Concept and Practices of Preventive Social Policy in Germany and Some Lessons for China

Since the 1990s, discussion on changes in the welfare state models and social policies shifts has intensified globally, primarily driven by the new technological revolution and aging populations. In parallel, Germany has placed increasing importance on preventive social policies, aligning with the evolving concept of social investment theory in Europe. This article examines preventive social policy in Germany through the analysis of policy documents, expert reports, and academic papers. We elucidate its conceptual framework, guiding principles, and action strategies. Furthermore, we showcase representative preventive social policies at both the federal and state levels, highlighting their accomplishments and challenges. Lastly, we endeavor to bridge the theoretical and practical aspects of German preventive social policy with China’s social policy reform goals. We suggest that China can draw lessons from Germany’s innovative concept of preventive social policy, emphasizing a life-cycle perspective in institutional design, policy implementation, and outcome evaluation, as well as fostering diverse networking approaches at the governance level to address the challenges inherent in social policy development.


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