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Edited by Stephan Leibfried, Evelyne Huber, Matthew Lange, Jonah D. Levy, Frank Nullmeier, and John D. Stephens.

This Handbook offers a comprehensive treatment of transformations of the state, from its origins in different parts of the world and different time periods to its transformations since World War II in the advanced industrial countries, the post-Communist world, and the Global South.

Leading experts in their fields, from Europe and North America, discuss conceptualizations and theories of the state and the transformations of the state in its engagement with a changing international environment as well as with changing domestic economic, social, and political challenges. The Handbook covers different types of states in the Global South (from failed to predatory, rentier and developmental), in different kinds of advanced industrial political economies (corporatist, statist, liberal, import substitution industrialization), and in various post-Communist countries (Russia, China, successor states to the USSR, and Eastern Europe). It also addresses crucial challenges in different areas of state intervention, from security to financial regulation, migration, welfare states, democratization and quality of democracy, ethno-nationalism, and human development.

The volume makes a compelling case that far from losing its relevance in the face of globalization, the state remains a key actor in all areas of social and economic life, changing its areas of intervention, its modes of operation, and its structures in adaption to new international and domestic challenges.

Download:
Table of Contents

More information:
Oxford University Press


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Frank Nullmeier
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58576
E-Mail: frank.nullmeier@uni-bremen.de

Prof. Dr. Stephan Leibfried
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 5
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58606
E-Mail: stlf@uni-bremen.de

Karl Hinrichs: In the Wake of the Crisis: Pension Reforms in Eight European Countries

The 2008 financial market crisis, followed by the Great Recession and sovereign debt crises in several EU countries have triggered drastic reforms of old-age security systems. They were supposed to ensure the financial viability of public pension schemes in the short and long run and/or to realize notions of intergenerational fairness. Most urgently, however, was regaining room for fiscal manoeuvre and obtaining financial aid from supranational organizations (such as IMF or EU).

These pension reforms differ from previous changes with regard to their scope and the political process.
(1) They were large, thus causing a substantial and immediate impact on the living conditions of present and future retirees and, sometimes, changed the hitherto pursued policy direction.
(2) The post-2008 reforms swiftly passed the legislative process and were implemented at short notice. Hence, they can be considered as "rapid policy changes".

This paper analyses pension reforms in eight crisis-shaken EU countries: Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Portugal, Romania, and Spain. It explores both reform contents and circumstances which led to the respective changes or facilitated them. As is shown, the challenges, which those countries were (or still are) confronted with, allowed or enforced alterations that would not have been feasible otherwise, or which would rather not have been initiated by the respective governments with regard to the political consequences. Moreover, cross-national comparison reveals similarities and differences and also sheds light on the social consequences that are already visible today.

Download: ZeS Working Paper 01/2015

Professor Stefan Traub, Spokesman of the new research groupProfessor Stefan Traub, Spokesman of the new research group
Centre for Social Policy Research contributes spokesman and two projects.

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.


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Stefan Traub

Book cover: Problem Altersarmut?Book cover: Problem Altersarmut?
Dissertation of Magnus Brosig published in ZeS book series.

The dissertation of Magnus Brosig (accepted in December 2013) has now been published as part of the ZeS book series on August 14th.

While to date, social science research concerned with 'new old-age poverty' has focused on problems and possible solutions, this study extends that strand of research by analysing the pertinent ideas of parties and associations, illustrating basic values, corresponding problems and output preferences, and finally deriving 'corridors of reform' in the field of pension policy.

All in all, it finds that a pronounced institutional conservatism makes reforms catering to the needs of people with discontinuous careers very much unlikely. In fact, a large majority of actors shows no interest in unconditional prevention of old-age poverty, but rather seeks to improve the situation of those considered to be 'guiltless victims' of previous pension cuts. Therefore, the political debate on poverty in old age does not fundamentally centre on problems faced by individuals, but on the 'collective' issue of legitimacy of the compulsory pension system which is commonly expected to continue to reward substantial social security contributions with adequate benefits and thus to remain clearly different from the social assistance scheme.


Contact:
Dr. Magnus Brosig

Documentation of the 26th Bremer Universitäts-Gespräche (Bremer University-Talks) has been published.

The discussions of academics as well as economic, social and political representatives on “Die Zukunft des Sozialstaates” (The Future of the Welfare State) are now publicly available in a documented way.

Frank Nullmeier and Herbert Obinger, both professors at the Centre for Social Policy Research (ZeS) at the University of Bremen, were in charge for the scientific coordination of the 26th Bremer Universitäts-Gespräche in November 2013.

Six keynote speeches allowed controversial discussions on: effects and impacts of the financial and Euro crises on social policy, new and old inequalities as well as the ‘social investment state’ as one way out.

The documentation contains contributions by Klaus Armingeon, Werner Eichhorst, Armin Schäfer, Waltraut Schelkle, Friedrich Breyer, Rita Nikolai, Marius R. Busemeyer and Heiko Staroßom.

The documentation “Die Zukunft des Sozialstaates“ (only in German) is now available at the publishing company.

Further information:
Isensee Verlag
26. Bremer Universitäts-Gespräche 2013, Wolfgang-Ritter-Stiftung Bremen


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Frank Nullmeier
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58576
E-Mail: frank.nullmeier@uni-bremen.de

Prof. Dr. Herbert Obinger
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 5
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58567
E-Mail: herbert.obinger@uni-bremen.de

Frank Nullmeier: Out of the Public Eye - The International Labour Organisation in the Media

Politics takes place in public communication and is part of public communication. Today, public communication is substantially determined by the media. This is also the case for the field of global social policy. The following study addresses the question of how global social policy and, in particular, the International Labour Organization (ILO) as the key player in global social policy, is discussed in the media.

  • Are global social policy and the ILO visible at all in the media?
  • To what extent is the organisation visible?
  • How do the media report about the ILO and on what exactly does media coverage of the ILO focus?

Download: ZeS Working Paper 01/2014

Logo University Talks (Logo University Talks ("Universitäts-Gespräche")
Frank Nullmeier and Herbert Obinger are responsible for the scientific coordination of the 26th University Talks ("Universitäts-Gespräche").

The two professors and heads of departments at the Centre of Social Policy Research (ZeS) were asked to assume scientific responsibility for the 26th University Talks, taking place on November 28 and 29 and funded by the Wolfgang-Ritter-Foundation, the Society of Friends and Sponsors of Bremen University ("Unifreunde e.V."), and the University of Bremen. This year’s talks will address the future prospects of the welfare state in Germany and Europe.

Starting event is a public ceremony held at the historical Stadtwaage (municipal weigh house) in Bremen. This event will feature opening remarks by Prof. Dr. Helge Bernd von Ahsen (chairman of the Wolfgang-Ritter-Foundation) and Prof. Dr. Eva Quante-Brandt (Senator of Education and Science of Bremen), which will be followed by a keynote lecture by Prof. Dr. Klaus Armingeon (University of Bern) on "Social policy in times of permanent austerity". The University Talks will be continued on the next day with a closed meeting bringing together experts from science and politics. External guests from science are: Prof. Dr. Friedrich Breyer (University of Konstanz), Prof. Dr. Marius R. Busemeyer (University of Konstanz), Dr. Werner Eichhorst (Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), Bonn), Prof. Dr. Rita Nikolai (Humboldt-University of Berlin), Dr. Armin Schäfer (Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, Cologne), and Prof. Dr. Waltraud Schelkle (LSE, London).

As political experts Peter Rudolph (member of the national board of CDA), Cornelius Neumann-Redlin (industry association of Bremen), Brigitte Pothmer (member of the Bundestag, Bündnis 90/Die Grünen), Dr. Carsten Sieling (member of the Bundestag, SPD) und Dr. Hans Jürgen Urban (Trade union IG Metall) will participle along with Kolja Rudzio (economics editor of the newspaper “ZEIT”) and Ottmar Willi Weber (Moderator, Radio Bremen/Nordwestradio).

The University Talks focus on an up-to-date topic: The welfare state with its extensive systems of social security against various ‘traditional’ and ‘new’ social risks as old age, unemployment, disability, child and elderly care, and poverty has become a structural characteristic of developed democracies. After World War II, the welfare state was central to the economic, political and social integration of society. Furthermore, the welfare state played a crucial role for the legitimization and stabilisation of democracy and facilitated social participation to a hitherto unknown extent. Today, social expenditure for the welfare state amounts to approximately 28 per cent of the GDP, 58 per cent of the total expenditure respectively, and thus, makes up the largest part of public spending in Germany. However, new challenges arise while at the same time economic globalisation, Europeanisation, and increasing state deficits as a consequence of the financial crisis impose limits on the power of nation states.

Against this background, the experts from science and policy will discuss the future prospects of the welfare state in Germany and Europe.


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Frank Nullmeier
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58576
E-Mail: frank.nullmeier@uni-bremen.de

Prof. Dr. Herbert Obinger
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 5
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58567
E-Mail: herbert.obinger@uni-bremen.de

Kristin BothurKristin Bothur
In April 2013, Kristin Bothur has started her new position as research coordinator at the Centre for Social Policy Research. The coordination of the Master Programme "Social Policy" has been transferred to Irina Wiegand.

Since April 12, 2013, Kristin Bothur is the new research coordinator of the Centre for Social Policy Research succeeding Christian Peters. The planning and coordination of the interdisciplinary working institute’s research perspectives as well as the extension of national and international cooperation and public relations belong to her new responsibilities.

Kristin Bothur began working at the Centre for Social Policy Research in November 2009, at which she was responsible for the planning and conceptualization of several research projects in social sciences - for instance, the research network “Welfare Societies” and its corresponding activities. She is also an Affiliated Fellow at the Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences (BIGSSS), since 2012. Her dissertation is on the socio-economic status of freelancing musicians in Germany. Before working at the University of Bremen, she studied political and administrative science and philosophy in Erfurt, Konstanz and Toronto.

Dr. Irina Wiegand Since April 1, 2013, the Master program “Social Policy” of the Centre for Social Policy Research is coordinated by Irina Wiegand. Her main tasks are advising interested persons, mentoring students and building up an alumni network. Besides that, she aims at the extension of international cooperation in academic teaching. One current project  is to transform the cooperation with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill into a Double Degree Program.

After her studies in Political Science, Roman Literature and Languages and International Relations, Irina Wiegand gained first experiences in coordinating a study program at Jacobs University Bremen. She then worked at the University of Bremen and completed her doctorate with a stipend of the Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences (BIGSSS). In the previous years, Irina Wiegand held several positions at universitary institutions.


Contact:
Dr. Irina Wiegand
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58508
E-Mail: irina.wiegand@uni-bremen.de

Hinrichs, Karl; Brosig, Magnus: Die Staatsschuldenkrise und die Reform von Alterssicherungssystemen in europäischen Ländern

The „Great Recession“ and sovereign debt crises in several EU countries in the wake of the 2008 financial market crisis have triggered drastic reforms of old-age security systems. They aim at ensuring the funding of pensions in the short and long run, regaining room for fiscal manoeuvre, getting access to financial aid, or realizing notions of intergenerational fairness. Almost exclusively, the reforms meant retrenchments with often severe and immediate consequences for the living conditions of present and future pensioners. The paper deals with reforms in nine EU countries: Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Portugal, Romania, Spain, and the UK. It looks into the reform contents and the circumstances which led to the respective changes or facilitated them. It is shown that the challenges these countries were (or still are) confronted with allowed or enforced alterations which would not have been feasible otherwise or which would not have been initiated by governments in view of the political consequences. Moreover, cross-national comparison reveals similarities and differences and also sheds light on the social consequences that are already visible today.

 Download: ZeS Working Paper 02/2013

on June 17-18, 2010 in the Centre for Social Policy Research, University of Bremen.

Stephan Köppe (University of Edinburgh), Florian Blank (WSI - Institute of Economic and Social Research) and Tanja Klenk (ZeS) organised a workshop on welfare markets at the Centre for Social Policy Research. The participants discussed the role of actors in welfare markets during the two day event.

The workshop brought together senior and junior researchers in the field to establish a network on privatisation and marketisation in social policy. The German scholars were accompanied by researchers from Britain and France with participants presenting several comparative studies.
The first day covered the role of business interest and decision makers. The lectures debated companies’ strategies in welfare markets such as lobbying, marketing and social management. The presentations focussing on the role of decision makers emphasised local government implementation strategies, unions’ positions and religious interest groups.
The second day was comprised of theoretical and empirical contributions specifically focussed on consumers. The participants discussed: the multiple user roles on welfare markets, information and institutional settings to influence consumer behaviour, and the take-up of private insurance such as pension cover or mortgage payment protection insurance.

This was the third workshop by the group and further activities are planned both within the network of young researchers and along with more issue specific expert workshops for a broader audience such as practitioners in welfare markets.


Contact:
Dr. Tanja Klenk