Global Social Policy

In recent times, social protection has been one of the most popular instruments for promoting human development worldwide. Since the late 19th century, nearly all countries on the globe, even in the poorest regions of the world, have implemented some kind of social protection. While in Western welfare states typically the majority of people is covered by social protection schemes, the coverage and generosity of social protection in many developing countries is highly limited. The working group "Global Social Policy" analyses the determinants and outcomes of different configurations of social protection from a global perspective.

Research questions

We focus on the following research questions:

  • Why has social protection developed so differently in terms of coverage and generosity?

  • Why has social protection in some countries levelled out social inequalities by protecting the poorest and most vulnerable groups in society, while in others it has contributed to a deepening of pervasive social inequalities?

  • How has the colonial legacy influenced the origins and outcomes of early and contemporary social protection?

  • Is social protection in democracies more inclusive and generous than in autocracies?

  • Do countries influence one another when it comes to social policy making, for example, due to competition or coercion?

Research methods

In terms of methods we apply quantitative estimation techniques such as panel data and event history analyses or spatial econometrics but also qualitative procedures such as process tracing. Furthermore, this working group investigates how quantitative method standards in comparative public policy research influence the substance and interpretations of empirical results.

Research topics

The working group focuses on the following current reserach topics:

  • The influence of the colonial legacy on the origins and outcomes of social protection in the Global South

  • The role of international interdependencies for social protection across the globe

  • Determinants of old age protection in the Global South

  • The spread of tax-financed social protection in the Global South

  • Partisan effects and panel data analyses