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Press releases and short messages as well as publications or other event information of the SOCIUM, but also older notifications of the ZeS and EMPAS in the period 2014 to 2008.

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Magnus Brosig: Das Wissen der jungen Generation über öffentliche Alterssicherungsprogramme

Surveying the knowledge of social policy schemes has not yet become a developed field of social policy research. This contribution summarizes the results of an exploratory study aimed at gaining first insights into the knowledge that 25- to 35-year-olds have of the German public pension system, of public subsidies for private pension saving (“Riester-Rente”) and of the social assistance scheme for the elderly (“Grundsicherung im Alter”). All in all, structured interviews with twenty persons showed rather good knowledge of the basics and of pivotal concepts of these schemes, while accurate information on the specific provisions and more marginal aspects was clearly less common. Only a few interviewees showed comprehensive knowledge and clearly wrong “knowledge”, respectively, while the “unconcerned” group situated between those extremes proved to be largest in numbers: These persons considerably overestimated the benefit level and the degree of redistribution within the public pension scheme and might thus run the risk of building up insufficient pension entitlements in the long run.

Download: ZeS Working Paper 04/2015

Prof. Dr. Heinz RothgangProf. Dr. Heinz Rothgang
Grant Awarded for Project on the Needs-Based Provision of Medical Care to Nursing Home Residents.

This year, the German Innovation Funds has provided research funding to the tune of € 300m. Of that money, € 225m. have been awarded for the implementation of new healthcare models, and €75m. for research on health services research. Around 600 applications for research funding were submitted; 62, that is one in ten, projects were approved. One of the grants was awarded to SOCIUM.

The primary aim of the project submitted by Professor Rothgang (SOCIUM) and his team is to gain a better knowledge of needs-based medical care by general practitioners and medical specialists to nursing home residents with a view to improving the needs-based provision of medical care in that setting.

The three-year project, with a total funding volume of € 854,905, will be conducted by SOCIUM in cooperation with the Institute of Public Health and Nursing Research (IPP), the Competence Center for Clinical Trials Bremen (KKSB) and the Scientific Institute of the AOK Health Insurance Fund (WidO), and with the participation of the AOK Health Insurance Fund Bremen/Bremerhaven, the Bremer Heimstiftung (a foundation that runs over 20 residential/nursing homes in Bremen), the Federal Association of Private Providers of Social Services (bpa), the Bremen Association of Social Welfare Organisations (LandesArbeitsGemeinschaft der Freien Wohlfahrtspflege Bremen/LAG) and the Bremen Association of General Practitioners (Hausärzteverband).

In a first step, routine data from the statutory health insurance funds will be examined to compare and identify differences between medical care provided by GPs and specialists to (i) nursing home residents, (ii) people in need of long-term care who are cared for in a community setting and (iii) patients not requiring long-term care. Any differences in provision will then be assessed in terms of over-, under- and misprovision by means of standardised assessment using primary data. Appropriate (or inappropriate) medical care provision is explained on the basis of a record linkage and retrospective analysis of routine health insurance data and primary data, as well as case reconstructions. In focus group discussions, potentials for improvement and possible solutions are then extrapolated from this unprecedented survey and analysis of deficits in medical provision. Building on this, the Delphi method is then applied to develop and pilot a model project. Altogether, the project should contribute to an improvement in the needs-based provision of medical care in nursing home residents.

More information about the projekt:
Needs-Based Provision of Medical Care to Nursing Home Residents (MVP-STAT)


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Heinz Rothgang
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 3
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58557
E-Mail: rothgang@uni-bremen.de

Ruud Koopmans at the Jour Fixe of the SOCIUM.

On Monday, 14th November 2016, Ruud Koopmans from the Berlin Social Science Center, was a guest at the Jour Fixe lecture series of the SOCIUM. Koopmans reported on his recent study which included interviewing 7000 people in six European countries (France, Great Britain, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland). His result, a hotly debated topic: The problems of employment of Muslims and its lacking integration into the labor market have less to do with social discrimination but more with social and cultural factors.

First of all, Koopmans pointed out the lack of language skills, traditional religiously-defined values and fewer interethnic contacts, which complicate the participation in the labor market for Muslim immigrants in Europe. The most obvious is the labor market participation of Muslim women, where the traditional understanding of gender roles is opposed.


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Céline Teney
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 3
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58644
E-Mail: celine.teney@uni-bremen.de

This year's winners of the Berninghausen Award (from left to right): Natascha Ueckmann, Julia Borst, Ansgar Gerhardus, Heinz Rothgang and Michael Claridge. © Harald Rehling/University of BremenThis year's winners of the Berninghausen Award (from left to right): Natascha Ueckmann, Julia Borst, Ansgar Gerhardus, Heinz Rothgang and Michael Claridge. © Harald Rehling/University of Bremen
Berninghausen Prize for excellent teaching awarded to Heinz Rothgang.

Often the daily routines of university campus life fall short of the Humboldtian ideal of an interdependence between excellent research and excellent teaching. Too many students, too much expense, too little time - there are enough reasons why even at universities students are experiencing too much teacher-centred teaching. With their concept for a three-semester long research/teaching project in the Master of Public Health Programme, Heinz Rothgang and Ansgar Gerhardus have succeeded in changing that. The Master in Public Health is intricately related to practice and interdisciplinary as well, but presupposes a profound knowledge of theories and methodology. Since many students have practical experience and are headed back to practice the research part of their Master often falls short of expectations.

In the three-semester long research/teaching project therefore, students are organizede into small groups which set out to develop scientifically sound concepts of intervention and evaluation based on a health issue of their choice. But that is not all. In cooperation with partner institutions such as health insurers or clinics the students also implement their ideas in the real world. Research becomes tangible, research results are authentic, and students are especially motivated. The Master in Public Health Programme already converted its full teaching concept to projects. The student feedback clearly endorses this change. The interdependence of research and teaching, theory and practice, instruction and independent work, university and external partners is well received.

The Berninghausen Prize has been awarded yearly since 1992 by the Society of the Friends of the University of Bremen and Jacobs University Bremen and is endowed with 2.000 Euros.


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Heinz Rothgang
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 3
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58557
E-Mail: rothgang@uni-bremen.de

Team of authors at SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy at the University of Bremen draws up Long-Term Care Report for BARMER GEK.

The ninth BARMER GEK Long-Term Care Report was presented to the public today at the Federal Press Conference. The report examines especially the effects of the most recent reforms in long-term care on the provision of care to those in need of it. The team, headed by Professor Heinz Rothgang and including Thomas Kalwitzki, Rolf Müller, Rebecca Runte und Rainer Unger, also scrutinized the regional differences in terms of long-term care requirements and provision structures. The data base for the report is primarily long-term care statistics for around 2.6 m. people in need of care, the German Socio-Economic Panel Study and routine insurance data from BARMER GEK, which covers approx. 10 percent of the population.

Main results of the Report:

  1. The reform measures taken so far are taking effect. Under the LTC Redirection Act (PNG, 2012) and the First Act to Strengthen Long-term Care (PSG I, 2015), specifically services for people with dementia were improved, and the provision of respite and part-time care was made more flexible. Figures show a marked increase in the utilization of these services in particular. Also dental care in care homes, which was also the subject of various new regulations, has been improved.

  2. The introduction of the new definition of the need for long-term care under the Second Act to Strengthen Long-term Care (PSG II, taking effect as per 1.1.2017) is a very generous, and hence very expensive, reform. It is calculated that additional expenditure will amount to more than 7 bn. Euros compared to the status quo. An increased contribution rate will generate more revenue from contributions; however, this will not suffice to cover the additional costs, even taking the surplus funds currently generated by care insurance into account. For 2017 a structural deficit of more than 3bn. Euros is anticipated.

  3. In nursing homes, the increased costs mean financial relief for those in need of long-term care and their families, and also indirectly for welfare agencies; however, nursing home revenues will not increase to the same degree. Thus, the reform does not mean that nursing homes will be better staffed. If we want higher staffing rates, further reforms will be necessary in the coming years.

  4. Immense differences can be observed from state to state in terms of the increased number of people in need of long-term care but also with regard care arrangements and the capacities within the formal care sector, and the extent of future gaps in the care workforce. It is clear from these discrepancies that long-term care must be conceptualized and planned at a regional or local level. 


Downloads (in German only):
BARMER GEK Long-Term Care Report 2016
Statement from Prof. Rothgang at the Press Conference on 24.11.2016
Presentation given by Prof. Rothgang at the Press Conference on 24.11.2016


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Heinz Rothgang
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 3
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58557
E-Mail: rothgang@uni-bremen.de

Dr. rer. pol. Rolf Müller
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 3
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58554
E-Mail: rmint@uni-bremen.de

Keith Banting lecture in the Jour Fixe of the SOCIUM.

Until the 1990s Canada was a typical re-distributive welfare state unlike to its southerly neighbor. But ever since the 2000s, together with the USA and Switzerland, the country belongs to the countries least redistributing in the OEDC-world. Keith Banting from Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario/Canada has not only proved a surprising development but he also offered an explanation: In the last 25 years, the redistribution of party political weights has, until recently, had the consequences that social inequality has not become an important topic of public interest.

Banting pointed out that in recent years liberals as well as conservatives and the new democratic social policy in a larger sense were defined as "protection of the middle class", which permitted all three to combine very different contents with such policies. Inequality was just one topic among many, so that the Canadian debate is much more diffuse than would be in the case of continental Europe.


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Céline Teney
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 3
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58644
E-Mail: celine.teney@uni-bremen.de

International Conference, University of Bremen, September 13-15 2017

Organizers 
Dr. Teresa Huhle & Prof. Dr. Delia Gonzalez de Reufels, Latin American History (History Department, Faculty 8), University of Bremen, in cooperation with the SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy, University of Bremen

The conference aims to bring together an international group of junior and senior scholars from history and related fields who are working on the history of social policies and the welfare state in the Global South from a transnational, entangled or global history perspective.

Together, we would like to discuss current trends of research as well as map out open questions of the field. During the last ten years, the historiography on social policies and the welfare state has started to participate in the transnational turn. However, the exchanges of knowledge, ideas and institutions have been predominantly studied among countries and regions of the Global North, also highlighting transfers from north to south. The way European powers have intervened within their colonial domains in Africa and Asia in social policy issues can serve as an example.

We attempt to broaden these perspectives on the directions of transfer and communication. We are especially interested in research that focuses on exchanges and processes of transfer which have worked in the south-south and south-north direction. These can include questions on the effects that colonial contestations of welfare measures had on the policies in the respective ¡¥motherlands¡¦, on regional exchanges during moments of crisis (e.g. in Latin America during the Great Depression) or on how delegates from the Global South shaped the social policies of international bodies like the International Labor Organization (ILO) or the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR).

In this context, we consider it promising to use a broad concept of the welfare state and its policies, including not only the classical domains of labor security and public health, but also encompassing fields like nutrition, reproduction, education, recreation and other emerging research perspectives.

The integration of a cultural history perspective will further enable us to look at representations and constructions of social problems in diverse spatial configurations. We consider these as directly intertwined with the policies directed at them and want to highlight that 'welfare problems' and their underlying social and moral assumptions traveled just as much.

We are furthermore particularly interested in discussing the role of policies and welfare measures in the processes of nation building, which both on an institutional and an identity level must be conceptualized as a global phenomena and transnational endeavor. At the same time, we consider it important to look at the formation and exchange of social policy ideas and institutions beyond the national level, highlighting both exchanges on the communal and provincial level and within regional cooperation and international organizations.

In sum, we are particularly interested in case studies which fit into this general framework. We invited contributions which pay particular attention to the following methodological and thematic aspects:

  • Transnational networks and actors who promoted and conceptualized social policies and their mobility, especially beyond the realm of policy makers and experts, highlighting the role of social movements, labor unions and health activists among others

  • The development and transfer of visual and graphic depictions of social problems and social policies

  • The gendered dimensions of social policies and political demands

  • Colonial and imperial social policies and their possible afterlives during nationhood

  • Cross-border struggles for the recognition of social rights

The discussion will be stimulated by keynote lectures, including Prof. Dr. Christoph Conrad (University of Geneva).

If you wish to participate in the conference, please send in an abstract (maximum length 300 words) and a short CV by October 31st, 2016 to teresa.huhle@uni-bremen.de
Notifications of acceptance will be sent out by mid-November 2016. A small travel allowance may be granted but funds are limited.

For further information please contact: teresa.huhle@uni-bremen.de

Download: Call for Papers

Innovation Report 2016Innovation Report 2016
The Evaluation of Pharmaceutical Products Introduced in 2013 and The Pharmaceutical Market Restructuring Act (AMNOG) Five Years on.

This is the fourth edition of the Innovation Report, drawn up by researchers at SOCIUM since 2013 (authors of the present edition are Daniela Boeschen, Dörte Fuchs, Judith Günther and Gerd Glaeske). The volume focuses primarily on 23 pharmaceutical produts that were launched on the German market in 2013, evaluating them in terms of their therapeutic benefit according to the standards of evidence-based medicine (EBM), their development on the market, and actual medical outcomes in the years 2013-14 on the basis of routine data from the Techniker Krankenkasse health insurance fund (TK).

The Pharmaceutical Market Restructuring Act (Arzneimittelmarktneuordnungsgesetz, or AMNOG) came into force on 1st January 2011, and requires that, without exception, all new prescription drugs available to patients covered by statutory health insurance must be tested for efficacy and above all for added benefits to patients that comparable existing therapies do not achieve. Altogether 156 testing procedures have been completed since 2011.

Overall, in 56.4 per cent of the procedures it was confirmed that the new drugs had an added benefit over a comparable therapy. This conclusion had already been reached by the Federal Joint Committee (Gemeinsamer Bundesausschuss, or G-BA, the highest decision-making body of the joint self-government of physicians, dentists, hospitals and health insurance funds in Germany) when it assessed the 100th active substance in late 2014. At the time, even the degree of additional benefit was differentiated: in 21 per cent of cases, and in the oncological drug market segment as much as 43 per cent, a significant additional benefit was ascertained. Negligible additional benefit was ascertained in 26 per cent of the cases assessed, and in eight per cent of the cases the benefit was not quantifiable. Frequently, however, there was no additional benefit for all of the patients with the indications in question, but rather only for certain subpopulations (approx. 40 per cent of cases), which meant that only a relatively small proportion of the patients benefited from the new drug (22 per cent).

The political intent of the legislation was to introduce a differentiation, regulated by statutory law, of the innovative degree of new pharmaceutical products in order to distinguish whether and to what extent they may be found to have a more positive therapeutic effect than approved comparative therapies. This objective was fulfilled in most cases, but experts were not always unanimous in their assessments. In fact, there were, and still are, discrepancies between the assessments of the German Institute for Quality and Cost Effectiveness in the Health Care Sector (Institut für Qualität und Wirtschaftlichkeit im Gesundheitswesen, or IQWiG), which compiles the dossiers preparatory to the decisions, and the conclusive decisions of the G-BA. For example, in 2014, IQWiG compiled 36 assessments for 33 active substances (not including orphan drugs). The G-BA did not endorse these assessments in all cases; in ten cases the G-BA reached a different conclusion on added benefits, and in five cases it increased or reduced the maximal degree of beneficial effects, which amounts to an adjustment rate of 30.3 per cent. It is conceivable that IQWiG carries out very strict assessments of the available evidence, while the G-BA takes aspects of provision more strongly into account.

As in the Innovation Report 2015, almost half of the new active substances introduced are for use in oncology. A close look at the TK’s expenditure for new drugs in 2013 shows that many of these new oncology products follow close behind the front runner Teriflunomid, a product for treating multiple sclerosis. The soaring costs of pharmacotherapy, brought on by high-priced pharmaceuticals now available on the market, especially in the areas of oncology and immunology, is causing excessive budgetary strain on Germany’s solidarity-based healthcare system, and there is an urgent need to amend the criteria for pricing new substances – that is one of the major conclusions drawn in the Innovation Report. The AMNOG was introduced as a learning system, and should therefore be amended when shortcomings and weaknesses become clear. This also applies to the tardy assessment of many pharmaceuticals of which too little is known about benefits to patients directly after approval. This is true of the majority of drugs newly available on the market – namely oncology products. Studies are urgently needed that document treatment outcomes in the three years following authorisation, thus allowing a more comprehensive assessment of the benefits and risks of the drugs in question. Reimbursement prices should ultimately be negotiated on the basis of that assessment. In terms of assessing new pharmaceutical products, AMNOG is undoubtedly a step in the right direction, but the legislation should be improved on an ongoing basis to establish more a reliable basis for decision-making.

Downloads (in German only):
Long Version: Innovationsreport 2016
Short Version: Innovationsreport 2016

Press Conference statement by Gerd Glaeske
Press Conference presentation by Gerd Glaeske


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Gerd Glaeske
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 3
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58559
E-Mail: gglaeske@uni-bremen.de

Prof. Dr. Karin GottschallProf. Dr. Karin Gottschall
Federal Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Andrea Nahles introduces new measures to strengthen research activities on social policies and the Welfare state in Germany.

Around 30 percent of the GDP in Germany are produced or consumed by the welfare state. More than 40 percent of the federal budget is allocated to social policies. Nevertheless, due to a reduction in the number of professorships on social policy social scientific research on the welfare state is in decline. The “Network Promoting Interdisciplinary Research on Social Policy”, initiated by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, attempts to reverse this trend. Endowment chairs, promotion of young scholars, financial support for research activities – there is a broad spectrum of possible initiatives which will be supported by various sponsors already starting in 2017/18. The new-established interdisciplinary Advisory Board is primarily tasked with quality management.

In recent years various observers in Germany deplored the declining number and importance of social scientific research on the welfare state while at the same time the political, social and financial importance of social policies increased. Universities changed the designation of new chairs in social sciences. Research institutes realigned their focus. This leads to a major gap in research at a time when social and global developments result in pressing new questions regarding welfare and social justice. In February 2016 the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities organized a conference with sociologists, political scientists, economists, law scholars, historians as well as Christian social ethicists on the question of “Is there a Crisis of Social Policy Research?” in which several members of the SOCIUM participated. One result was the foundation of the “Network Promoting Interdisciplinary Research on Social Policy” based on a funding guideline of the Federal Ministry. The newly established Advisory Board convened on June 2nd, 2016 for its inaugural meeting and discussed funding for different types of research and networking. The program is to be announced by July 2016. Approved research proposals will commence in 2017/18.


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Karin Gottschall
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 5
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58595
E-Mail: karin.gottschall@uni-bremen.de

Laura SeelkopfLaura Seelkopf
1.106 applications for 47 fellowships.

The European University Institute is one of the most coveted Social Science research facilities in the world; and that not only for questions of European integration or European Union politics. Rather, over the last four decades the institute developed into one of the leading centers for comparative research on societies and political systems. Not surprisingly its positions are much sought after, whether it is a job offer for a professorship or a place in a fellowship program. One of the most coveted is a fellowship in the Max Weber Programme for Postdoctoral Studies. For the eleventh cohort for the year 2016/2017 more than 1.100 applications for somewhat less than 50 scholarships arrived in Florence. And now it is official: Laura Seelkopf is one of the 47 successful postdocs who are invited for a year of exciting research in Florence starting September 2016.

The Max Weber Programme of the European University Institute is widely considered to be a renowned interim stage for excellent postdocs on their way to a professorship. Florence not only offers outstanding research facilities but also an interdisciplinary research community which allows the fellows to extend their views beyond their immediate focus of studies and to expand their academic network globally. The research project, which Laura Seelkopf will pursue in Florence, deals with the comparative political economy of national tax policies and their effects on economic inequality.

  • How can we explain the different national decisions concerning direct taxation?
  • And what effects do these different systems of direct taxation have on economic inequality?


The aim of the research is to find out under which conditions direct taxation is used to reduce economic inequalities.


Contact:
Dr. Laura Seelkopf
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 3
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58605
E-Mail: laura.seelkopf@uni-bremen.de