1 – Welfare States in Transition: Bringing light into the ‘black boxes’ of reform processes

Stream convenors:

  • Dr. Sonja Blum, University of Vienna, Austrian Institute for Family Studies, Grillparzerstraße 7/9, A-1010 Vienna, phone: +43 (0)1 4277 48910, e-mail:
  • Johanna Kuhlmann M.A., TU Braunschweig, Institute for Social Sciences, Bienroder Weg 97, D-38106 Braunschweig, phone: +49 (0)531 391 8906, e-mail:

Welfare states in Europe, and beyond, are confronted with a number of crucial challenges. As a consequence, there are by no means ‘frozen’ welfare state landscapes, but constant changes. In recent years, important social policy changes that have been identified include, to name but a few, transitions towards a social-investment perspective, reactions to the economic crisis as well as to the ‘refugee crisis’. The reasons for welfare state transition are manifold. They are, however, not simply reactions to socio-economic challenges, but show differences e.g. according to political parties in government or prevalent policy discourses.

Against that background, rather than taking a broad view on social policy developments, this stream focuses on social policy change along sectoral lines (e.g. pensions, labour market, health, or family policy). It wants to bring together papers that analyse and explain recent social policy changes from a
policy analysis perspective. Thereby, the stream aims at 1) bringing light into the ‘black boxes’ of social policy decision-making by adopting a policy-process perspective, and 2) reviewing and evaluating recent theoretical developments in policy analysis by dealing with social policy developments.

We invite papers that analyse social policy by using theories of the policy process – such as the Multiple Streams Framework, the Advocacy Coalition Framework, the Institutional Development and Analysis Framework or the Punctuated Equilibrium Theory. Comparative papers, covering more than one welfare state or policy sector, are particularly welcome. Papers that adopt a policy-oriented perspective by focusing on elements such as (actors‘) interests, policy ideas, or governance arrangements are also invited.

2 – European family policy in times of societal change and permanent austerity: drivers, patterns and future challenges

Stream convenors:

  • Professor Mikael Nygård, Åbo Akademi University, Faculty of Education and Wellbeing Studies, Strandg. 2, PB 311, FIN-65101 VAASA, FINLAND, phone: +358-6-3247 493, e-mail:
  • Dr. Mia Hakovirta, University of Turku, Department of Social Research, Assistentinkatu 7, FIN-20014, TURUN YLIOPISTO, phone +358407511168, email:

The public commitment to families in Europe has over the years become increasingly challenged by growing economic strains and new social risks. Not only has large parts of Europe suffered from long-term economic stagnation which has been coupled, and even fuelled, by austerity measures, but there is also an increasing diversity in household structures, which in combination with growing job insecurity, increasing economic vulnerability and problems of balancing work with family lives, creates challenges to family policy. Despite common policy ambitions, such as the EU2020 strategy, with its ambitions to reduce child poverty, increase parental employment and achieve work-family balance, European countries today tend to respond to these challenges in different ways with varying outcomes on family policies and family wellbeing. For example, European countries have not been successful in reducing child poverty with a considerable share of vulnerable families remaining dependent upon public support despite increases in average family incomes. Furthermore, despite recent policy innovations, such social investment approaches that aim at avoiding and alleviating poverty, the economic crisis and the increasing government commitment to austerity politics in many European welfare states have aggravated the opportunities of combating poverty and other social problem trough fiscal stimulus. The objective of this stream is to discuss the present achievements and future prospects of European family policy in times of societal change, new social risks and permanent austerity. The stream welcomes papers that analyse drivers, patterns and future challenges of family policy from, both a quantitative and qualitative angle, and from a European or international perspective. The stream particularly welcomes comparative assessments that focus on how societal change and austerity are shaping family policy, but also invites country-specific papers on these matters.

3 – International developments in the provision of long term care: the emergence of care chains and care drain

Stream convenors:

  • Prof. Dr. Heinz Rothgang, Director, Department of Health, Long-term Care, and Pensions, Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy (SOCIUM) at the University of Bremen, Mary-Somerville-Str. 5, 28359, Bremen, Germany. Email:  Tel: +49 421 218 58 557.
  • Dr. Lorraine Frisina-Doetter, Senior Research Fellow, Department of Health, Long-term Care, and Pensions, Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy (SOCIUM) at the University of Bremen, Mary-Somerville-Str. 5, 28359, Bremen, Germany. Email: . Tel: +49 421 218 58 5661.

Long term care systems range widely in the nature of how care is delivered – by whom and in what form – which bears direct consequences for welfare states’ reliance on formal and informal care givers.  Due to workforce shortages in Western countries, recruitment policies aimed at Eastern Europe and the Global South have contributed to the phenomenon of care chains, referring to the complex interconnections amongst typically female care givers along distinct migration paths; as well as the related phenomenon of care drain, referring to the holes in supply of care givers in sending countries in the aftermath of migration. The proposed session will examine theoretical frameworks surrounding these concepts, as well as consider evidence on the driving forces and consequences of international development s in the provision of long term care for both sending and receiving countries within and beyond Europe.  Submissions that address related issues regarding the interconnections between globalization, migration and long term care policy will also be considered.

4 – Welfare Reform and Austerity: international perspectives on increasing demand and diminishing resources

Stream convenors:

  • Professor Christina Beatty, Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research (CRESR), Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield S1 1WB, United Kingdom, email:, phone: +44 1142253073
  • Larissa Povey, Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research (CRESR), Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield S1 1WB, United Kingdom, email:, phone: +44 1142253073
  • Dr Jon Warren, Centre for Health and Inequalities Research, Dept of Geography, Durham University, Durham DH1 3LE, United Kingdom, email: phone: +44 191 3340829

European welfare states have been under enormous pressure since the financial crisis in 2008/09.  Continued weak economic growth in many regions has contributed to widening social inequality, stubborn levels of unemployment, low-wages and increasing labour market precarity (Bieling, 2012; Thompson, 2013; Loopstra, 2015; Beatty and Fothergill, 2016a 2016b).  In many countries this has persistently placed welfare reform and austerity at the heart of national policy agendas and deficit reduction plans.  Increasing demand for support is therefore juxtaposed with diminishing resources.  Tasked with finding ways to do more for less, we are witnessing welfare states reaching the limits of their redistributive capacities.

Across Europe, in both social assistance and social insurance welfare regimes, a variety of welfare reforms have come to the fore which aim to incentivise and support out-of-work claimants to engage in the workforce or penalise those who are unable to do so.  A range of activation policies which include reductions to entitlement and eligibility, neoliberal out-sourcing or third sector provision of support services, and increased conditionality or sanctions have been implemented.  Conditionality for the receipt of social assistance is an accepted principle in many states (Clasen and Clegg, 2007), but under austerity we have seen a growing harshness in many welfare systems.  Welfare reforms are not just limited to reductions in income, housing support and welfare services for the unemployed, those in receipt of disability or sickness benefits, or single parent families, but reforms are also becoming increasingly punitive.  A deficit model predicated on the individual being responsible for their lack of employment, rather than acknowledging structural regional and sub-regional labour market forces at play, has become the dominant discourse in many political contexts.

This stream encourages papers which explore the context, policy and practice of welfare reform, conditionality and activation policies in EU welfare states post-crisis under neoliberal austerity.  We will seek to include perspectives that reflect the diverse employment and welfare systems and strategies of member states and beyond.

5 – European social policy

Stream convenors:

  • Caroline de la Porte, Professor MSO, Copenhagen Business School: Department of Business and Politics, email:
  • Margarita León, Associate professor Political Science, Universitat Autònoma Barcelona, Bellaterra 08193 (Spain), email:

Almost a decade after the outbreak of the Great Recession, research regarding the impact of the fiscal debt crisis and the changed EMU and social governance on welfare state reform is emerging. However, the literature is still at its infancy, and the causal link between the EU and labour market and welfare state reform deserves to be analysed further. The literature includes detailed accounts about how the EU has been affecting welfare state reforms, especially in those countries under strict conditionality. There also are good theoretical elaborations on shifts in the European integration project and how change has played out at the discourse level (see for instance Streeck’s ‘European consolidation state’) and in the now more centralised institutional framework, known as the European Semester. However, this is far from a crowded field of study and we still need better understandings of how this on-going process related to restructuring the EMU and its social dimension is altering the way in which political institutions work, at EU and member state level. We need an investigation of (altered) roles of EU in social and labour market policy in the current context marked by EU scepticism, low growth and a weaker position of the political establishment across Europe. In particular, it would be important to find out what the consequences of changes of EMU and social policy governance are for reform processes, output and outcome, across member states. Linked to this, it would be important to uncover the political implications of this transformation for the European integration project and European democracies more generally, reflecting on issues of popular legitimacy. Furthermore, it is necessary to investigate other more long-standing institutionalised initiatives in EU and labour market and social policy, such as related to gender equality, labour law or working conditions.

This panel welcomes papers on the changing ‘European social model’ delineated above, we welcome contributions from different theoretical, analytical and methodological perspectives, presenting either case studies or comparative work. The panel welcomes papers on countries severely hit by the crisis, but also papers that include countries not as affected, as a ‘litmus test’ for the altered governance procedures.

6 – At the edge of the welfare state: marginal populations as policy challenge

Stream convenors:

  • Evelyne Baillergeau, University of Amsterdam, Department of Sociology, PO Box 15508, 1001 NA Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Tel: +31 655409475, e-mail:
  • Dorota Lepianka, Utrecht University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Heidelberglaan 1, de Uithof, 3584 CS Utrecht, the Netherlands.  Tel: +31 30-253 4076, e-mail:
  • Nienke Boesveldt, Utrecht University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Heidelberglaan 1, de Uithof, 3584 CS Utrecht, the Netherlands. Tel: +31 30-253 4076, e-mail:

The stream focuses on those whose presence in public space suggests that they might have dropped out of welfare and live on the “fringe” of society: rough-sleepers, beggars,  informal street vendors, casual labourers, regulars at private charities – food banks, soup kitchens and thrift stores, as well as those who have never truly “entered” the welfare state, like travellers, undocumented immigrants and/or illegal labourers – in short, all those who constitute a (moral) challenge to the welfare state by exposing its ineffectiveness in providing an appropriate safety net and/or enhancing social inclusion of all.

The specific questions to be addressed in this stream touch upon: (a) the position (formal and symbolic) of individuals and groups who stay outside of the welfare, incl. their legal status and their construction by policy makers, service providers and the public and/or evaluation of the moral challenges they form; (b) their survival strategies (incl. casual manual labour, informal street trade, busking, begging, hiding and  being less visible etc.) and the social and policy response to those strategies (incl. stigmatisation, criminalisation and medicalisation but also (inherent) encouragement); (c) the evaluation of interventions and policies at all levels of governance that address extreme types of marginalisation; and – last but not least – (d) the  mechanisms that (inadvertently) contribute to or diminish their (further) marginalisation, such as the increased regulation of public space or gentrification.

We give no preference to either theoretical or empirical papers or to any specific method of social scientific inquiry. All papers touching upon the “marginal living” and policy response to it are welcome, and especially those that employ a comparative lens and/or an interdisciplinary perspective. We also welcome methodological papers which address the issue of the invisibility of “the excluded” and the challenges this invisibility poses for knowledge acquisition.

7 – Enhancing Capabilities? Rethinking European Social Policies from a New Perspective

Stream convenors:

  • Mara A. Yerkes, Dept. of Interdisciplinary Social Science, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands, E-mail:
  • Anna Kurowska, Institute of Social Policy, University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland, E-mail:

European social policies aim to address a broad array of issues, including (un)employment, activation, child and elderly care, education, health, housing, migration, aging and poverty. The design and evaluation of these policies has been approached from different perspectives, including the social investment paradigm, which has featured prominently in recent research. However, one key question has yet to be answered sufficiently: To what extent do European social policies enhance individuals’ capabilities to achieve valued be-ings and do-ings (functionings)?

This stream proposes to view European social policies from a new perspective, welcoming papers that take the Capability Approach (CA) to evaluate and understand the impact of social policy, as well as to redesign policies with an aim of enhancing capabilities of different social groups. CA, originally developed by Sen (e.g. 1992, 1999), and later expanded on by Nussbaum (2000, 2011) and Robeyns (2005) is increasingly used to analyse European social policies. Examples include employability policy (van der Klink et al., 2011), work and care policy (Yerkes and den Dulk, 2015; den Dulk and Yerkes, 2016 forthcoming; Hobson 2014; Fahlén 2013; Korpi et al. 2013) or parental leave policy (Javornik and Kurowska, forthcoming). CA has also been recently used to reconceptualize the (de)familialization perspective in comparative family policy research (Kurowska, 2016).

We aim to bring together the latest research in this area across a broad range of social policy fields to explore the risks, opportunities and challenges facing European social policy today, focusing on the capabilities of different social groups. This stream proposal invites scholars to contribute to the field with theoretical, methodological or empirical papers.

Possible analytical entry points include, but are not limited to:

1) Theoretical discussions of the feasibility of using the capability approach for evaluating European social policies, e.g. looking at theoretical advantages and/or limitations;

2) Methodological papers focusing on how best to measure policies in relation to capabilities, overcoming methodological obstacles in comparative research, etc.

3) Empirical policy evaluations, considering how and to what extent European social policies enhance (or limit) individual capabilities;

4) Empirical micro-level analyses on the impact of social policies on the capabilities of different social groups.

8 – Social Policy – Making Under Pressure: Interests, Power and Discourse

Stream convenors:

  • Daniel Cardoso, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities – NOVA University Lisbon, Avenida de Berna 26-C 1069-061 Lisbon, Phone: +351 21 790 83 00, Email:
  • Catherine Moury, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities – NOVA University Lisbon, Avenida de Berna 26-C 1069-061 Lisbon, Phone: +351 21 790 83 00, Email:

Many European countries have undertaken spending cuts and deep structural reforms since the outbreak of the sovereign debt crisis, making in particular profound changes to the welfare state and the labour code. While the content and effects of these policies have been analysed in many studies, as yet very little is known about the processes leading to their adoption and the discourse surrounding them. In fact, two narratives co-exist in the scarce literature on the former. On the one hand, it is often claimed that governments have been forced to implement specific reforms against their will, either in return for bailout loans and monetary support from the European Central Bank, or due to the threat of sanctions by the European Commission under new economic governance rules. By contrast, other scholars claim that the crisis empowered ideologically oriented governments to pass reforms they privately wanted all along but were domestically powerless to introduce.

In relation to discourse, many scholars argue that binding commitments enabled
governments to implement unpopular reforms whilst ‘shifting blame’ onto the EU and/or the International Monetary Fund; however, others state that governments avoided blame-shifting as they were afraid of increasing opposition to already unpopular reforms. Another discursive strategy observed by researchers is the erroneous claim that policy-makers had no alternative – obscuring their correspondence with ideological preferences.

Hence, who really decides the content and scope of retrenchment and structural
reforms under strong international pressure? What determines government autonomy? Which discourses are used to legitimise these policies?
These are the questions addressed in this stream. Papers are welcomed from economists, argumentation scholars, sociologists and political scientists addressing the following and other related issues:

• The concentration of power that has taken place within the political system;
• The preferences of international and domestic actors for spending cuts or structural
• The changing nature of these preferences, and the existence of learning or persuasion;
• The decision-making processes that led to reforms;
• The domestic actors’ room for manoeuvre in shaping (social) policies;
• The public discourse used by domestic and international actors;

9 – How healthcare systems and welfare regimes respond to migrants’ health needs

Stream convenors:

  • Marco Terraneo, Department of Sociology and Social Research – University of Milano-Bicocca, via Bicocca degli Arcimboldi, 8 – 20126 Milan – ITALY, Mail: – Phone: +39 0264482147
  • Mara Tognetti, Department of Sociology and Social Research – University of Milano-Bicocca, via Bicocca degli Arcimboldi, 8 – 20126 Milan – ITALY, Mail: – Phone: +39 0264487571

Ethnical origin is a key dimension to explain differentials in access/utilization of healthcare services. The increase in the immigrant population in Europe puts further strain the capacity of health systems to respond adequately to health needs. In many cases, migrants have higher health risks than the native population, as a result of lesser granted rights, worse socio-economic conditions, different values and culture.

European health systems are based on the principle of equity. In order to attain this goal, most European countries have achieved universal coverage of health care costs for a core set of services. Nevertheless, although most countries aim at offering a universal and equal healthcare system, this does not easily translate into equal utilization of care services.

Comparative analysis shows that the degree of inequity in health care use seems to vary among countries according to different models of healthcare systems and welfare regimes. Therefore, not only the individual level but also the contextual level plays an important role in studying health care services inequities. An efficient health care system, i.e. its policy, resources and organization, can contribute to the crucial goal of societal well-being. In this perspective, access to healthcare is related to health system institutional characteristics that vary among countries. Even different assets of welfare regimes established at the national level can be associated with macro-economic characteristics and can be accountable for improving (or not) migrant’s health. Welfare regimes may “decommodify” individuals to varying degrees and mitigate social vulnerabilities, a condition of weakness exposing individuals to different risk factors, such as illness, unemployment, etc.

On the basis of these premises, the stream invites empirical papers that address various aspects of how and in which extent different European healthcare systems and welfare regimes respond to migrants’ health needs. In particular, participants are expected to analyse public policies, barriers, supply side factors, which can favour or hinder migrants’ healthcare access/utilization. Contributors with a comparative perspective are particularly welcomed.

10 – Pension policies – challenges, reforms, outcomes

Stream convenors:

  • Susan Kuivalainen, Head of Research Department, Finnish Centre for Pensions, Research Department, FI-00065 ELÄKETURVAKESKUS Finland, Email:, Tel. +358 29 411 2184
  • Kati Kuitto, Senior Researcher, Finnish Centre for Pensions, Research Department, FI-00065 ELÄKETURVAKESKUS Finland, Email:, Tel. +358 29 411 2479

Pension systems in Europe and beyond have been challenged by demographic ageing, changing la-bour markets and fiscal austerity. Major reforms in most countries’ pension systems have been con-ducted in the face of these challenges. Some of the reforms have been systemic, changing the bal-ance between the pillars in the pension provision architecture. Others have been parametric, adjust-ing existing schemes to increasing old age dependency ratio and gearing them towards postponing retirement. Pension policies have been driven by the premise of financial sustainability and fiscal constraints have become even more coercive in the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008. Simul-taneously, concerns about the adequacy of old-age income protection have been raised. Both sus-tainability and adequacy have also been emphasized in the policy recommendations of the EU and the OECD.

This stream aims at shedding light in a) the dynamics and forms of recent pension reforms, b) how to explain pension policies and certain reform paths, and c) the outcomes of pension reforms in terms of old-age income security, retirement and equality.

We encourage contributions on (but not limited to) the following themes:
– Reforms of pension systems
– Politics and rationales of pension reforms
– Outcomes of the reforms – adequacy of pension provision, old-age income and poverty, in-tergenerational and gender effects
– Financial sustainability of pension schemes
– The role of the EU and other international organizations in shaping pension policies

Both case studies and comparative analyses are welcome.

11 – Self-employment, vulnerability and precarity: Meeting the challenge of reforming social protection systems in Europe and beyond

Stream convenors:

  • Dr Kevin Caraher, Lecturer in Social Policy, Department of Social Policy and Social Work, University of York, Heslington, YO10 5DD, UK, Tel: +44 1904 321271Email:
  • Dr Enrico Reuter, Lecturer in Public and Social Policy, Department of Social Policy and Social Work, University of York, Heslington, YO10 5DD, UK, Tel: +44 1904 321271, Email:

Precarious forms of employment and increased subjectivation have profoundly altered the way in which wage-labour acts as an integrative force in society, leading to increased levels of vulnerability. At the same time and contributing to these changes, the focus of social policies has undergone a significant transformation, leading to an increased emphasis on individualised activation.

One key feature of such labour market changes has been the rise of self-employment, particularly in the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis and the subsequent sustained period of austerity. In this context, self-employment has not only become an increasingly visible form of often precarious labour market conditions, but it has arguably also been promoted by welfare agencies and policy-makers as an alternative to more traditional forms of labour.

The purpose of this stream is to explore the interplay between changes in social policy towards activation, re-commodification and conditionality, and the structural transformations in wage-labour that have led to increased levels of self-employment. Furthermore, it is proposed that the stream will analyse the overall modified role of the state in governing individual behaviour allied to the ideal of the ‘entrepreneurial self’, and in the promotion of self-employment despite the gaps in access to both social rights and social protection this form of labour can involve.

We would welcome both empirical and theoretical papers that examine the core aspects of social policy responses (including activation) to the global structural economic conditions since 2008. Papers should seek to analyse the extent to which social policy has led to increased precarity and vulnerability in relation to the marked rise in the levels of self-employment; or the ability of existing social protection systems to provide collective security to those engaged in non-standard forms of labour.

12 – Welfare States in Illiberal Democracies

Stream convenors:

The rise of populist parties in nearly all European states, Brexit, as well as the victory of Donald Trump as president of the United States are but a few telling examples of political changes pointing into a possible end of the hegemony of liberal democracies in Europe and beyond. Some countries within and outside of the European Union have reversed their earlier democratic development, and turned towards “illiberal democracy” where the separation of power, independent and free press and civil society, as well as the protection of property have gradually been abandoned as basic foundations of their political regimes (e.g. Zakaria 1997; 2014). The examples of Russia since the late 1990s, Hungary and Turkey during the past half a decade in fact show how illiberal democracies can gradually turn into autocracies both within and outside the European Union.

The social policy consequences of the turn towards illiberalism have yet been rarely examined. In fact, authoritarian regimes have been out of sight for welfare state research for a long time (Forrat 2012). History tells us that autocratic regimes can be generous in terms of providing welfare. Autocratic regimes and dictatorships, at the same time, can be extremely repressive in terms of social rights. As Amartya Sen’s (1982; 1999) seminal works tells us, the lack of basic civil rights, like free press, can have devastating consequences to the distribution of goods and thus the welfare of the general public and the capabilities of individuals. Besides their generosity, the driving ideology of the newly emerging authoritarian welfare regimes is also worth scrutinizing. Some scholars emphasise the turn towards right wing populism and traditionalism (e.g. Korkut 2012; Pirro 2015; Csillag and Szelényi 2015), whereas others point out important neoliberal elements of reforms and the modes of neoliberal governmentality (Szikra 2014; Ackali 2016).

This Stream has thus the aim of mapping the welfare reforms of emerging illiberal democracies and autocracies within and outside Europe. We invite single case studies as well as comparative accounts. We also encourage new accounts on the history of autocratic welfare states.

13 – Cash and/or Care?

Stream convenors:

  • Rense Nieuwenhuis, Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI), Stockholm University, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden, +46 72 147 3567,
  • Kenneth Nelson, Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI), Stockholm University, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden,
  • Tomas Korpi, Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI), Stockholm University, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden,

Welfare states are in constant transition, with policy makers seeking solutions to address old and new social risks, while facing budget constraints. A useful distinction can be made between policies supporting well-being by providing ‘care’ in the form of public services, and policies providing ‘cash’ in the form of transfers. This distinction and changing balance between care and cash policies raises important new questions. To what extent may cash and care policies promote virtuous circles in welfare state reform? Are care policies adequately designed to compensate for reduced cash transfers? To what extent do cash and
care policies depend on each other for maximum effectiveness and efficiency?

The general questions pertain to a wide range of policy areas. For instance, in labor market policy, the question can be raised whether active labor market programs (Bonoli, 2013) support employment adequately in order to compensate for reduced cash transfers in areas of unemployment and social assistance. In family policies, maternal employment are found to be higher in relation to work-family reconciliation policies such as childcare, but lower in
relation to financial support policies as child benefits (Nieuwenhuis, Need, & Van Der Kolk, 2012). Yet, to reduce child poverty, both work-family (care) policies and financial transfers such as child benefits are thought essential and complementary (Maldonado & Nieuwenhuis, 2015). Policies can be distinguished that ensure care for the elderly through professional social services, and cash-for-care payments paying children to provide care for their elderly parents (Schmid, Brandt, & Haberkern, 2011). Publically funded education may have more equal outcomes when students can receive student grants to cover living
expenses. Health and mortality are found not only to be affected by healthcare services, but also by minimum income benefits (Nelson & Fritzell, 2014). The effectiveness of public healthcare services may further depend on the presence of sickness benefits to allow patients to recover before having to go back to work.

This stream invites empirical papers that explicitly analyze the intersection of cash and care in welfare states, in any area of social policy. Contributions that examine policy developments, including the shift from cash to care, are welcome as well as contributions examining various types of policy outcomes.

14 – Health, employment status, and disability: A comparative and institutional perspective

Stream convenors:

  • Josephine Foubert, researcher-evaluator, Study Center of the Department of Work and Social Economics of the Flemish Government,
  • Veerle Buffel, Post-doctoral researcher, Department of Sociology, Korte Meer 5, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
  • Kristian Heggebø, Senior Researcher, NOVA Norwegian Social Research, Stensberggata 26, 0170 Oslo, Norway, 0047 92 89 24 49

In light of longer working lives, population ageing and the aftermath of the financial crisis, several countries have focused on the activation of social security systems during the last decades. Key elements of this approach are stricter unemployment benefit entitlement criteria and strengthened job search incentives. In addition, governments have implemented policies to strengthen the labour market attachment of people with ill health, most notably by activation measures in disability benefit schemes. This is motivated both by an ambition to increase social participation and integration among people with ill health, and also by the idea that the relative generosity of (disability) benefits acts as a ‘disincentive’, and hence pushes workers with bad health out of the labour market altogether.

Despite the central gatekeeping role of welfare state institutions in defining disability as a status, research on the interrelationship between ill health, employment status, and social policies is still in its infancy. In this stream, we depart from the idea that disability is a complex phenomenon that reflects the organization of the physical and social environment. Hence, what is means to be ‘disabled’ varies across time, cultures and societies. We welcome contributions to the development of an institutional perspective on disability status. Disability can be understood  both as a labour market position or as a subjective status. In order to get a better understanding of the disability concept, we are interested in comparative research. Explorations of ill health, unemployment, and disability across different institutional contexts and differing levels (e.g. countries, regions) and/or over time are particularly welcome. Studies of interest may range from comparing disability policies across countries to what institutional settings that enable/hamper people with ill health to participate in the labour market.

15 – Welfare and Unemployment Dynamics: Mechanisms, Determinants and the Role of Social Policy

Stream convenors:

  • Torsten Lietzmann, Institute for Employment Research, Regensburger Straße 104, D-90478 Nuremberg, Phone: +49 911 179 4516,
  • Katrin Hohmeyer, Institute for Employment Research, Regensburger Straße 104, D-90478 Nuremberg, Phone: +49 911 179 5170,

A considerable incidence of long-term unemployment and related welfare benefit dependency are distinct characteristics of many European welfare states. This major policy concern became particularly urgent after the last deep economic crisis. During this crisis, long-term unemployment increased in almost all European countries and remained high afterwards.
Long-term unemployment and long-term welfare dependency can have manifold detrimental effects on the individuals as well as societies as a whole. The chances of leaving welfare or of finding a job decrease with the duration of unemployment and welfare receipt, while the risk of social exclusion and poverty increases. Furthermore, long-term unemployment often comes along with psychological and other health problems for the individuals and thus increasing health care costs for the society. Moreover, long-term benefit dependency might also increase the risk of benefit dependency of the children and thus harm the socioeconomic situation of the subsequent generation. To successfully fight long-term unemployment, knowledge on the causes and consequences of long-term unemployment and benefit receipt is necessary.
This stream aims to improve the knowledge on welfare and unemployment dynamics under different institutional settings. Potential questions the stream intends to answer are:
How long do individuals stay unemployed and on welfare? Which institutional (e.g., concerning the benefit system, the provision of PES or ALMPs), household or individual factors facilitate entries into and exits from (long-term) unemployment/welfare receipt?
Is persistent unemployment and welfare receipt driven by unfavourable characteristics of the unemployed? Or is it driven by genuine state or duration dependence caused by the past welfare/unemployment experience?
Which routes do long-term unemployed take successfully out of dependency?
What are the consequences of long-term dependency and unemployment for the individuals (e.g. concerning health, social exclusion, poverty) and the society?
What are promising policies to reduce long-term unemployment and benefit receipt?
We welcome single-country studies as well as international comparisons and qualitative as well quantitative studies.

16 – The State of Local Welfare: The implementation, organization and politics of local welfare

Stream convenors:

  • Prof. dr. Menno Fenger, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Department of Public Administration and Sociology, P.O. Box 1738, 3000 DR Rotterdam, Phone: + 31 10 408 2534, E-mail:
  • Prof. dr. Romke van der Veen, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Department of Public Administration and Sociology, P.O. Box 1738, 3000 DR Rotterdam, Phone: + 31 10 408 2534, E-mail:

Social policies traditionally are organized at the national level, hence the term ‘welfare state’. However, in the last decade the institutional and administrative organization of European welfare states has changed considerably. This change has been driven by economic, ideological, and administrative trends. Economically, the 2008-2014 financial and economic crisis has put strains on the budgets of all European countries. Ideologically, self-sufficiency instead of government-dependency has become a new standard in many welfare policy areas. Administratively, the neo-liberal, New Public Management agenda is replaced by the New Public Governance agenda. This focuses on increasing the quality of service delivery through client-centered integration, collaboration and professionalism. Consequently, in various European countries a trend towards devolution of responsibilities and authorities for social policies to local governments can be witnessed. This devolution often involves more than only transferring authorities and responsibilities. It also involves the integration of curative and preventive health care, social work and voluntary social support on the clients’ level. Therefore, it has a large impact on the activities of service-delivering professionals, local government organizations and their managers, and on the local community itself.

The focus of this stream is on the experiences of the implementation, organization and politics of integrated welfare service delivery on the local or regional level. This stream aims to collect studies that relate to the consequences of the devolution of welfare states into local welfare systems, the challenges and dilemmas related to the creation of local welfare systems and the politics of social policy on the local level. Specifically, papers are invited that analyze the reality of local welfare systems on three levels: (1) the micro-level of tailor-made, individualized service delivery; (2) the meso-level of organizational and managerial processes in local welfare systems; (3) the macro-level of political participation, policy making  and accountability in local communities.

17 – Health and social exclusion

Stream convenors:

  • Maria Vaalavuo, PhD, Centre for Health and Social Economics, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Mannerheimintie 166, 00271 Helsinki, Finland, Phone: +358 400 632 921, Email:
  • Iben Nørup, PhD, Department of Sociology and Social Work, Aalborg University, Fibigerstræde 13, 9220 Aalborg, Denmark, Phone: +45 99 40 81 69, Email:

Plenty of evidence exists on the connection between health outcomes and socioeconomic status: there is a strong social gradient in health, meaning that people with lower socioeconomic status have poorer health than people with higher socioeconomic status. Many studies have contributed to our understanding whether poor health causes lower incomes or leads to unemployment (social selection) or, if lower socioeconomic status leads to worse health outcomes (social causation). Alternatively, a third factor, e.g. risky behavior, could cause both poor health and low socioeconomic status.

Understanding the connection between health and various forms of social exclusion is important for designing better policies that promote better health and help to build an inclusive society. Studies on this topic can illustrate whether so-called social investment policies (e.g. health promotion, education, active labour market policies) are necessary in some cases or whether a general improvement of living conditions among the socially excluded (e.g. social benefits) will be more effective.

In this stream we would like to discuss the importance of health in the analysis of social policies and various social outcomes. Studies focusing both on social selection and social causation are welcomed, and could address the following questions: Are there differences between countries or social groups in the extent to which health plays a role in the social exclusion process or how e.g. unemployment affects one’s health status? What institutional factors or policy instruments could reduce the risk of bad health among socially excluded?

This stream invites empirical papers that 1) explore the connection between health and aspects of social exclusion (poverty, dropping out of school, unemployment etc.), 2) try to understand the mechanisms that link health with social exclusion, or 3) analyze policies that are effective in downplaying the role of health in social exclusion process or the impact of social exclusion on health outcomes.

18 – Fiscal Welfare in Europe

Stream convenors:

In 1958, Titmuss highlighted what he termed the ‘social division of welfare’, distinguishing between three sources of welfare: social, occupational and fiscal welfare. He noted that most scholarship on the welfare state restricted itself to the world of social welfare, that is the direct public provision of welfare, failing to note the growing scale and distributive tendencies of occupational and fiscal systems – and the ways in which they often ran counter to the distributive directions of the social welfare system. While US scholars have highlighted the importance of tax expenditures in the American welfare state, in most of OECD countries, especially in Europe, the importance and role of fiscal welfare still remains a blind spot in the welfare state literature, despite the growing acknowledgement of the significant use of social tax expenditures, notably through OECD research conducted in the last 20 years.

Indeed, fiscal welfare is no longer an attribute of the liberal welfare states alone (Esping-Andersen, 1990). It is a key driver of the development of private pension and health insurance across a range of welfare regimes; it played a key role in “making work pay” policies in various countries, and it also contributes to organising the household services and care markets in several Nordic or Continental countries.  This development of fiscal welfare across a range of welfare regimes warrants further analysis on many accounts. Indeed, as a form of State revenue foregone, it affects the funding side of social welfare /redistribution and thus the distributive outcomes of the welfare state. It is also a specific policy instrument that potentially entails a transformation in the governance of welfare provision.

The aim of this stream is thus to gather contributions dealing with the uses and consequences of this specific instrument across European welfare states. In particular, we welcome contributions that address one (or more) of the following dimensions:

  1. the politics of social tax expenditures
  2. the distributional effects of social tax expenditures
  3. how the use of this specific instrument contributes to institutional changes in the welfare state and to changes in its modes of governance

19 – Relating Social Policy and Social Work

Stream convenors:

  • Prof. Dr. Ute Klammer, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany
  • Prof. Dr. Simone Leiber, University of Applied Sciences Düsseldorf, Germany, Phone: +4921143513430,
  • Prof. Dr. Sigrid Leitner, University of Applied Sciences Cologne, Germany

In the light of ongoing societal and demographic change, but also such fundamental challenges for European social policy as, e.g., the refugee crisis, or the 2008 financial crisis, innovative policy solutions to pressing social problems are most wanted. Social work is at the heart of these developments. If new social risks arise, local social workers across Europe will be among the first to realize. Social workers and social work associations have professional knowledge how to cope with social problems on an individual level, but their work is also strongly related to the structural framework of the welfare state. Thus, ideally, social work stimulates social policy innovation, and contributes to new developments in the overall social security schemes.

We seek to look at this side of the relationship between social work and social policy in depth: How does social work – involving individual as well as corporate actors at different organizational levels – affect social policy along different stages of the policy cycle? How is social work involved in the way policy problems are perceived in the public? In how far is social work active and successful in placing issues on political agendas? What determines success or failure in this? Which policy proposals are made in crucial reform debates? In how far and under what conditions are they taken into consideration? Which coalitions or networks are relevant, and what’s the relationship of social work and social movements in social policy issues? Finally, what’s the role of social work related actors in implementing and evaluating policy?

In our stream we invite papers looking from different levels (local, national, trans- or international) and different angles at social work as a political actor in social policy. Country specific studies as well as comparative papers are welcome.

20 – Rethinking the Religion and Social Policy Nexus

Stream convenors:

  • Daniel Béland, Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, Saskatoon, SK, Canada;
  • Rana Jawad, Department of Social and Policy Sciences, University of Bath, Bath, BA2 7AY, UK;
  • Emmanuele Pavolini, Macerata University, Via Don Minzoni, 22a – 62100, Macerata, Italy; 0039-0733-2582589;

Even in relatively secularised societies, religion remains a significant topic in social policy debates dealing with issues ranging from education and family policy to health care, abortion rights, and support for people at risk of social exclusion. Much has been written in recent years about the role of religious actors, values and institutions in shaping the configuration of welfare in European societies and the delivery if social services. However, the literature remains overly fragmented and loosely connected to theoretically-grounded social and public policy analyses . This stream aims at creating a fruitful dialogue among researchers studying the religion-social policy nexus through one or more of the following analytical lenses:

  • the political party level, by looking at political parties with explicit religious inspirations and their role in fostering welfare reforms (supporting or against the welfare state);
  • the faith-based organization level, by analysing the role faith-based or religiously-affiliated organizations play in advocating, fostering and running welfare programs (from social assistance to education, from health care to family support);
  • the individual level, by focusing on the nexus between individual values and orientations, in particular the values related to individual faith (and church attendance), and views about what role the social policy system should play in society (e.g., what services should be delivered, what type of solidarity and inclusion should be fostered, who ‘deserves’ welfare provision, etc.).

Comparative papers and in-depth country studies of one or more the three levels of analysis listed above are especially welcomed. Moreover, the stream organizers are interested in papers reconstructing the role of political parties, faith-based organisations, and/or individual values and preferences with reference to social policy history in Europe, but also in the role these actors play in social policy nowadays, given the fact that there are new dynamics and trends at stake. The organizers also welcome papers studying the religion-social policy nexus outside of Europe.

21 – Comparative Methodology: Causal Inference in Social Policy Analysis

Stream convenors:

  • Thomas Biegert (WZB, Berlin Social Science Center, Germany), Reichpietschufer 50, 10785 Berlin; +49 30 25491 382;
  • Elias Naumann (University Mannheim, Germany), L 13 17, 68161 Mannheim; +49 621 181 3038;

Social policy research at heart is interested in identifying causal relationships. We are interested in the reasons for policy changes, we are interested in evaluating the consequences of policies for society, and we are interested in how policies affect individual behavior or attitudes. At base, the questions motivating our research are causal. Yet, social policy analysis has always struggled with the establishment of causal relationships because it has to deal with a special set of problems. We often encounter issues such as collinearity, multiple alternative explanations, and limited variation in our explanatory variables as a consequence of the country-comparative setup of our research.

However, in recent decades the social sciences have witnessed a surge in studies that closely follow the basic idea of counterfactual designs (or a so-called potential outcomes framework of causality). More and more social policy researchers have come to embrace counterfactual designs, as they offer a multitude of ways how to tackle these issues and how to identify causal relationships in our research field. In contrast to other methodological developments, counterfactual designs do not overtly emphasize advanced econometric models but put the focus on research design. Based on the “gold standard” of randomized experiments it brings along a distinct way of thinking about how to set up studies and how to identify causal relationships.

This stream will explore methodological innovations in comparative social policy analysis. We invite contributions that closely follow and apply a counterfactual design. In particular, we encourage papers relying on natural or quasi-natural experiments, survey and framing experiments, matching, instrumental variables, fixed effects panel designs, difference-in-differences-approaches, and regression discontinuity designs. Paper proposals for the stream should thus not only include the research question, theoretical background, and results, they should provide specific detail on the analytical approach taken to establish causality.

22 – The Middle Class and Its Impact on Poverty and Inequality

Stream convenors:

  • Tim Reeskens (Tilburg University),
  • Wim Van Lancker (Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp),

It is widely acknowledged that from the mid-1990s onwards poverty outcomes in OECD countries have been rather disappointing: poverty either rose or stayed stable; only few countries reported a significant fall in poverty. Even the feted Scandinavian model has generally been unapt to counter this trend. In seeking to understand the disappointing progress on the poverty front, existing research has overwhelmingly focused on what has happened at the lower end of the income distribution. The aim of this panel is to shift the focus to the “forgotten middle” of the income distribution by proposing the general question of how the plight of the middle class is connected to poverty and inequality outcomes.

We build on two lines of current research. First, a large body of recent research has focused on what happened to the middle classes in OECD countries, in terms of income, living standard and perceptions. On the one hand, studies show that the middle classes face stagnant if not declining relative living standards in many advanced economies, while at the same time facing greater job insecurity and performance pressure. Certainly so during and in the aftermath of the Great Financial Crisis. On the other hand, research focused on the so-called Matthew effect which means that spending on new forms of social policy as a response to new social risks, e.g. in the context of the social investment state, tends to accrue to the middle classes instead of the lowest income groups.

 Second, recent insights suggest that the viability of the welfare state depends upon its social legitimacy; precisely because the middle class constitutes a broad section of the population, gaining support among the middle class is vital. Theoretically, income is considered as an important explanation of welfare state support out of self-interest motivations: lower parts of the income distribution would support welfare more because it benefits them, and vice versa. Empirical studies show that income is a rather poor explanation in the study of welfare attitudes. This observation calls for a more rigorous analysis of heterogeneity into the income effect, with a particular focus on the middle class.

Combined, in this panel we invite theoretical as well as empirical, quantitative papers related to changes in middle class living standards, changes in middle class attitudes on fairness and redistribution, how this relates to changes in social spending and the redistributive capacity of welfare states, how social policies cater to the needs of the middle class, and in particular papers tying these knots together.

Examples of possible contributions include, but are not limited to:

– Changing attitudes on redistribution and legitimacy of the welfare state amongst the middle classes, and how these connect to actual redistributive outcomes;

– Documenting the social legitimacy of the welfare state among the middle class;

– Changing size and living standards of the middle class, and how these impact on attitudes on and support for redistribution;

– How changing levels of poverty and inequality are related to the changes in the nature of social spending;

– How new forms of social investment policies could unintentionally hamper redistribution;

– Examine the poverty-reducing potential effects of social policies that (intentionally or unintentionally) target the middle class

– Whether cross-country differences in the evolution of poverty and inequality might be understood by changes in the living standards of the middle class

23 – Beyond neoliberalism: Concepts and ideas in current welfare state policies

Stream convenors:

  • Patricia Frericks, Prof. Dr., Affiliation: Professor for Social Policy, University of Helsinki, postal address: Department of Social Research, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki, Snellmaninkatu 10, FI – 00014 Helsinki, e-mail:
  • Birgit Pfau-Effinger, Prof. Dr., Affiliation: Professor for Sociology, Co-Director, Centre for Globalisation and Governance, University of Hamburg, and Professor at the Department of Political Science and Public Policy, University of Southern Denmark, postal address: Institute for Sociology, University of Hamburg, Allende-Platz 1, 20146 Hamburg, Germany; e-mail

Welfare state reforms in the last decades were substantially informed by neoliberal ideas. On the basis of such ideas, welfare states supported the marketization of social security and social services, the outsourcing of tasks to for-profit providers and the construction of social citizens as “consumers” who purchase social security and social services on welfare markets. These welfare state reforms have in general contributed to an increase in social inequality, social cleavages and social conflicts in many European countries. Contemporary, though, in some policy fields and measures also other ideas where further developed and partly implemented, such as in family policies and care policies, on the basis of which the role of public support and social rights has been strengthened.  In the aftermath of the neoliberal austerity period, current welfare state policies are reacting to the various classical and emerging social problems and they are trying to find solutions on the basis of old and new political concepts and ideas beyond the neoliberal paradigm.

We suggest a stream in which we analyse such concepts and ideas in the policies of contemporary welfare states, the political and public debates and struggles about these concepts, and what kind of welfare states are currently emerging. We also aim to discuss the theoretical approaches and typologies that can be used for cross-national comparative research in this field.

The main questions of this stream include:

  • Which concepts and ideas beyond neoliberal ones have recently been developed or newly adopted in welfare states?
  • In how far do they offer solutions to classical social problems and those that emerged from the neoliberal austerity policy?
  • In how far are these concepts and ideas supported or contested among the political actors and in the population?
  • What kind of welfare states are currently emerging?
  • In how far do we need new theoretical concepts and typologies in welfare state research in order to characterize and analyse the various concepts and ideas that are to be found in contemporary welfare states?

24 – The Achilles’ heel of health care futures

Stream convenors:

  • Maria Asensio (ISCSP-CAPP, University of Lisbon. Rua R. Almerindo Lessa, 1300 Lisboa. Tel: 963379150. E-mail:;
  • Beatriz Padilla (ISCTE, IUL. Av. das Forças Armadas, 1649-026 Lisboa. Tel: 933755929.;
  • Sonia Hernández-Plaza (University of Granada, Spain. E-mail:

The European welfare states are at a cross-road. In the wake of the economic crisis and the so-called refugees’ crisis, European governments face various challenges provided by the changing context for European welfare states. In the case of health care, policy-makers must respond effectively to the huge economic and organizational challenge of meeting the health care needs of rapidly aging populations, while simultaneously jeopardizing the immediate security of the most vulnerable society (children, women, migrants, refugees, minorities), triggering a decline in societal cohesion and increasing discontentedness. Another potential repercussion of a long-lasting recession is increased inter-ethnic/racial tensions. As the middle classes become discontented and welfare recipients become vulnerable to state cutbacks, tensions between natives and non-natives are likely to increase. This means that the economic challenge is coupled with a severe challenge of legitimacy: one that will need to be faced in order to regenerate the high levels of public support necessary to justify the levels of spending necessary for the sustainability of the health care system while accounting for safety in the field of public health.

The overriding purpose of this stream is to survey current efforts of policy-makers to adapt their health systems and analyze the effects of these reforms on health expenditures, health inequalities/inequities and public opinion. Ironically, in countries with weak welfare systems it seems that there is less a problem: integration is easier because there are many low-paying jobs and there is less scapegoating since citizens have only limited rights to make claims to the government. In contrast, in strong welfare states, citizens are able to make more claims as they want to retain previous benefits. This places a larger burden on public resources and tax revenue, which can lead to scapegoating of immigrants. We welcome both theoretical and methodological controversies about the policy-feedback effects of welfare states and a potential redefinition of welfare state regimes.

25 – Economic crisis, poverty and policy reactions

Stream convenors:

  • Prof. dr. Leen Vandecasteele, Department of Sociology Wilhelmstrasse 36 72074 Tuebingen, Germany Telephone: +49 7071 29 78 381, mail
  • Prof. dr. Henning Lohmann, Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences, University of Hamburg Welckerstr. 8, 20354 Hamburg, Germany +49 40 82838-8494,
  • Prof. dr. Marco Giesselmann, Institute for Sociology, University of Bielefeld, Socio-Economic Panel, German Institute for Economic Research,

The global economic downturn has undermined life chances and prospects of people across Europe. With the adverse impacts of the ‘Great Recession’ only gradually becoming clearer, the research and policy interest in its consequences is more relevant than ever.

While the main patterns of the recession have been well-explored, there is a need in further exploring the longer-term consequences on people’s life outcomes, the life phases at which people faced an increased risk, as well as the important question how policy reactions and policy context have moderated the most negative outcomes of the recession. Furthermore, research needs to take into account the differing impact of the recession across European countries.

Firstly, papers could address which societal groups have faced a disproportionally larger poverty risk in face of the economic recession; and at what life phases people faced the largest risk. Important in this context is whether policy measures have been able to protect all societal groups and life phases equally, or whether policies some groups have been placed at larger risk due to insufficient policy coverage.

Secondly, it is important to further explore the longer-term impact the recession had on people’s standard of living. It is well-known that unemployment and economic hardship can have long-lasting effects, and set in motion a cycle of cumulative disadvantage and social exclusion. There are scarring effects on people’s careers from experienced unemployment, but also poverty can become a persistent problem. We invite papers that explore these aspects, as well as the policy measures that are effective at reducing the long-term impacts
of the economic recession. Or papers that explore how economic conditions and social policy are interacting in the way they influence individual outcomes.

Thirdly, certain policy measures & reforms might be understood as a consequence of / reaction to the economic crisis. We are interested in papers that address policy reactions to the recession with a view of reducing poverty risks. Papers could address this question both comparatively or in one country, when new policies were introduced.

We invite the submission of papers on a range of topics related to poverty, policy and the economic crisis, including:
– poverty trends in times of economic crisis and how policy affects these
– long-lasting poverty consequences of an economic crisis and policies to prevent these
– economic crisis, poverty and policy in the life-course
– what long-term economic depression means for the use of relative concepts of poverty
– policy reactions to the economic depression and their outcomes

26 – Minimum Income Standards and Reference Budgets: national experiences

Stream convenors:

  • AMARO, Maria Inês, CIES, ISCTE-IUL, Office AA3.07, Avenida das Forças Armadas, 1649-026 Lisboa PORTUGAL, +351966810592,
  • NUNES, Francisco, UECE, ISEG-UL, Office 513, Rua Miguel Lúpi, 20, 1249-078 Lisboa, PORTUGAL, +351919654393,

Income adequacy is one of the aims of social protection in the EU, and to reach minimum resources aiming at human dignity is the objective of the minimum income policies in the EU countries. But human dignity translates into different criteria among countries to be expressed in national currencies. EUROSTAT poverty thresholds have no normative content, just being a statistical driven monetary amount. But most of the EU countries have constructed reference budgets to estimate the minimum adequate income for different household types.

European academics are invited to present and discuss national experiences to construct reference budgets aiming at this purpose, the underlying /implicit concept of human dignity on them, and the use that is made of such budget in the policy formulation and monitoring of social protection ruling in their countries. Case studies are welcome to support a discussion on the contribution of research to open-up new horizon for social policy in Europe and across countries.

27 – Linking ‘Doing Policy’ and ‘Policy Delivery’: Frontline delivery of welfare-to-work policies in Europe

Stream convenors:

When trying to understand welfare state developments through comparative research public policies and institutions tend to play an important role in the analyses. It is generally recognised that institutions seem to significantly matter for the welfare state model (e.g. Esping Andersen 1990 or Hall & Soskice 2001). Emphasising the “institutional” however seems to shadow for the “organizational” and how organisations work in practice as well as how citizen’s behaviour and attitudes are shaped not only by policy, but also by organisational mediation of policy.  Consequently, in this stream we want to link organisational issues, street-level practices  and the citizens/client perspective to the discussion of institutional explanations and the overall macro discussion on welfare state developments,

In light of this we welcome papers that investigate relations between active welfare state reforms (represented by employment and social policy reforms) and its governance on the one hand and the face-to-face delivery of active welfare policy on the other hand. So far both empirical and theoretical research has tended to pursue a one-sided institutional focus on either policy content (policy, programs and services) or the governance and implementation of policy (implementation, management, and organisation). The increasing interdependence between ways of “doing policy” and “policy delivery” makes this academic division of research interests increasingly problematic. Hence, we call for integrated and cross-disciplinary approaches in order to explore the empirical interfaces and linkages between the two traditions. Emphasising the interdependence between “doing policy” and “policy delivery” we furthermore encourages papers that include a client perspective and study their agency in policy delivery processes. We invite papers that theoretically or empirically address how the active welfare state paradigm has been incorporated into social and employment policy and its governance and how this is interrelated with organizational, street-level bureaucracy practices and the interaction with and implications for the most vulnerable clients.

28 – Building Welfare State Capacity in the Developing World

Stream convenors:

  • Luís Mah, Lecturer, Department of Economics & Research Fellow, Center for African, Asian and Latin American Studies (CESA), Contact:
  • Daniel Carolo, Research fellow, Institute of Public Policy – Thomas Jefferson-Correia da Serra, Lisbon School of Economics and Management -ISEG, Universidade de Lisboa, Miguel Lupi, 20, 1249-078 Lisboa, Email:, (+351) 91 7827237

With this stream we encourage the presentation of innovative papers that analyse the impact of globalisation, in particular on welfare state diffusion of ideas and institutions on developing countries and its process of state building capacities lead by social policies.

Based on the classical comparative analyses about welfare state development and social security regimes – Flora and Heidenheimer (1976); Esping-Andersen (1990); Lindert (2004) – new approaches have emerged focusing on historical, political and institutional explaining factors and considering other countries: South Europe (Ferrera, 1996); Latin America and East Europe (Haggard and Kaufman, 2008); Asia (Gough, 2013); developing countries (Townsend, 2009).

Therefore the objectives of this stream will be:

i) to analyse the social policies dissemination in developing countries, particularly in the Portuguese-speaking countries (CPLP) and Latin America, since both are considered illustrative cases of this process. This should also take into consideration knowledge transfer, institutional convergence and even political influence, that may allow for a verification on the validity of the institutional and ideological isomorphism based on the models of welfare state centred on the European model; ii) to assess the role of development cooperation policies defined by donor countries in this process. Work on the countries of Latin America, Eastern Europe and CPLP member countries will be favoured because this process was influenced (if not funded and even implemented) by cooperation and development programs financed mainly by European countries

In these processes the role of Portugal and Spain stands out, both for historical and colonial heritage, but also for political influence in competition with other bilateral cooperation agencies and/or above multilateral organizations such as the World Bank or UN (ILO, UNDP). This influence might also reveal political and policy options made by public aid recipient countries that need to be addressed.

29 – Open Stream

Stream convenors:

Responsibilities of Stream Convenors

– Stream convenors are responsible for one or more sessions organised within a particular stream. The total number of sessions per stream will depend on the number of abstracts accepted.

– Stream convenors participate in the selection of abstracts, ranking all abstracts submitted for their respective stream. Stream convenors may not submit abstracts to their own stream. The review of abstracts will be organised after the closure of the call for abstracts, 15th March. Only one abstract submission per researcher is allowed.

– Final decisions on the number of sessions per stream and the acceptance of abstracts will be made by the local organising committee after full information concerning streams is available.

– In the run-up to the Conference, stream convenors together with local organisers supervise the deadlines for paper submission and review the situation concerning contributed papers in case deadlines are not met.

– In the Conference, Stream convenors chair their respective session(s). Stream convenors may not present papers, not even as a co-author in their own stream.

To guarantee coherence across sessions, they are also asked to a) give either an introductory presentation on the theme of their stream and how the papers chosen for presentation fit the research in this area, or b) synthesise the stream’s output after paper presentations.

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Instituto Superior de Ciências Sociais e Políticas
Universidade de Lisboa
Conference Management

Phone: +351 213 155 135