CRC 1342 “Global Dynamics of Social Policy”

Social policy aims to protect social rights and to create social security. In addition to the market and familial support networks, social policy is a key producer of welfare. In the Collaborative Research Centre 1342 (CRC) we analyse the global dynamics of public social policy. Its research focus and design go beyond earlier social policy research in three regards: 

(1) Geographically, it systematically includes countries from the Global South in the analysis and breaks with the OECD-centrism of past research. 

(2) Conceptually, it builds upon a wider understanding of social policy by including – in accordance with the Anglo-Saxon understanding of the welfare state – education policy as a fundamental policy for promoting equality of opportunities.

(3) Analytically, it replaces social policy research’s domestic orientation towards the nation state with an interdependence-centred approach, placing and analysing common determinants of social policy in the context of transregional and global interrelationships. In the analysis of global dynamics of social policy, cross-border interdependencies such as de-(colonisation), war, trade relationships, capital movements, migration flows, transnational news and information links, international organisations, and international treaties, come to the fore. Our central assumption is that only through the interplay of national frameworks with horizontal and vertical international interdependencies can the developmental processes and dynamics of social policy in a global and historical perspective be adequately explained.

The CRC comprises 15 sub-projects and is divided into two project areas

Project Area A

The six projects in project area A mainly rely on macro-quantitative techniques to analyse and explain social policy dynamics in a global perspective. They focus on explaining the (non-)emergence of social security programmes, be it in the fields of employment protection and legislation; provision for old-age, accidents or unemployment; health and long-term care; family or education policy. During the first phase we are especially interested in the introduction and diffusion of social policy: which countries were the (regional) pioneers and why? What was the order and timing of the introduction of which social policy programmes in different parts of the world? To what extent were the emergence, expansion and retrenchment of social policy driven by international influences or affected by domestic factors? A central objective being pursued by all sub-projects in project area A is the development of the Global Welfare State Information System (WeSIS) on global social policy covering the period from 1880 to 2020. WeSIS will facilitate the visualisation of social policy dynamics in the form of a global social policy atlas. Sub-project A01 is dedicated to building this database. It is closely interlocked with the other sub-projects in project area A and serves as the hub of the entire CRC. Nevertheless, sub-project A01 also uses these data to pursue its own research programme.

A01: Measuring the global dynamics of social policy and cross-national interdependencies—Co-Creating the Global Welfare State Information System
Principal investigators: Andreas Breiter, Ivo Mossig, Carina Schmitt 

A02: Constituting the welfare state in a global perspective: Determinants of social security programmes
Principal investigators: Herbert Obinger, Carina Schmitt, Laura Seelkopf 

A03: Worlds of Labour: Normative standards of employment relationships as national and global patterns of welfare state development
Principal investigators: Ulrich Mückenberger, Irene Dingeldey 

A04: Global developments in health care systems and long-term care services
Principal investigators: Heinz Rothgang, Lorraine Frisina-Doetter, Sebastian Haunss 

A05: The global development, diffusion and transformation of education systems
Principal investigators: Kerstin Martens, Michael Windzio 

A06: Formation and Diffusion of Family Policy in a Global Perspective
Principal investigators: Johannes Huinink, Sonja Drobnič 

Project Area B

Project area B comprises nine projects that apply qualitative, case study analyses to investigate in detail the causal pathways between international interdependencies and social policy dynamics in selected groups of countries. During the first phase, the guiding question is: by means of which causal mechanisms do interdependencies between states interact with national constellations to affect the introduction, diffusion, generosity, and degree of inclusion of social policy and which types of interdependencies – mediated by which national determinants – explain the different consolidation trajectories and scopes of social policy? A central goal across all the sub-projects of project area B is to develop a general theoretical framework of social policy dynamics, an approach which overcomes the pure nation-state narrative. It will do so by capturing the causal mechanisms leading to the emergence of public social policy due to the interaction between national factors with inter- and transnational interdependencies. This task is the responsibility of a dedicated sub-project (B01), which in close cooperation with the other nine sub-projects in project area B not only collates the work in this department but also theoretically informs the sub-projects in project area A. Together with the database sub-project in project area A (sub-project A01), the theoretical sub-project (B01) builds the linchpin between the two project areas. 

B01: Mechanisms of social policy diffusion
Principal Investigators: Delia González de Reufels, Frank Nullmeier, Klaus Schlichte 

B02: Emergence, expansion, and transformation of the welfare state in the Cono Sur in exchange with Southern Europe (1850–1990)
Principial Investigator: Delia González de Reufels 

B03: International complementarities in the development of the welfare state: The transatlantic sphere (1870–2020)
Principal investigators: Philip Manow, Sarah Berens (University of Cologne) 

B04: Open welfare states? Social protection of labour migration and its repercussions for national policies
Principal investigator: Susanne K. Schmidt 

B05: Dynamics of Chinese social policy: Interplay of national and international influences
Principal investigators: Tobias ten Brink (Jacobs University Bremen), Tao Liu (University of Duisburg-Essen) 

B06: External reform models and internal debates on the new conceptualisation of social policy in the post-Soviet region
Principal Investigator: Heiko Pleines 

B07: Transnational service provision in long-term care services in Western and Eastern Europe
Principal investigators: Karin Gottschall, Heinz Rothgang 

B08: Transformation of health care systems in Central and Eastern Europe
Principal investigators: Mirella Cacace, Monika Ewa Kaminska-Visser 

B09: The rise, decay and renaissance of social policy in Africa
Principal investigators: Klaus Schlichte, Alex Veit