Mot ett socialt hållbart samhälle? Välfärdsstatens institutioner och individuella resurser i ett föränderligt Europa

Project leader

Funding source

Forte - Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare

Project Details

Start date: 30/05/2012
Funding: 6000000 SEK


European welfare states are in the process of rapid and profound transformation. Social insurance programs that were built up during the 20th century to protect citizens from economic vagaries in the labor market have been criticized as counter-productive and have in many cases been scaled back. Against a backdrop of economic change, concerns have been raised in relation to labor force participation, and in many countries changes to welfare states have been introduced to create more employment friendly societies. This development coincides with an expansion of public commitment in areas such as social investments in education and public services of various kinds. The purpose of this research program is to analyze causes and consequences of the fundamental institutional changes introduced to the Swedish welfare state in comparative perspective. Due to the nature of institutional change and the shift in public commitments from income redistribution to encouragement of labor supply, focus is on the interplay between cash benefits (e.g. social insurance, social assistance and child benefits) and public services (broadly defined as also including education and training) primarily targeted at the working age population. This perspective on welfare state re-organization brings the linkages between different welfare state programs at the core of the empirical analysis, thus opening up new perspectives on the extent to which social policies affect the distribution of capabilities in society. Our working hypothesis is that the resilience of welfare states and social policies are closely related to the way in which countries have arranged cash benefit programs and public services in four fundamental areas: family policy, educational policy, health policy, and labor market policy. The reforms introduced to these policy areas in Sweden and other European countries will inform the comparative analyses on social policy organization and change carried out in this research program.

Last updated on 2017-22-03 at 07:13