HORIZON EUROPE┋Social services: economic and social returns and value added



Expected Outcome

Projects should contribute to all of the following expected outcomes:

  • Well-founded evidence on the social and economic returns of social services, including interlinkages between child poverty and gaps in access to social services, and interlinkages in access to employment and access to social services.
  • Improved understanding of the channels through which social services may foster and accelerate a fair green and digital transition.
  • Identification and use of the best methodology to capture and measure the value added of the provision of social services, including informal social services, in the EU Member States and Associated Countries in different geographical areas (rural and urban).


Social services have a fundamental role in our society, safeguarding and promoting the welfare and well-being of vulnerable groups (e.g. migrants, people with disabilities, homeless, youth at risk, and more in general, unemployed people, low-income and poor households and women). The proposals should consider social services in a broad manner, including both universal social services of general interest such as healthcare, education, as well as other social services childcare, employment services, long-term care and social inclusion services for persons at risk of poverty and social exclusion (including counselling, coaching, mentoring, crisis centres or shelters, housing support services). The proposals should also take into account the unequal availability of social services between rural and urban areas. A special attention should also be given to the different roles of social services in the context of the fair green and digital transition (e.g. supporting working-age adults with caring responsibilities to take up good quality jobs, which contribute to the twin transitions in particular in the regions most affected by the transition from fossil fuel or carbon intensive industries).

Concerning the economic and social returns of these services, the proposals should focus on estimating the impacts from a life course perspective (including through age-dependent models), on children (development in their childhood and also into adulthood),on the employment and income situation of adults of investments in healthcare and education, including childcare and extracurricular activities for the children, but also other services such as housing and nutrition and long term care for the elderly. Such impacts should in particular be estimated in terms of employment outcomes and household incomes.

More generally, linked with the “beyond GDP” approach, it is important to analyse how to better measure the actual value added of the provision of public social services, primarily in terms of monetary valuation. Currently the value added of the public provision of social services is considered into national accounts at production prices (when there are no price associated to the related services) or also sometimes at the (reduced) price the related services are financed.

However, the actual added value of the provision of these services is meant to be higher than the production costs (or related reduced prices). It would be useful to reflect on the main channels to be accounted for in this respect in ensuring a better accounting of the actual level of the value added provided by public social services. Moreover, some actual estimates of the actual added value of the provision of public social services should be provided, reflecting in a more accurate way in particular both the short term impact (such as stabilisation function on the economy) and the longer term impact. These can be related to structural positive impact on employment and incomes, or savings allowed in terms of preventing adverse impacts, such as in terms of preventing permanent adverse spells – such as health outcomes or early school leaving – or transitory periods such as unemployment or inactivity of social services provided. Clustering and cooperation with other selected projects under this call and other relevant projects are strongly encouraged, especially with HORIZON-CL2-2023-TRANSFORMATIONS-01-02: Towards sustainable economic policy paradigms.

Application date
Humanities : Anthropology & Ethnology
Social sciences : Demography, Law, Economy, Geography, Management and Public administration, Gender studies, Identities, gender and sexuality, Psychology & Cognitive Sciences, Political science, Information and Communication Sciences, Sociology