Welcome to the European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research
The European Centre is a UN-affiliated intergovernmental organization concerned with all aspects of social welfare policy and research. Executive Director is Prof. Dr. Bernd Marin.
New book: Welfare in an Idle Society
A Primer on Re-Designing Social Security
to Cope with Global Ageing and
21st Century Pension Future:
Austria as a Case in Point.
For more information see the book's website!
New project: MOPACT
MOPACT – Making longevity an asset for economic and social development – is a four-year European research project involving various universities, institutes, public authorities and the European Centre. The joint research intends to create a high-quality, multi-disciplinary critical mass of leading researchers in the closest possible partnership with stakeholders. Through a carefully planned iterative process, MOPACT will build a compendium of essential state-of-the-art and foresight intelligence upon which to develop the policy, practice, service and product developments and innovations required to make longevity an asset for social and economic development. For more details on our involvement, see our project page.
Presentation: “Who carries the purse? Decision-making among couples in times of need”
Orsolya Lelkes gave a presentation at the MC-SILC and Microcensus User Conference 2013, Statistik Austria, on 8th May. Using data from the 2010 EU-SILC ad hoc module on intra-household sharing of resources with around 150,000 European couples, Lelkes showed that poor couples tend to pool all their resources. At the same time, it is more likely that one partner takes the lead in decision-making. In Austria, men are more likely to be the main decision-makers (related to expensive purchases of consumer durables) among poor couples, but there is no general gender pattern across all EU countries.
Download related Research Note.
Increasing life expectancy and self-stabilizing pensions: comparing Swedish and Austrian models
On 30 April, Dr Markus Knell (Austrian National Bank) gave an International Seminar on "Increasing life expectancy and self-stabilizing pension systems: A comparison between the Swedish and the Austrian model". Knell discussed how pay-as-you-go pension systems can be designed such that they remain financially stable in the presence of increasing life expectancy, focusing particularly on the notional defined contribution (NDC) type first adopted by Sweden. He contrasted the main properties of NDC with those of the Austrian APG (a “benefit based account system”). An NDC system is able to automatically react to increasing life expectancy if two crucial parameters are set in an appropriate way - remaining life expectancy used for annuitization has to be based on a cross-section measure and the notional interest rate has to include a correction for labor force increases that are only due to rises in the retirement age which are necessary to “neutralize” the increase in life expectancy.
For more info contact: Pieter Vanhuysse
Animating the Best of the East in Active Ageing – Conference at the Czech Ministry of Health
Kai Leichsenring and Juliane Winkelmann presented the Policy Paper “Active and healthy ageing for better long-term care – a fresh look at innovative practice examples” at the Conference ‘Active and healthy ageing in the Czech Republic: From policy to practices’ in Prague on 22 March 2013. The presentation debated the performance of the Czech Republic among the EU countries in terms of Active Ageing – best of the East, but still much to improve – and detailed possible paths to promote Active Ageing – providing better health and long-term care services at a local level as a way to drive improvements in active ageing.
For more information please visit the project page.
The Austrian Health Reform 2012 – defensive and overzealous at the same time?
Maria M. Hofmarcher was invited to discuss issues and challenges related to the recently presented Health Reform where fiscal sustainability of health finance is a centrepiece. In the context of the WIFO Jour Fixe Budget- und Steuerpolitik on 21 February, her talk aimed at assessing reform efforts in light of current and future challenges of health care finance and delivery. While the reform largely seeks to contain future cost growth in the health sector, detailed measures and indicators are not yet developed to monitor changes. Furthermore, visions about innovative care delivery models focusing payment schemes are missing. Finally, new administrative bodies will be created which likely will increase administration cost.
The Austrian Health Care System in Transition: Facts, Figures, Outcomes and Challenges
Maria M. Hofmarcher was invited to facilitate a country-evidence briefing session on the Austrian health system with key decision-makers at the Directorate General for Health & Consumers, DG SANCO on 28 February. Among four other EU Member States, Austria was recognized as a country where information on health sector development is limited in official documents related to the 2012 National Reform Program in the context of the second European Semester. The session discussed key facts and challenges and provided an appraisal of recent reform initiatives largely targeting financial sustainability.
New project: Study on the portability of pensions and health care benefits funded by the World Bank
From April 2013 to September 2013 the European Centre will contribute to a study on the portability of pensions and health care benefits funded by the World Bank. The work will focus on corridor studies for Austria/Turkey and Germany/Turkey. For more information please contact Michael Fuchs
Research Note on the Inclusion of Young Migrants in the EU
The Research Note, authored by Orsolya Lelkes, Eva Sierminska and Eszter Zólyomi, using EU-SILC data, provides analysis of social exclusion among the migrant population in the EU with a special focus on young migrants. About 1.8 million young non-EU-born migrants and about 300 young EU-born migrants are at risk of poverty or social exclusion. About one out of three non-EU born young migrants live in a household at risk of poverty. The Research Note also provides a more in-depth analysis of the specific situation in Belgium, Germany, and the UK, as well as the wealth holdings of migrants.
Download here (free) or visit the project page for previous research notes on migrants.
New project: the EU Social Situation Monitor
After the second 4-year contract, the consortium made up of Applica, Athens University, European Centre, ISER and Tárki has been awarded the contract to analyse trends in income distribution, poverty, social exclusion and material deprivation as well as health across the European Union, the position of different groups in society in these regards and the social welfare systems in place in different Member States for tackling problems of inequality and deprivation. For more details, see the project page.
Expertise awarded: Public Employee Lab-in-the-Field Experimental Study
Pieter Vanhuysse has been awarded an external collaboration contract for a policy-relevant research project employing Lab-in-the-Field Experiments to study subject pool effects in the orientation of business administration and public administration students towards social norms such as altruism, fairness, trustworthiness, and towards free-riding and risk aversion. This research collaboration contract is embedded in a larger 18-month research project headed by Professor Markus Tepe at the University of Oldenburg and funded by the Fritz Thyssen Stiftung from March 2013 to September 2014.
Presentation on “Social Monitoring and Reporting in Europe in Eastern Europe
Orsolya Lelkes was invited to give a presentation at the e-Frame Workshop on “Social Monitoring and Reporting in Europe ”, which took place at the Villa Vigoni, Italy, 13-15 March 2013. The EU FP7 project e-Frame - European Framework for Measuring Progress - aims at fostering the ongoing debate on the measurement of well-being and the progress of societies among all relevant stakeholders, developing a European network. Orsolya Lelkes argued that international institutions and initiative can have a major pull and push effect on social monitoring in Eastern Europe and presented case-studies of this, and shown useful examples of national social reports. Agenda and presentations are downloadable here
International Seminar: Zooming In On Income Inequality
On 21 March Dr Istvan Gyorgy Toth, who is the Managing Director at the TARKI Social Research Institute in Budapest, gave an international seminar for a packed house. Toth described the development of within country income inequalities in 30 countries between 1980 and 2010. He used a unique dataset based on country reports delivered within the Growing Inequalities’ Impacts (GINI) project. Inequalities generally increased in the observed country universe, albeit with significant heterogeneity across countries and country groupings. Members of the previously homogenous group of Central and Eastern European countries ended up in the full spectrum of inequalites in Europe, whereas Nordic countries experienced very substantial inequality increase. more Information
Government report with European Centre contribution: “Lebenslagen in Deutschland. Der Vierte Armuts- und Reichtumsbericht der Bundesregierung”
The 4th Poverty and Richness Report covers the period 2007–2012 and is part of a series published since 2001 by the German Federal Government. Orsolya Lelkes, Katrin Gasior and Pieter Vanhuysse contributed to the publication by an analytical report on Germany in an international context. The report describes the social inclusion of the population of EU countries in various dimensions, including income, health, housing, education, social participation, and subjective well-being. It compares the situation of specific social groups, based on gender, age, and for some issues, migrant status. Download the European Centre report or the summary report of the German government.
Research Note: “The 2010 ad hoc EU-SILC module on the intra-household sharing of resources”
The Research Note analyses patterns of money management and decision-making in couples based on the 2010 ad hoc EU-SILC module. Our findings show considerable heterogeneity in money management patterns. In Southern Europe most couples pool all of their income, while in Finland and Austria income pooling occurs only in slightly more than half of couple households. Couples with higher education are more likely to share decision-making over expensive purchases, borrowing money or the use of savings, while low-income couples are less likely to do so. There is considerable cross-country variation with respect to which partner manages scarce resources.
This Research Note was co-authored by Orsolya Lelkes and is an outcome of the Social Situation Observatory project. Download paper.
Refereed journal article: "Happier and less isolated: internet use in old age"
In her recently published article in the Journal of Poverty and Social Justice, Orsolya Lelkes argues that internet use may be a useful way of reducing social isolation in old age, and it does not crowd out face-to-face contacts. The results, based on a European multi-country cross-sectional dataset with over 11000 observations suggest that social isolation is lower among internet users aged 65 or over. The author also found a positive relationship between regular internet use and self-reported life satisfaction, all else being equal.
Austrian Ministry of Science and Research commissioned a data mapping project in the context of the Joint Programming Initiative (JPI) “More Years, Better Lives”
The Austrian Ministry of Science and Research commissioned a data mapping project in the context of the Joint Programming Initiative (JPI) “More Years, Better Lives” which aims to enhance the understanding of opportunities and challenges of demographic change
The objective of this Fast-Track JPI ‘More Years, Better Lives’ project is to describe and assess currently available data sources used for identifying demographic change.
For more information on the Joint Programming Initiative click here.
For more information on the project click here or
contact Maria M. Hofmarcher or Juliane Winkelmann
Thinking ahead: Social innovation good practices in home care for older people
Can technology-based services support long-term care challenges in home care? Yes, they can: a brand new publication, co-authored by Andrea Schmidt, showcases more than 50 initiatives on how information and communication technologies (ICT) can support family carers for older people across Europe. The in-depth analysis of 12 case studies in different European regions shows the potentially positive impact on the quality of life of elderly people and informal carers, the quality of care, and the financial sustainability of the health and social systems of such initiatives. The publication is based on research from the CARICT project, and was published as part of the European Commission’s JRC Scientific and Policy Reports.
For more info on CARICT click here.
The publication is available as free download here.
For more info contact Andrea Schmidt
Facts and Figures on Healthy Ageing and Long-term Care
Edited by Ricardo Rodrigues, Manfred Huber and Giovanni Lamura, Vienna: European Centre, November 2012
The second edition of Facts and Figures on Healthy Ageing and Long-term Care provides information on the ageing phenomenon across the UNECE region. It covers data and information on demography, social situation of older people, health, informal care, migrant care workers, public long-term care policies and expenditure for the countries of the UNECE.
This Report is available as free download here.
Welfare in an Idle Society?
A new book by Bernd Marin, forthcoming 2012 Welfare in an Idle Society?
“Into the future with the Health Data Navigator”: Final EuroREACH Conference, 16-17 May 2013, Vienna
This conference presents EuroREACH findings and the Health Data Navigator. As a toolbox and a digitized compendium for researchers and policy-makers, the Health Data Navigator provides a conceptual framework and validated information about available data sources for improved performance assessment and comparative health systems research.
For more information click here