS 2)

71.9/75.4/68.3

Long-term unemployment 2011 (% of total unemployment; NUTS 2)

20.8

Agricultural/industrial/service employment as % of total employment 2010 (NUTS 2)

2.4/22.7/74.8

Political parties in office at time of fieldwork: County: coalition of left-wing parties/municipality: coalition of Social Democrats and Christian Democrats

199

Local Policies and the European Social Fund

SE3, Västsverige, Sweden National activation scheme/decentralisation in activation The Swedish system is traditionally characterised by extensive and universal social protection. A basic flat-rate tax-funded unemployment protection exists, which is applicable to everyone who has worked for at least six months. In addition, employees can become members of an unemployment insurance fund, which entitles them in the case of unemployment to relatively high earnings-related benefits (up to 80%). Benefit conditionality is relatively strict, with clear requirements for job search and job take-up. Registering, benefits payment, job matching and the provision of activation measures are in the hands of the PES, which are local branches of the national statutory agency. The activation measures are particularly targeted at LTU.   In addition to the national benefits and policies, local activation programmes also exist. Here, social services such as means-tested social assistance, debt counselling or family services are provided. Due to the diverging socioeconomic and institutional situations of the municipalities, services may differ (all information from Hollertz, 2016). National ESF setup 2007–13 Like France and Poland, Sweden also had only one OP for the entire country in the period 2007–13 (this is still the case for the 2014–20 period). Sweden is a very prosperous country with comparably low labour market problems, and in line with this, it receives lower ESF contributions. The entire country is subject to regional and competitiveness funding, and the total granted ESF contribution for 2007–13 was at €691,551,158. Almost two-thirds of it (63%) was allocated for improving the access to employment and sustainability and 25% for increasing the adaptability of workers and firms, enterprises and entrepreneurs (EU – DG Regional Policy, 2007e).   With regard to long-term unemployed people and disadvantaged groups, the Swedish OP particularly focuses on ‘non-traditional initiatives’. As mentioned, Sweden has a broad range of activation measures available, and ESF measures are explicitly required to be innovative and go beyond the national programmes. Typical measures include coaching or special education programmes, but also networking support or long-term guidance for beneficiaries beyond their labour market entry. Due to the high numbers of individuals on long-term sick leave in Sweden, there is also a special focus on preventing long-term sick leave and on enabling an easier return to work (Swedish ESF Council, 2007). Local profile Population 1 January 2014 (NUTS 3)

1,615,084

GDP at purchasing power standards per inhabitant 2011/14 (NUTS 2)

31,500 /32,500

Employment rate total/male/female 2011 (% of population aged 15–64; 74.7/76.5/72.8 NUTS 2) Long-term unemployment 2011 (% of total unemployment; NUTS 2)

18.8

Agricultural/industrial/service employment as % of total employment 2010 (NUTS 2)

2.1/22.7/75.0

Political parties in office at time of fieldwork: County: coalition of left-wing parties/municipality: Social Democratic Party (for a long time)

200

Appendix: Calibration material

UK1, Eastern Scotland, United Kingdom National activation scheme/decentralisation in activation Employment policy is a responsibility of central UK government, but the devolved administrations in the UK have responsibilities in a number of policy fields related to employment, such as education and human capital development. ‘Usually individuals who are unemployed or economically inactive are entitled to income transfers (that is, benefits). Those who receive income-based rather than contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance are required to participate in activation measures. Those who receive contribution-based or income-based Employment and Support allowance after a Work Capability Assessment have different activation requirements, depending on whether they are assigned to the Support Group or the Work Related Activity Group’ (Fuertes and McQuaid, 2016). The administration of benefits, as well as placement and job matching, is under the responsibility of Jobcentre Plus, ie, local branches of central actors. The implementation of activation services are often contracted out to private providers or third sector actors. The UK system is characterised by a strong focus on performance measurement and a clear work-first approach (Fuertes and McQuaid, 2016). National ESF setup 2007–13 In the period 2007–13, the UK had six regional OPs. In the 2013–20 period, there were still six OPs, but the territorial allocation slightly changed. In 2007–13, three of the six regions were entitled to regional competitiveness and employment funding, two to convergence funding and one (England and Gibraltar) to both. The total granted ESF contribution for both objectives was €4,474,917,728. Thirty-three per cent of this budget was targeted towards improving access to employment and sustainability, 24% to improving social inclusion of disadvantaged people and 30% to increasing the adaptability of workers and firms, enterprises and entrepreneurs (EU – DG Regional Policy, 2007f). In the UK, a diverse mix of ESF beneficiaries can be observed, among them for-profit actors, third sector organisations or public actors.   UK1 is located in Eastern Scotland, which belongs to the 2007–13 OP of Lowlands and Uplands of Scotland. Here, three priority axes exist, all of them covering labour market measures for disadvantaged groups. The region is comparatively wealthy, and employment rates are relatively high. Demand for skilled labour is rising, but long-term unemployment is still a problem. Here, the ESF is targeted at removing individual barriers to employability by providing in-work support to achieve sustainable employment, or towards addressing employers’ perceptions of particular client groups. A clear focus is on individualised strategies. The development of basic skills or self-confidence is supported, assistance with childcare is provided and targeted vocational training is given (European Commission, 2016a). Local profile Population 1 January 2014 (NUTS 3)

489,869

GDP at purchasing power standards per inhabitant 2011/14 (NUTS 2)

25,000/27,200

Employment rate total/male/female 2011 (% of population aged 15–64; NUTS 2)

71.6/73.3/70.1

Long-term unemployment 2011 (% of total unemployment; NUTS 2)

30.7

Agricultural/industrial/service employment as % of total employment 2010 (NUTS 2)

2.5/17.8/79.0

Political parties in office at time of fieldwork: National-regional: Scottish National Party (SNP)/council: coalition of Labour and SNP

201

Local Policies and the European Social Fund

UK2, East Wales, United Kingdom: National activation scheme/decentralisation in activation Employment policy is a responsibility of central UK government, but the devolved administrations in the UK have responsibilities in a number of policy fields related to employment, such as education and human capital development. ‘Usually individuals who are unemployed or economically inactive are entitled to income transfers (that is, benefits). Those who receive income-based rather than contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance are required to participate in activation measures. Those who receive contribution-based or income-based Employment and Support allowance after a Work Capability Assessment have different activation requirements, depending on whether they are assigned to the Support Group or the Work Related Activity Group’ (Fuertes and McQuaid, 2016). The administration of benefits, as well as placement and job matching, is under the responsibility of Jobcentre Plus, ie, local branches of central actors. The implementation of activation services are often contracted out to private providers or third sector actors. The UK system is characterised by a strong focus on performance measurement and a clear work-first approach (Fuertes and McQuaid, 2016). National ESF-setup 2007–13 In the period 2007–13, the UK had six regional OPs. In the 2013–20 period, there were still six OPs, but the territorial allocation slightly changed. In 2007–13, three of the six regions were entitled to regional competitiveness and employment funding, two to convergence funding and one (England and Gibraltar) to both. The total granted ESF contribution for both objectives was €4,474,917,728. Thirty-three per cent of this budget was targeted towards improving access to employment and sustainability, 24% to improving social inclusion of disadvantaged people and 30% to increasing the adaptability of workers and firms, enterprises and entrepreneurs (EU – DG Regional Policy, 2007f). In the UK, a diverse mix of ESF beneficiaries can be observed, among them for-profit actors, third sector organisations or public actors.   UK2 is located in East Wales, a competitive and employment region. Here, two ESF priorities applied in 2007–13, both of which deal with labour market measures for long-term unemployed people and other disadvantaged groups. Typical measures include individualised advice and support, financial incentives, support for work experience, targeted vocational training, employer engagement strategies or support for people with caring responsibilities. The city of UK2 also has administrative responsibilities for parts of the convergence region of West Wales and the Valleys, where a particular focus is on supporting young people (in addition to support for other disadvantaged groups). Due to administrative overlaps and service delivering organisations operating in both regions, it is not always possible to clearly distinguish between the OPs in practice. Local profile Population 1 January 2014 (NUTS 3)

482,651

GDP at purchasing power standards per inhabitant 2011/14 (NUTS 2)

23,300/24,800

Employment rate total/male/female 2011 (% of population aged 15-64; 70.5/74.1/67.0 NUTS 2) Long-term unemployment 2011 (% of total unemployment; NUTS 2)

21.9

Agricultural/industrial/service employment as % of total employment 2010 2.1/18.7/77.9 (NUTS 2) Political parties in office at time of fieldwork: National-regional: Welsh Labour Party/council: Labour Party

202

Appendix: Calibration material

UK3, Northumberland and Tyne and Wear, United Kingdom National activation scheme/decentralisation in activation Employment policy is a responsibility of central UK government, but the devolved administrations in the UK have responsibilities in a number of policy fields related to employment, such as education and human capital development. ‘Usually individuals who are unemployed or economically inactive are entitled to income transfers (that is, benefits). Those who receive income-based rather than contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance are required to participate in activation measures. Those who receive contribution-based or income-based Employment and Support allowance after a Work Capability Assessment have different activation requirements, depending on whether they are assigned to the Support Group or the Work Related Activity Group’ (Fuertes and McQuaid, 2016). The administration of benefits, as well as placement and job matching, is under the responsibility of Jobcentre Plus, ie, local branches of central actors. The implementation of activation services are often contracted out to private providers or third sector actors. The UK system is characterised by a strong focus on performance measurement and a clear work-first approach (Fuertes and McQuaid, 2016). National ESF setup 2007–13 In the period 2007–13, the UK had six regional OPs. In the 2013–20 period, there were still six OPs, but the territorial allocation slightly changed. In 2007–13, three of the six regions were entitled to regional competitiveness and employment funding, two to convergence funding and one (England and Gibraltar) to both. The total granted ESF contribution for both objectives was €4,474,917,728. Thirty-three per cent of this budget was targeted towards improving access to employment and sustainability, 24% to improving social inclusion of disadvantaged people and 30% to increasing the adaptability of workers and firms, enterprises and entrepreneurs (EU – DG Regional Policy, 2007f). In the UK, a diverse mix of ESF beneficiaries can be observed, among them for-profit actors, third sector organisations or public actors.   UK3 is located in England and belongs to the competitiveness and employment part of the OP. In this area, two priority axes were set up in 2007–13, both of which address the issue of labour market integration of long-term unemployed people and other disadvantaged groups. Access to childcare, targeted vocational training, particular individualised support for particularly needy groups such as homeless ex-offenders, or people with substance abuse problems, or work search and work preparation activities are among the measures in the region. There is a special focus on young people to prepare them for working life and provide them with sustainable employment (European Commission, 2016a). Local profile Population 1 January 2014 (NUTS 3)

489,869

GDP at purchasing power standards per inhabitant 2011/14 (NUTS 2)

21,600/23,000

Employment rate total/male/female 2011 (% of population aged 15–64; NUTS 2)

65.6/69.6/61.6

Long-term unemployment 2011 (% of total unemployment; NUTS 2)

32.2

Agricultural/industrial/service employment as % of total employment 2010 (NUTS 2)

0.0/19.8/78.8

Political parties in office at time of fieldwork: No regional level. Council: Labour Party

203

Index Note: Page numbers in italics indicate figures and tables. Page numbers followed by App refer to the Appendix.

A action field dimension 73, 76 activation policies 15, 16, 143–4 active labour market policies (ALMPs) 14–15, 62–3 administrative capacity 21, 83, 150 Amsterdam Treaty 10 appropriation see organizational appropriation

B Bahle, T. 15 Bennett, A. 46, 50, 59, 123 Bismarck, O. von 13 Börzel, T.A. 26–7, 38, 40 ‘bottom-up’ research perspective 28, 36 Bourdieu, P. 29–30 Büttner, S.M. 21, 153

C case profiles France 186–8 App Germany 192–4 App Italy 189–91 App Poland 195–7 App Sweden 198–200 App United Kingdom (UK) 201–3 App case selection criteria 53 causality 45 centralisation 15 see also decentralisation change 149 calibration and analysis 55–6, 57, 58–9 case studies 69–71 coding framework 174–85 App contextual conditions for 90–6, 91, 94–5, 140–1 empirical representation 79, 97, 100 field perspective on 29–35, 35, 61 action field dimension 73, 76 Europeanisation research 36–44, 43 structural field dimension 73

substantive field dimension 72–3 ideal-typical relationship between usage and 58 reflections on research results 110–13, 114–18 as set memberships 72–6, 74–5, 172–3 App fuzzy-set memberships 76–80, 77 typology of local responses 96–100, 98, 100, 126–31, 131, 144–7 coding framework 174–85 App co-funding 83, 85 cognitive usage 28–9, 66–7, 93, 114–16, 117–18, 118–19, 127 cohesion funding 2–3 see also European Social Fund (ESF) cohesion policy 1–2, 19 see also EU social and employment policies collaboration 71 see also partnership principle compliance approach 27 conditionality 45–7, 151–4 qualitative comparative analysis 47–9 contention, episodes of 33, 34 context 46 contextual conditions for ESF-induced change 90–6, 91, 94–5, 140–1 for usage of ESF 82–90, 86, 88–9, 140–1 contingent generalisation 50 convergence funding 38, 85, 86, 87, 109 convergence responsibilities 109 ‘cream skimmers’ 126–8, 137, 145–6

D Dabrowski, M. 22 de Rooij, R. 20 decentralisation 15–16, 19, 144

E empirical representation of usage and change 79, 97, 100 employment policies 7 see also EU social and employment policies; labour market policies entrepreneurship 110–111

205

Local Policies and the European Social Fund episodes of contention 33, 34 esf scheme (ESF funding availability) 86, 87, 109 non-usage 124–5, 126, 145 usage and change 129, 146 ‘EU expertification’ 21 EU social and employment policies 7, 8–13 Europe 2020 11 ‘Europe of the Regions’ 19 European Employment Strategy (EES) 8, 10–11, 15 European governance 19 European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) 9, 112 European Semester 11–12 European Social Fund (ESF) 3, 4, 8, 9–10, 11 change induced by case studies 69–71 contextual conditions for 90–6, 91, 94–5, 140–1 empirical representation 79, 97, 100 fuzzy-set memberships 76–80, 77 reflections on research results 110–13, 114–18 as set memberships 72–6, 74–5, 172–3 App comparison with FOCEM 133–5, 147 transferability of typology 135–9 conditionality 152–4 field perspective on change 36–7, 38, 41, 43, 44 funding availability (esf scheme) 86, 87, 109, 124–5, 126, 129, 145, 146 as integrated governance tool 12–13, 13, 139–40, 150 role in domestic policy 22 summary of research findings 143–7 typology of local responses 96–100, 98, 100, 124–31, 131, 144–7 transferability beyond Europe 135–9 usage case studies 62–5 contextual conditions for 82–90, 86, 88–9, 140–1 empirical representation 79, 97, 100 fuzzy-set memberships 76–80, 77

reflections on research results 104–6, 107–10, 118–20 as set memberships 65–7, 68, 170–1 App Europeanisation 4, 20–3, 61, 148 see also European Social Fund (ESF): change induced by; European Social Fund (ESF): usage Europeanisation research 26–9, 140 field perspective on change 36–44, 43, 61 external validity 49

F Falkner, G. 27 Falleti, T.G. 45–6 field change see change field perspective on change 29–35, 35, 61 action field dimension 73, 76 Europeanisation research 36–44, 43 structural field dimension 73 substantive field dimension 72–3 field stability 84–5, 86, 87 non-usage 104–6, 124, 125, 126, 145 usage and change 107–8, 146 usage without change 118, 127–8 financial stability 84, 108, 126 Fleurke, F. 20 Fligstein, N. 30–5, 36–7, 38–9, 40 FOCEM (Fondo para la convergencia estructural del Mercosur) 132–3 comparison with European Social Fund (ESF) 133–5, 147 transferability of typology 135–9 France 51 case profiles 186–8 App case study responses 64, 69 funding co-funding 83, 85 cohesion funding 2–3 convergence funding 38, 85, 86, 87, 109 European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) 9 structural funding 20–3 see also European Social Fund (ESF); FOCEM (Fondo para la convergencia estructural del Mercosur) funding availability (esf scheme) 86, 87, 109 non-usage 124–5, 126, 145 usage and change 129, 146

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Index fuzzy-set memberships 76–80, 77 fuzzy-set scores conditions for change 91 conditions for usage 86 fuzzy-set variables, labels 56

G George, A.L. 46, 50, 59, 123 Germany 13–14, 51 case profiles 192–4 App case study responses 62, 63, 65, 70, 71, 105, 112, 115, 116 ‘goodness’ of fit approach 26–7 governance 19 governance tools 11 European Social Fund (ESF) as integrated governance tool 12–13, 13, 139–40, 150

H Heidenreich, M. 14, 15, 16, 50–1 Hübner, D. 1

I innovative action 33–4, 38 institutional entrepreneurs 110 internal validity 49 Italy 52 case profiles 189–91 App case study responses 63, 64, 69, 70–1, 113

J Jacquot, S. 28–9, 37–8, 41, 47, 65–7, 114

K Knill, C. 27 Kovách, I. 21 Kučerová, E. 21 Künzel, S. 15

L labour market policies 7, 13–14, 41 active labour market policies (ALMPs) 14–15, 62–3 ESF-induced change in case studies 69–71 see also EU social and employment policies

legitimating usage 29, 67 Lehmkuhl, D. 27 Leopold, L.M. 21 Lisbon Strategy 11 local labour market policies see labour market policies local level 17–18 role of structural funding 20–3 Lynch, J.F. 45–6

M Marshall, A. 20 McAdam, D. 30–5, 36–7, 38–9, 40 mediating factors 26–7 Mercosur 132 see also FOCEM (Fondo para la convergencia estructural del Mercosur) Minas, R. 16 multilevel governance (MLG) 19 multiple veto points 26

N ‘new EU causes’ 27 Newman, J. 16 non-usage of European Social Fund (ESF) 104–6 see also ‘refuseniks’ NUTS standard 17, 24n

O open method of coordination (OMC) 11 Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) 14, 15 ‘organizational appropriation’ 33–4, 35, 35, 39

P partnership principle 9, 21–2, 71 planning security 125, 145 Poland 52 case profiles 195–7 App case study responses 62, 70, 71 policy reliability 84 political tensions 84 power 32 projectification 4, 21, 73, 147 public intervention see state actors

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Q qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) 47–9, 99–100 contextual conditions for ESFinduced change 90–6, 91, 94–5 contextual conditions for ESF-usage 82–90, 86, 88–9

R Radaelli, C. 4, 26, 28, 36 ‘refuseniks’ 124–6, 135–7, 144–5 regional level 50, 142n regionalism 19 regions 23–4n relationships 31–2 see also partnership principle research study calibration and analysis 55–9 case profiles 186–203 App case selection criteria 53 coding framework 174–85 App contributions and limitations 147–51 empirical basis 49–55 generalisation beyond the EU 132–9 ideal-typical relationship between usage and change 58 implications for theory 139–41 labels of fuzzy-set variables 56 qualitative comparative analysis 47–9 set concepts 170–3 App summary of findings 143–7; see also European Social Fund (ESF): changed induced by; European Social Fund (ESF): usage resource command 83–4, 86, 87, 149–50 non-usage 105, 106, 125 transferability of typology 136–7 usage and change 108–9, 129 resources 32 Rice, D. 14, 15, 16 Risse, T. 26–7, 38, 40 rules 32

S set concepts 170–3 App set memberships 47–8, 55 ESF-induced change as 72–6, 74–5 fuzzy-set memberships 76–80, 77 usage of the ESF as 65–7, 68

social and employment policies see EU social and employment policies social constructionism 32–3 see also subjectivity social insurance system 13–14 social policies 7 see also EU social and employment policies social skills 32, 34–5, 40, 90–1, 92 usage and change 110–11, 130 soft governance tools 11 spillover dynamics 8, 23n state actors 35, 40, 90, 92 transferability of typology 138 usage and change 111–13, 130 usage without change 114, 117–18, 127, 128, 145–6 strategic action fields (SAF) 30–5 Europeanisation research 36–44 strategic usage 28, 66, 67, 93, 96 usage without change 116, 117, 119 structural field dimension 73 structural funding conditionality 151–2 impact on the local level 20–3 see also European Social Fund (ESF); FOCEM (Fondo para la convergencia estructural del Mercosur) subjectivity 32–3, 85, 141, 150 non-usage 126 transferability of typology 135–6, 137 usage and change 108, 129, 130 subnational level 16–17, 18–19 substantive field dimension 72–3 Sweden 51 case profiles 198–200 App case study responses 63, 64, 106, 108

T transformation 116 ‘transformers’ 128–32, 137–8, 146–7 Treaty of Rome 8 typological theorising 123

U United Kingdom (UK) 51–2 case profiles 201–3 App case study responses 63, 69, 71 usage 61, 149

208

Index calibration and analysis 55–6, 58–9 case studies 62–5 coding framework 174–85 App contextual conditions for 82–90, 86, 88–9, 140–1 empirical representation 79, 97, 100 ideal-typical relationship between change and 58 reflections on research results 104–6, 107–10, 118–20 as set memberships 65–7, 68, 170–1 App fuzzy-set memberships 76–80, 77 typology of local responses 96–100, 98, 100, 124–31, 131, 144–7 ‘usages of Europe’ approach 28–9, 37–8, 39–40, 41 see also cognitive usage; strategic usage

V validity 49 van Gerven, M. 22 Verschraegen, G. 22

W welfare policies see labour market policies; social policies welfare states 13, 14 Willemse, R. 20 Woll, C. 28–9, 37–8, 41, 47, 65–7, 114 ‘worlds of compliance’ 27

209