Regulating inflow or outflow: a comparison of the work capability assessments in the UK and Norway


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Cambridge University Press

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In the era of activation policies, several OECD countries have introduced work capability assessments to measure the employability of sick and disabled people. In essence, such assessments concern how sick and disabled people get access to incapacity benefits and services. This paper investigates how the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) is designed and implemented within the different institutional contexts of the UK and Norway. The paper concludes that introducing WCAs represents a challenge to the bureaucratic and legal models of administrative justice by emphasising a managerial model (in the UK) and a professional model (in Norway). In the UK, the WCA tool seems to be primarily aimed at reducing the inflow of new recipients, while in Norway it seeks to increase the outflow of recipients. Consequently, the paper argues that the introduction of the WCAs as activation policy instruments has intensified the country-specific characteristics within which the instruments are implemented.




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