• 1. Welfare State in 'New Eastern Europe' Open or Close

    Alexi Gugushvili, European University Institute, Florence, Italy,  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    After the European enlargement in 2004-2007, new countries at the Eastern frontier of EU became its immediate neighbours by land and by sea. On a policy level, the EU's relationship with its eastern neighbours was founded on the aspiration of a partnership, initially, by the European Neighbourhood Policy, and after 2008, by the Eastern Partnership Initiative (EaP), largely promoted by Poland. Although the European Commission expressed its commitment to enhancing social policy dialogue and supporting the modernisation of social protection systems in these societies, scholars of comparative social welfare have little knowledge about the region.

    A comparative analysis of the welfare systems in 'New Eastern Europe' may improve our understanding of the nature of social welfare in politically less stable and economically more troubled environments. EaP countries have poorly transitioned from authoritative command economies to democratic and market-oriented societies, thus generating the conict between old versus new socio-economic systems and corresponding welfare policies. The region also experienced a substantial increase in poverty and inequality levels, while the intensified long-term strains on public welfare programmes resulted from demographic ageing and migration.

    This stream welcomes contributions that investigate the links between economic development, democratisation and social policy primarily in Russia, Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, but proposals are also welcome on social welfare research in Balkan, Baltic and Central Asian States. Among other topics, applications are particularly encouraged to submit proposals on the direct and indirect impact of the European social model on these emerging welfare regimes, on the role of welfare state (family, educationaland targeted social policies) in intra- and intergenerational stratification patterns, and on the political economy of welfare reforms (in pension, healthcare, and employment policies) both in comparative and case study perspectives.

  • 2. Welfare state in Central and Eastern Europe in the post-crisis period Open or Close

    Jolanta Aidukaite, Lithuanian Social Research Centre, Vilnius, Lithuania,  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

    The stream is aimed at discussing consequences of the global financial crisis of 2008-2009 for social policy in Central and Eastern Europe. How has social policy changed after the crisis in Central and Eastern Europe? Have welfare provisions been cut, retrenched or expanded? How has the financial crisis affected solidarity between generations and social classes and the social contract between the state and its people?

    The stream focuses not only on changes in social policy design, but also on the consequences of the crisis on citizens’ well-being in Central and Eastern Europe, including ethnic minorities, people with special needs, elderly people and the homeless.

    The papers are invited to discuss all social policy areas: social security, education, housing policy and health care. Comparative and single case study papers are welcomed. The geographical area of the stream includes the new EU member states, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and other CIS countries.

    The abstract will be judged according to its analytical strength, new theoretical and empirical generalizations and innovative solutions to social problems.

  • 3. Designing comparative social policy analysis Open or Close

    Jon Kvist, University of Southern Denmark, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Olli Kangas, KELA, Finland;   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

      Many important questions in comparative social policy analysis are rarely addressed up front. These are the questions that researchers routinely decide on when designing their comparative studies. A short list of questions the comparative researcher decides on includes:

     -Which research strategies are most apt for different types of research questions?
     -How many and which cases should be included? How should the cases or observations be conceived?
     -What are the concepts, definitions, typologies and other theoretical constructs?
     -Which indicators and data provide measures on these theoretical constructs?
     -What are the merits and drawbacks of different methodological approaches?
     -How is change and diversity assessed over time and space?
     -How is causality established?
     -How robust, valid and generalizable are findings?
     -How do we overcome challenges in comparative research like Galton’s problem, ecological fallacies, equifinality, and multi-finality?

    Scholars rarely examine and discuss at length the challenges they face, the choices they make and the implications these choices have for research and policy recommendations. The purpose of this stream is to present and discuss the choices social policy researchers have to make in comparative research and in particular how to improve the state of the art.

    In this stream we therefore invite papers that pay explicit attention to the methodological challenges and decisions that concern research questions and strategies, case selection, concept formation, the role for description and causality, measurement validity, robustness and the scope for generalization. We welcome papers that address one or more of these key issues. We do not invite literature reviews, theoretical papers, and papers already accepted for publication. Innovative papers discussing or applying new approaches are prioritized along with papers on comparative social policy that use established techniques and practices from other fields.

    Abstracts answering this call for papers must make clear what the paper is about, what the contribution is, and not least how the contribution is made.

  • 4. 'New' perspectives on pensions and retirement Open or Close

    Dirk Hofäcker, MZES,  University of Mannheim, Germany, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Katja Möhring,  University of Cologne, Germany,  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Throughout recent decades, gradual shifts in pension (from predominantly public pensions to multi-pillar systems), labour market (from secure employment relationships to atypical employment and flexible careers) and ageing policies (from promoting early retirement to ‘productive ageing’) have fundamentally transformed the meaning of late-career employment and retirement: Employment exit occurs at variable ages, increasingly oriented at individual needs, abilities and preferences rather than at standard retirement ages. Empirical research identifies a group of ‘working pensioners’ that continue to work throughout retirement. The flexibilization of employment histories and the fragmentation of family ties bring about new insecurities for retirement income and care arrangements in modern societies.

    Taken together, these developments imply challenges not only for social policy, but also for companies and families.The aim of the stream is to explore which consequences these shifts in the meaning of late career employment and retirement entail at different societal levels:

    • At the individual level, it may be asked how the increasing de-standardization of retirement transitions has affected individual planning for retirement and the post-retirement phase.

    • At the household level, the question arises how intergenerational exchange can be organized given increasing uncertainty about retirement timing and material security in old age, both in terms of monetary transfers as well as the provision of care.
    • In light of the changes outlined, firms and companies face the need to redesign their strategies of human resource management towards an ageing workforce.

    • Finally, at the national level, it remains a major challenge how welfare and labor market policies can be redesigned as flexible ‘life course policies’ to accommodate for the ongoing changes in late career employment and retirement.

    The stream invites papers focusing on developments at any of these levels, and particularly welcomes contributions connecting developments in two or more areas. Submissions may be either nation-specific or comparative.


  • 5. The role of public pension systems for the long-term sustainability of public finances in European Welfare States Open or Close

    Christina Benita Wilke, Hamburg Institute of International Economics, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Population ageing poses an evident threat to the financial sustainability of pension systems based on a “pay-as-you-go” (PAYG) scheme where contributions by the young directly finance benefits for the old. The combination of low fertility rates and substantial gains in life expectancy lead to an increase in the so-called old age dependency ratio, the ratio of people aged 65 years and above to those of working age (15 to 64 years). In addition, many countries experienced a so-called baby boom in the 1950s and 1960s, followed by a so-called baby bust thereafter so that comparatively large cohorts are followed directly by comparatively small cohorts. This will worsen the ratio even further once the baby-boom cohorts reach retirement age.

    At the same time, especially in the aftermath of the financial and economic crisis, public finances are under enormous pressure, with the EU public debt reaching over 80% of GDP. In most European countries, public pension system expenditures compose a crucial part of the government’s budget.  In this stream, we would like to discuss the role public pension systems may play for the long-term sustainability of public finances in European welfare states and debate about possible pension reform options. We invite papers both on the (continental) Bismarck system and the (Anglo-Saxon) Beveridge system as well as any comparative work on this issue.

  • 6. Innovative social and labour-market policies in times of crisis Open or Close

    Rik van Berkel, Utrecht University, Netherlands. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Marion Ellison, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh,   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

    The economic and financial crisis that holds European welfare states in its grip now for five years has been detrimental to employment in most European countries, and puts the European Union policy goals of combating unemployment and promoting social inclusion through labour-market participation under considerable pressure. This stream will focus on innovative social and labour-market policies developed in the context of the EU or of individual countries that are aimed at promoting inclusion on the one hand, and on promoting the capacity of European societies and labour market to cope with crises – or, in other words, their resilience – on the other. Innovative policies include policies that

    - aim to influence the behaviour of labour-market actors (employers, employees, the unemployed);

    - aim to have an impact on the formal and informal interactions between actors on the labour market (governance);

    - and/or aim to change institutional structures of labour markets (through, for example, changing employment protection regulation, flexicurity, etcetera).

    The stream will welcome both internationally comparative papers and national case studies. We are especially interested in paper proposals that not only provide insight into the characteristics of policy innovations, but also provide insight into their innovative features and into how the innovations contribute to labour-market inclusion and resilience, i.e. into their (potential) effects. Paper proposals that address the labour-market inclusion of vulnerable groups are particularly welcome.

    The coordinators of this stream proposal are participants in an FP7 project that addresses the central topic of this stream: INSPIRES (Innovative social and employment policies for inclusive and resilient labour markets in Europe).


  • 7. Gendered Welfare State: Socialism, Post-Socialism, and Post-Postsocialism Open or Close

    Dr Jana Javornik , Department of Sociology,  Umeå University, Sweden, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Dr Triin Roosalu, Institute of International and Social Studies, Tallinn University, Estonia, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Relative to Western capitalist countries, post-socialist EU member states have been distinguished by comparatively high employment rates of women in full-time jobs since the 1950s. Scholarship on female employment largely relates female employment trends in post-socialist countries to their ‘exceptional’ history and socialist legacy, and argues that the socialist state eroded the bonds of family life, freeing, and forcing, women to join the labour force.

    State socialism has undeniably shaped their institutional legacies. Therefore, comparative welfare state research generally distinguishes these countries from Western capitalist countries as “exceptional”, and as such routinely employs a regional cluster of ‘Eastern/post-communist’ welfare regime type. Thereby, similar contextual history notwithstanding, country comparative welfare state research often overlooks that these countries had not enter the ‘new’ era with common institutional legacy or collective experiences. Rather, they have endorsed, legitimized and shaped contrasting social norms and values about acceptable and desirable gender roles, and through their national policy incentives they reinforced, or challenged different “ethos” of gendered norms and practices. It is therefore indispensable in enhancing the interpretative capacities of welfare state theory to tease out relevant country distinctions in public efforts towards women in employment - an attempt which has gained little methodologically substantiated attention.

    The proposed stream aims at exploring work-family policies and their influence on childcare, female employment and gender equity in Central and Eastern Europe, and invites papers addressing the following sets of issues:

    How female employment and policy interventions have been shaped and legitimized, and how policy discursive mechanisms are framed?

    Are female employment patterns and social organisation of care legacies of the socialist era? Institutional change, historical-institutional developments - how could we use critical insights and past experiences to inform thinking about the way policies are formed, entitlements expected and practices shaped?

    How gender equity is understood in policy interventions, and how work-family policies shape women's employment, with particular focus on employment of mothers / carers?

    How have the established interests and party-political compromises in the contemporary era of austerity shaped and informed work-family policies?How central have they been in negotiations for limited state support from 2008 onwards? Specifically, are any such systemic/policy changes sustainable in the face of population ageing, diminishing work force and strained public finances?

    This stream calls for papers that focus on all these issues drawing on both quantitative and qualitative data. It encourages country comparative papers and papers that offer an opportunity for a more nuanced assessment of a larger number of CEE countries, thereby challenging geographical boundaries of contemporary welfare state studies. We are particularly interested in the issues of transformation of work-family policies and general issues of institutional change since the 1950s. Although the focus is on CEE, the stream also considers submissions that include FSU countries.

  • 8. Eldercare services in Europe – recent developments in European countries Open or Close

    Annette Angermann, Observatory for Sociopolitical Developments in Europe, German Association for Public and Private Welfare Berlin, Germany, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

    Werner Eichhorst, Institute for the Study of Labor, IZA Bonn, Germany This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

    Social services are a core pillar of European welfare states. Yet, there a huge differences across European countries in the importance and structure of social services, in particular when looking into formal old-age care services and related personal and household services. The provision of such services has a fundamental impact on the living conditions of users and their families, and at the same time they are an increasingly important area of job creation, which influences in particular the labour market participation of women, both to the extent that they make up for most employees in these field and to the extent that informal carers, predominantly women, are at least partially relieved from this responsibility. Yet, promoting formal care services requires the development of appropriate governance and funding mechanisms.

    While demographic change tends to raise demand for care services, public resources to support these services tend to be limited, and the pressure to consolidate budget will likely increase over the next years in many EU member states. As a response we have seen a number of reforms affecting access to, generosity and delivery of formal services, bringing in private actors into the delivery and co-funding as well as trying to support informal care provision. The stream invites both case studies at the national or subnational level and comparative papers analysing the structures and recent developments of social services, espacially old-age care, personal and household services, in European countries. We particularly invite papers that address one or more of the following topics: (i) governance of eldercare services, also taking into account reforms to restructure formerly public service provision by bringing in private actors; (ii) the development of employment, vocational training and working conditions in eldercare services; (iii) quality standards, quality monitoring and user satisfaction; (iv) funding mechanisms and reforms and their potential distributional consequences in terms of access and supply of services; (v) effects of different forms of care delivery on wellbeing, labour market participation or incomes.

  • 9. The local welfare state Open or Close

    Per H. Jensen, Centre for Comparative Welfare Studies, Aalborg University, Denmark, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Evelyn Mahon, School of Social Work and Social Policy, Trinity College, Dublin, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Much welfare research is based on the assumption that welfare regimes are homogenous entities. This idea is supported by studies analysing cash benefits. In the area of welfare services, however, in most countries local governments have some autonomy regarding policy formation as well as the design and implementation of policies. In effect, huge local differences exist with regard to the provision of welfare services (e.g. child care, elder care), which in turn challenge our conception of nation-wide homogenous welfare state regimes. In the case of social services, it would probably be more appropriate to talk about a multitude of different ‘welfare municipalities’ as opposed to a single, uniform welfare state.

    Local variations in welfare provisions are an under researched area. In a welfare state perspective very little is known about local priorities, political dynamics and social networks which may actually differ markedly from national politics. We don’t know, for instance, who are the main social actors relevant in the field of local welfare state policies towards welfare services; i.e. does politics and civic engagement matter? We don’t know much about how the local welfare state is funded or the extent to which funding affects policy formation. Further there is an increasing tendency towards the subcontracting of some services to private providers in neo-liberal states. This raises issues of local governance. And we don’t know much about how differences in local welfare policies (out-puts) affect differences in out-comes.

    In this stream papers are welcome dealing with causes and effects of the provision of local welfare services. This includes local policy and decision making structures and governance; how services funded; how do private and public provision co-exist; what are the implications of the welfare municipality for policy out-comes and the developments of citizens rights. 

  • 10. Poverty and social assistance dynamics from a comparative perspective Open or Close

    András Gábos, TÁRKI Social Research Institute, Budapest, Hungary, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Tim Goedemé, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp, Belgium, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Most research that investigates poverty and social assistance sticks to a cross-sectional perspective. However, in order to design efficient and effective policies, a longitudinal perspective is indispensable. Furthermore, the impact of poverty and social exclusion on an individual’s and family’s life strongly depends on the duration and recurrence of poverty or social exclusion. As a result, an evaluation of the effectiveness of social assistance should take into account whether it enables individuals to exit their status of benefit dependence only temporarily or permanently and whether exiting benefit dependence also results in exiting poverty and social exclusion. Recent developments have largely increased the opportunity for studying the dynamics of poverty and social assistance: the EU-SILC longitudinal data have become available for a wide range of European countries (including Central and Eastern Europe), and more and more researchers gain access to administrative data which suffer less from small sample sizes. Therefore, in this stream, we welcome papers that look at poverty, social exclusion and social assistance from a dynamic perspective. Possible questions that could be addressed include:

    What are the main and most recent trends and patterns in the dynamics of social assistance and social exclusion in Europe? Can an effect of the economic crisis be identified?

    Are poverty trends and trends in benefit dependence the result of more entries or a longer duration in poverty or social assistance?

    How do different (material and non-material, financial and non-financial) dimensions of social exclusion interact in a dynamic way?

    To what extent does exiting social assistance dependence correspond to exiting poverty and social exclusion? Are some social assistance designs more conducive to exiting poverty than others?

    Both quantitative and qualitative analyses are welcome. Contributions with an explicit cross-national comparative dimension will receive priority.

  • 11. Social Construction of Poverty: Media, Professionals and Public Opinion Open or Close

    Christian Albrekt Larsen, Centre for Comparative Welfare Studies, Department of Political Science, Aalborg University, Denmark, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Dorota Lepianka, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies, University of Amsterdam,  the Netherlands, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    The social construction of poverty constitutes an important aspect of a country’s welfare culture. Not only does it underpin the design of the country’s welfare system and determines the legitimacy of the country’s anti-poverty programmes, it also has a profound influence on how the country’s poor experience their own poverty and manoeuvre their way out of it. Still amidst studies on poverty measurement, dynamics, causes and consequences, inquiry into the social (re-)presentations of poverty, or symbolic aspects of poverty, remains relatively infrequent, especially in Continental Europe. In an attempt to fill this gap the stream invites papers that touch upon the symbolic relationship between the poor and the non-poor in the public sphere. We welcome papers exploring the (re-)presentations of poverty and “the poor” in a variety of public fora, e.g. within politics, state bureaucracies, academia, mass media, public opinion, professional discourse and practice (incl. social work, charity work, education, health, etc.), as well as among “the poor” themselves. We also welcome papers that investigate the effects of such constructions, e.g. on welfare attitudes, social trust, or the well-being of “the poor”. Since the ultimate aim of the workshop is to facilitate the European discussion about the relational/symbolic aspects of poverty and their relation to specific (national) welfare cultures, no preference is given to either theoretical or empirical papers or to any specific method of social scientific inquiry. All papers touching upon the social construction of poverty are welcome.

  • 12. Education as Social Policy Open or Close

    Bettina Kohlrausch, Soziologisches Forschungsinstitut Göttingen (SOFI), Germany, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Claudia Ruddat, Lehrstuhl für allg. Soziologie, Wirtschaft und Arbeit Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany,   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    In all European countries in recent years so called ‚activating policies’ have gained increasing relevance. For all their differences a common feature of these policies is that education is understood as central instrument to serve several social aims, such as labor market integration by securing employability, upward social mobility, the inclusion of migrants or the building up of a democratic society. Thus in many aspects education has become an integrated part of social policies.

    In contrast to the rising relevance of this policy field, it is a striking feature of the social policy discourse that it excluded education for a long time. While early theorists, most prominently Thomas H. Marshall, included education in their framework contemporary research on social policy often tends to underestimate the role of education in different welfare systems. For example, Esping-Andersen (1990) did not list education as a feature of its welfare state classification. Nevertheless, recently there have been some attempts to close this gap for example by trying to apply central concepts of welfare state analysis to education (Willemse and Beer 2012) or to introduce ‘educational poverty’ (Allmendinger and Leibfried 2003) as a new social problem.

    This stream seeks to bring together papers analyzing the interrelation between social policy and education policy.

    The topics of the stream will include:

    - Conceptual and theoretical considerations on how social policy and education policy are connected.

    - Reframing of education as a field of social policy in political processes and/or public debates.

    - The evolution or change of education policies explicitly addressing outcomes which are often associated with social policies such as poverty or employability.

    - Outcomes of educational policy concerning social inequality, employability, educational poverty or related issues.

    - Cross national comparisons of the interrelation of both policy fields with particular focus on the above mentioned topics.

  • 13. Market Inequality and the redistributive impact of public policies - still existing or eroding? Open or Close

    Ursula Dallinger, University Trier, Department of Sociology, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    The increasing distances between low and high market incomes in recent decades has been mediated by public policies. The variation between countries and over time in terms of the outcomes of the distribution process – poverty rates or income inequality - point to different policy choices and institutions translating primary into a secondary distribution by taxes, social transfers, social services and labor market regulation. Nevertheless, intensified public redistribution could not compensate the loss of labor market opportunities at the bottom.

    The stream wants to discuss how and why the mediating function of public policies changed. The welfare states influence on “who gets what and why” has altered and also the political processing of distributive conflicts. Papers are invited that show the patterns of changed ‘welfare effort’ (f.e. dualisation or polarization) and which explain changes both in a cross-national or longitudinal perspective: Important questions might be:

    What is the role of political choices in translating market forces into certain inequality structures of disposable incomes?  Are the power resources of societal groups and the parties representing them a driver? Did left power erode or have parties rework their political aims?

    In political economy, the median voter and political coalitions with the lower class decide distributive conflicts. Is the middle class voter still a supporter of redistribution to the poor? How do parties reconcile social policy demands of middle class and low wage earners?

    Demands of voters might themselves be a reason for changing distributive outcomes. Do rising income disparities exclude the concerns of lower classes from political processes by triggering low political participation?

    Are politics responsive to voter preferences at all?

    Are changes of labor market regulation, industrial relations and the rise of irregular labor the drivers of rising inequalities? Which labor market policies compensate the development?

  • 14. Political economy of the welfare state (reforms) Open or Close

    Dorota Szelewa, Warsaw University, Poland, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Michał Polakowski, ICRA, Poland, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

    Modern welfare states are under strain, whether ideological, political or structural. The recent trend towards fiscal consolidation, also promoted by the European Union, presents a special challenge for social policy systems. On the one hand a growing body of research demonstrates that reform trajectories have historically embedded institutional logic. On the other hand, what is observed is the growing importance of international actors, especially private financial institutions.  Has the recent crisis lead to transformational institutional change? To what extent is it possible to identify an endogenous source of institutional innovation? What is the role of agency in the possible model of institutional evolution?

    We invite papers that cover different policy fields, but deal with the theoretical challenges of grasping the mechanism of political economy of welfare state reforms. As we are mainly interested in theoretical innovation, we would like to inspire a debate between different approaches to analysing the process of reforms, placing more emphasis on the role of political parties and societal actors, as well as those emphasising economic factors or others, focussing on institutional factors. Of special interest are papers, which apply a comparative approach, both international and historical, and analysing interaction between different levels of social policy governance (transnational, national, regional and local).

  • 15. Migration and Social Policy: Current Research and New Perspectives Open or Close

    Ann Morissens, University of Twente, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.    

    Diane Sainsbury, Stockholm University, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Global migration has increased the ethnic diversity of European societies. In fact, one observer has termed developments of the past decade as producing ‘super-diversity’, as migrants come from an increasing number of countries, forms of migration or entry categories have led to a growing stratification in immigrant rights, and European countries vary in terms of granting immigrants access to social benefits and services.

    This stream interrogates the impact of migration on social policy and how social policies in a broad sense impact on immigrants’ inclusion and integration in European societies. The current research agenda has tended to concentrate on three areas. The first is the challenge of migration to the welfare state and specific social policies. How do migration and increasing diversity alter the preconditions for social policies? So far most work has centred on popular opinion and legitimacy of the welfare state and speculated on the future consequences. It has been notably silent about the attitudes and views of immigrants. A second area has focused on the role of the European Union and the dynamics of migration policies and social policies especially in the integration of migrants in the member states, as witnessed in the development of the Migrant Integration Policy Index (MIPEX). The Index consists of several policy indicators, including labour market policies and education but curiously does not include access to social benefits or social protection. A third area has brought gender into the analysis by dealing with migration and care. This approach has generated many insights but it has also directed attention away from other gendered aspects of migration and social policies. We welcome papers in these three areas but especially encourage (comparative) papers that move beyond current research and incorporate new perspectives. 

  • 16. Social investment Open or Close

    Nathalie Morel, Centre d’études européennes, Sciences Po, Paris, France, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    Joakim Palme, Department of Government, Uppsala University, Sweden, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Since the late 1990s, ‘social investment’ (SI) has appeared in the policy discourse of international and European organisations, as well as on the policy agenda of several governments across Europe and elsewhere. As a strategy that aims to combat new social risks while enhancing economic performance, the SI perspective seems to have appealed to a variety of governments. Indeed, policy analyses show how the notion functions as somewhat of a ‘catchall’ strategy. This is true also on the theoretical side, where SI is both over-determined on the ideational level, and under-conceptualized.

    Contributions are encouraged on the following themes:

    1. The political economy of social investment:

    Given the complex agenda of underlying motives behind the SI perspective (social, economic, demographic, political), an analysis of the political economy of SI seems warranted: Who are the actors likely to promote SI policies? Where might the political mobilisation for a SI approach come from? What are the political and institutional barriers to implementing a SI approach? What are the cleavages that such an approach might raise? How does the future-oriented nature of the SI perspective affect policy-making and decisions?

    2. Cross-national analysis of policies and outcomes:

    There a few systematic comparative empirical analyses of the effects of SI policies, partly reflecting a lack of cross-national data that can adequately capture policy developments and their outcomes. How can one distinguish, conceptually and empirically, between investment-oriented social spending and non-investment social spending? How can one measure the impact of policies designed to produce benefits in the future? And how effective are social investment policies in reconciling equity with growth?

    3. A critical assessment:

    How coherent are the social investment ideas? What are the ambiguities or contradictions and what may be the risks associated with this perspective? Is SI an elite strategy? Is it a ‘good quality job’ or a ‘high pressure job’ strategy. 

  • 17. Economic Development and Trends in Welfare State Attitudes. Open or Close

    Joakim Kulin, Department of Sociology, Umeå University, Sweden, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Jan Mewes, Department of Sociology, Umeå University, Sweden

    Public support for welfare state policies is the backbone of any democratic welfare state. Yet, there is scant knowledge about whether and how these public views change over time, especially in periods of economic downturn. In particular, little is known about the impact of the recent worldwide financial crisis. This stream is going to address this research lacuna by focusing on time trends in welfare attitudes. We welcome theoretical and/or empirical contributions that deal with the interaction between economic development and the dynamics of welfare state attitudes.

    We welcome papers that deal with relatively broad questions, such as dynamics in support for redistribution, as well as in contributions that focus on more specific research questions. For example, the ‘deservingness’ literature shows that even though the welfare state as such receives strong support among the wider public, people do have strong preferences for who should be ‘in’ and who should be ‘out’ of the welfare benefit schemes. Since little is known about the dynamics of these preferences, we also welcome contributions that deal with trends in welfare state solidarity with specific groups, such as immigrants, the poor, the unemployed, the elderly and the disabled. Moreover, there is a wide literature about the interplay between specific configurations of welfare state institutions and people’s attitudes. Against this background, we additionally welcome papers that take an interest in the question whether and to what extent different ‘worlds of welfare’ are able to cope with the negative consequences of the most recent worldwide economic crisis, and their consequences at the attitudinal level. We are particularly interested in receiving paper proposals for comparative studies based on cross-sectional-time-pooled data as well as in single-country studies that make use of longitudinal data.

  • 18. Social Workers and Social Policy: New Challenges and a Changing Relationship Open or Close

    John Gal, Baerwald School of Social Work and Social Welfare, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Idit Weiss-Gal, Shapell School of Social Work, Tel Aviv University, Israel, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Social policy and social work have a close, diverse, and ever-changing relationship.  As employees of welfare states and as the professionals often charged with implementing social policies, social workers are very clearly affected by changes that occur within welfare states and the various institutions that comprise them.  At the same time, promoting social justice and the furthering of the wellbeing of clients are universally regarded as fundamental professional goals by social workers.  As a result, historically social workers have been engaged in efforts to impact the policy process in order to advocate for policies that further social justice and to oppose policies that are perceived as detrimental to their clients.

    The ongoing economic crisis in many welfare states and changes in welfare governance have created challenges for deprived social groups and the social workers who serve them.   Social workers are required to implement policies that contradict their professional values and to work with clients frustrated by the economic and political climate in which they live. 

    At the same time, the new forms of governance have also made the social policy formulation process more accessible to social workers while the growing managerial role of social workers in social services has enhanced their impact on social policy formulation.  Similarly the growing place of policy practice, the social work practice focused on policy change, in social work education and the professional discourse has led to increased readiness on the part of social workers to engage policy makers.

    There is a growing body of research literature on the policy practice activities of social workers and the impact of social policy change upon members of this profession.  The goal of the stream is to serve as a platform for the discussion of cutting edge research on policy practice and the evolving relationship between social work and social policy.

  • 19. Welfare State Building in the Interbellum Period (1914-1940): Defining Years? Open or Close

    Marcel Hoogenboom, Utrecht University, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Christina May, University of Göttingen, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    The observation of the development of the “modern” welfare state usually begins with the unparalleled expansion of social policies after the Second World War. However, numerous welfare states have experienced policy implementations decisive for their current appearance well before that. In many respects, the period between 1914 and 1940 is constitutive for the development of European welfare states. Firstly, World War I led to an increased demand of legislative remedies, the loyalty of soldiers and civilians was often traded for more generous social policies and workmen’s compensations. Closely connected was secondly a perceived demographic crises – a “nation without youths” seemed to be unable to compete both militarily and politically. In some major European countries, this led to a stronger focus on policies focusing on families and fertility. Thirdly, the Great Depression starting in 1929 forced policy makers to meet both social and economic challenges which led to the implementation of a substantive amount of social policies. Often this included processes of policy translation and learning; international organizations such as the ILO and transnational epistemic communities of scientists, politicians and civil servants facilitated a vivid exchange of ideas. Consequently the interbellum period was more than just a run-up to the “Golden Age” of the modern welfare state (1945-75). The expansion of European welfare states after World War II – both in quantitative and qualitative terms – is hard to comprehend without substantial knowledge of developments in these defining years.

    In this context the stream addresses questions such as:  To what extent do social policy “paths” that were chosen in the interbellum period by Western and Southern European countries still have impact today? And – related: How did former communist countries in Central and Eastern Europe in the 1990s relate back to their pre-communist policy roots? Which impact did transnational policy learning have on national legislations? How can the critical interbellum period help to understand the current crises of the 21st century, for example, how do decisions taken then affect our ways to deal with social, economic and demographic crises today?

  • 20. Open stream Open or Close

    For open stream proposals please contact:

    Piotr Michoń, Poznań University of Economics, Poland, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

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