European Welfare States

Ability to assess social policy and industrial relations in the context of European integration and globalisation
Ability to understand and to work with complex European social policy documents and relevant academic and research literature
Ability to write professional science based policy relevant documents This course focuses on social policy, including labour market policies, and industrial relations in European welfare states in the context of the process of European integration. Is there a distinctive European social model, which differs clearly from, for example, the American model, or is there a variety of separate national models, that have little in common ?

The first part of the course focuses on the diversity of European welfare states. This diversity will be discussed both theoretically (based on the well-known typology of welfare state regimes by Esping-Andersen) and empirically. Next, the effectiveness and efficiency of various welfare state regimes and particular welfare programmes are examined, by comparing the outcome of the various welfare states in terms of labour participation, unemployment, social inclusion and economic growth. Thirdly, the pressures on welfare states, rising from external forces, such as globalisation and migration, and internal forces, such as population ageing, are dealt with. Will the present-day welfare states be sustainable in the long run or is a radical reform inevitable ? Fourthly, attention will be paid to social policy at the EU level. The focus will be on the so called Open Method of Coordination, which is now the dominant method for EU social policy in the field of employment policies, social inclusion policies, pensions and health care.
The second part of the course focuses on labour market policies and industrial relations in Europe. Labour market performance, in terms of employment and unemployment rates, the gender gap and the participation of elderly, varies strongly across the EU. To what extent can these differences be expained by differences in labour market institutions between EU member states ? These institutions include labour market regulations, such as employment protection and mandatory minimum wages, and active labour market programs, such as training and wage cost subsidies. Industrial relations are important, too. These refer to the relation between management (employers) and labour (workers), both at the company level and at the meso (sectoral) and macro (national) level (trade unions and employers’ associations). The question will be dealt with which kind of labour market institutions yield the most favourable labour market outcomes.

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