Youth Policy Innovation in the Netherlands: The Realization of Centers for Youth and Families by Municipalities

Wouter Jans (Corresponding Author), Ariana Need, Minna van Gerven, Bas Denters

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In many countries “one-stop shops” have been considered an innovative mode of integrated service delivery in case of cross-cutting problems in fields such as sustainability, social exclusion, and youth policy. In this article, we explore how the Dutch national government implemented the innovative “one-stop shop” concept in municipal youth policies (Center for Youth and Family; CYF). In particular, we examine the conditions affecting the timing of the realization of these centers in Dutch municipalities between 2008 and 2012. We found considerable differences among municipalities in the timing of the realization of CYFs. In explaining these differences, we assumed motivations to be more important than obstacles and resources, because municipalities received financial compensation, and because CYFs can be considered a social policy innovation. Our findings indicate that the degree of political alignment between the municipal council and national government is an important motivation, and that increasing numbers of adopting municipalities in the same policy network and organizational capacity were important resources. Thus, opposite to what theory suggested, we found that resources were more important than motivations for the realization of CYFs. These findings challenge the decentralization thesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)346-368
Number of pages23
JournalInternational public management journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jul 2018


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