Book chapter
Open access


Published inSocial Innovations for social cohesion. Transnational patterns and approaches from 20 European cities, Editors Evers, Adalbert & Ewert, Benjamin & Brandsen, Taco, p. 367-380
PublisherLiege : EMES European Research Network
Publication date2014

In Switzerland, there is not only a large sharing of competencies between the communal, cantonal and the federal levels, but also local authorities (and in particular city governments) and cantons develop their own social policies in many areas. For instance, social assistance is a compulsory task, imposed by the Confederation, but the cantons and the communes fulfill it and also have the choice to fix the types of programmes and the level of benefits. Also, specific policies are often developed by the cities and the cantons, for example to face unemployment and favor reintegration of people at the margins of society. Since the first half of the 1990s, for instance, unemployment increased in Switzerland and several cantons implemented programs of unemployment assistance, this dimension being absent at the federal level. In particular, the canton of Geneva put in place a Minimum Cantonal Income in 1994, which was inspired by the French minimum income support (Revenu minimum d'insertion or RMI), as an answer to the unemployment rate of the canton that is one of the highest of the country (with today around 5% of the cantonal working force). Together with the city of Geneva, the canton of Geneva created one of the most developed and generous systems of social and health care services in Switzerland. In many fields, Geneva is pioneering the development of services. For instance, it was the first canton in Switzerland to introduce an obligatory maternity leave insurance that permitted to extend from two to four month the period of home stay.

  • Social Policy
  • Urban Policy
  • Geneva
  • Activation
  • Child care
  • Disability
  • Empowerment
  • Housing policy
  • Participation
  • Subsidiarity
  • Unemployment
Citation (ISO format)
KAKPO, Nathalie, CATTACIN, Sandro. Geneva. In: Social Innovations for social cohesion. Transnational patterns and approaches from 20 European cities. Liege : EMES European Research Network, 2014. p. 367–380.
Main files (1)
Book chapter (Published version)
  • PID : unige:40312

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