Centre for Social Policy Research (Zentrum für Sozialpolitik)
Room: 3260
Parkallee 39
28209 Bremen
16:00 - 18:00

In 2010, Hartz IV celebrates its fifth birthday. As one of the most contentious reforms of the post-war period, it has effectively changed labor-market and social policies in Germany. With their recently published book “Der Fall Hartz IV” (Campus Verlag, Frankfurt a.M.), Anke Hassel and Christof Schiller present the first complete history of the reform, take stock of the current situation and dare to envision future prospects. In a lecture at the Centre for Social Policy Research on November 18, 2010, the authors made clear that the Hartz IV project contradicts popular assumptions about Germany’s capacity for reform as well as concepts of welfare state research. The authors argued that by implementing Hartz IV the Schröder administration proved to have more strategic foresight than generally was assumed. At the same time, the structures of German federalism caused a number of unintended results. Particularly concerning labor-market policy, Hartz IV has proved to be a successful change of the socio-political paradigm, contributing to a significantly increased employment rate. However, the reform can only be considered as a beginning. The authors pleaded for the fact that the dramatic expansion of the low-wage sector, as compared internationally, must be met with a lowering of the tax burden and the introduction of a legal minimum wage. In addition, the financial power of the federal states and German municipalities should be increased effectively, so that a breakthrough can be achieved in the provision of child care and educational opportunities.