On its October meeting, the Senate of the German Reserach Foundation (DFG) approved setting up a new research group "Needs-based Justice and Distribution Procedures" (FOR 2104) at the University of Bremen. The interdisciplinary research group is a cooperation between eleven philosophers, political scientists, psychologists, sociologists and economists from the Universities of Bremen, Hamburg, Oldenburg, Vienna and Jacobs University Bremen. Economist Professor Stefan Traub, co-director of ZeS' Economics Department, will serve as the spokesman of the research group. Moreover, the University of Bremen is involved in the group with political scientists Professor Frank Nullmeier and Doctor Tanja Pritzlaff, both from ZeS' Theory and Constition of the Welfare State Department, and Philosopher Professor Dagmar Borchers.
In the first three-year funding phase (2015-2017) the research group will investigate how needs are identified at the individual level and how these needs are then acknowleged at the societal level. Does the process of acknowledging needs converge to a stable equilibrium? What is the impact of needs-based redistribution in terms of economic incentives on the sustainability of welfare states? A special feature of the research group is its interdisciplinarity: each project involves at least two disciplines. Furthermore, all projects will conduct laboratoy experiments, where subjects make realistic distribution decisions. In the long run the research groups aims at formulating a normative needs-based theory of distributional justice that is based on experimental evidence. The members of the research group expect transparency to increases the acceptance of needs-based redistribution at the individual level and expertise to improve overall approval for needs-based redistribution in the welfare state.
A DFG research group is a close collaboration of a group of outstanding researchers that work jointly on a specific research questions. Research topic, timeline and funding exceed DFG 's standard procedure for research funding by far. Research groups are usually funded for six years and aim at establishing new research fields.
At this point of time the exact size of the DFG grant is unknown, because the written confirmation is still due.
Prof. Dr. Stefan Traub