Work and Equal Opportunities


Welfare systems and labour market policies for economic and social resilience in Europe

WeLaR contributes to EU's goals of promoting inclusive growth, fair distribution of its productivity gains, and boosting economic and social resilience.

Four megatrends - technological transformations, globalisation, climate warming and demographic changes - reshape labour markets, redefine opportunities and risks, and pose new challenges for welfare states in the EU. WeLaR aims to fill knowledge gaps about these processes by pursuing two main goals:

  1. provide a comprehensive and comparative diagnosis of the effects on megatrends on labour market risks and challenges for welfare states;
  2. develop policy recommendations to adapt welfare states.

In measuring effects, we account for interactions between megatrends, and disentangle their impacts of on labour supply, labour demand, and labour market allocations, which are also shaped by institutions. We pay particular attention to groups that often face higher labour market risks: women, young workers, people in atypical jobs or affected by in-work poverty. In developing policy proposals, we combine simulations with lessons from recent welfare state interventions and social innovation experiments, while accounting for the political economy of reforms. We use an interdisciplinary approach that combines quantitative and qualitative methods and adopts a cross-country perspective, covering the entire EU, which allows us to understand the role of country-specific institutional settings for the effects of megatrends and challenges for welfare states. To ensure relevance of policy ideas, we engage in extensive consultations and set up feedback loops with stakeholders to complement and validate the quantitative and qualitative studies. These stakeholder consultations help to develop concrete policy proposals aimed at resilient, inclusive growth. We deliver research papers and policy briefs. To maximise WeLaR’s impact, we disseminate the lessons learned and policy proposals to policymakers, stakeholders and the public.

The ZSI team leads the work package on stakeholder engagement and the task on “Re-assessing social innovation in social policy”. We also contribute to studies on NEETs (= people Not in Employment, Education, or Training) and digitalisation, drawing on insights of the “Lost Millennials” project, on work and employment quality, and on migration and labour market transitions within the project.


Section: Work and Equal Opportunities


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Type: Research

Program: Horizon Europe

Submission Date: 10/2021

Project Status: In progress

Start/End: 09/2022 - 08/2025

Project Duration: 36 months