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.


Symposium and 40th General Assembly Meeting

On the occasion of its 40th anniversary, the European Centre organises a Symposium on “The Future of Welfare in a Global Europe, in Vienna on 15 September. Speakers from the worlds of academia and politics will present on the following four themes: Towards a Human Investment Society; Class, Generation, Gender, and Age Cleavages in Ageing Societies; Too Sick to Work – and too Ill to Live Independently? Disability, Frailty – and Happiness – in Stressful and Long-Life Societies; No “European Social Model” in Europe – or towards a Social Union? A “Ministerial Roundtable” will discuss the expert views presented, under the heading “Europe in the World, Austria in Europe”.

Electronic discharge summaries in cross-border care in the European Union: How close are we to making it happen?


Cross-border care in the European Union still faces various challenges, in particular when it comes to communication and transfer of information between care providers in different Member States. The European Union currently aims to improve care coordination and to ensure seamless care across borders via electronic discharge summaries (Directive 2011/24/EU). This article explores the extent to which European Union level policy and practice on electronic health records address issues pertinent to the development and implementation of electronic discharge summaries for patients treated outside their own country. The research for this article that was co-authored by Juliane Winkelmann under the lead of Nora Döring was conducted in the context of the FP7 project 'Evaluating Care Across Borders' (ECAB). You can download the article here.

New Policy Brief: To Make or to Buy Long-term Care? Part I: Learning from Theory

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This Policy Brief reviews some of the theoretical insights offered by economic theory (e.g. transaction costs) and other fields of social sciences (e.g. psychology, disability rights) regarding the make or buy decision as applied to long-term care. The theories reviewed here provide useful guidelines to policy-makers about how best to use market mechanisms to deliver long-term care, but also on the limits of the use of markets in the context of care for older people. While the decision whether to make or buy long-term care is arguably best answered empirically, considering insights from different strands of theory could help prevent adverse outcomes when setting up care markets. This Policy Brief is a first part of a trilogy dedicated to the reliance on markets for the delivery of long-term care. Two other Policy Briefs will follow in October and November. Read more

Article in International Journal of Social Welfare: Perceived Pension Injustice

Pieter Vanhuysse has published an article with Clara Sabbagh (University of Haifa) in Vol. 23, No. 2 of the International Journal of Social Welfare (5-year impact factor 0.956). Entitled 'Perceived Pension Injustice'. The article analyses a nationally representative sample of 3,000 respondents to investigate the determinants of citizens’ perceptions of the injustice of pension systems (PPI) in two ‘most-different’ cases: Israe, and Germany. Age is negatively associated, and social status positively associated, with reported levels of PPI. Moreover, PPI is higher both when citizens lack intra-familial social solidarity and when they more strongly endorse pro-state welfare attitudes.

2014 paperback edition of Ageing Populations in Post-industrial Democracies

Ageing Populations Book

Routledge has just published in its ECPR Studies in European Political Science series a new 2014 paperback edition of Pieter Vanhuysse's book Ageing Populations in Post-industrial Democracies: Comparative Studies of Policies and Politics, co-edited with Achim Goerres. See scientific journal reviews of the book, and blog summaries in English at Oxford's openpop.org blog on global population issues and in German at the University of Duisburg's Aus der Wissenschat für die Politik blog. See the editorial introductory chapter, 'Mapping the Field'.

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.
„With his Welfare in an Idle Society? Bernd Marin has set a ‘gold standard’. Congratulations! Nobody who will give new thoughts to re-designing Social Security can go past this encyclopaedic opus.“ Bert Rürup For more information see the book's website

Czech Sociological Review books: Welfare in an Idle Society?, Youth Studies, The Caring Self


The summer 2014 issue of the Czech Sociological Review, the number one CEE sociology journal (impact factor 0.652), edited by Pieter Vanhuysse, features reviews written by Akos Rona-Tas (UC San Diego), Conor O’Dwyer (University of Florida), Josef Melchior (University of Vienna), Peggy Watson (University of Cambridge), Keith Tester (University of Hull), Andras Bozoki (CEU) and others on altogether ten books in sociology and social policy, including Bernd Marin’s Welfare in an Idle Society?. It also features a review by Katrin Gasior on Andy Furlong’s Youth Studies and by Ricardo Rodrigues on Clare Stacey’s The Caring Self.

Life Cycle Transitions and Vulnerabilities in Old Age: A Review

In his paper written for the 2014 Human Development Report, Senior Advisor Asghar Zaidi reviews the concepts of vulnerability and resilience, and their applications for ageing and older people, demonstrating how policy interventions throughout the life course must aim to not just reduce vulnerabilities to risks but also boost the personal coping capacities (or resilience) of people moving into old age. The paper points to the long-term impact of transitions (such as the onset of disability or the death of spouse) and life course experiences (such as work and family history) on three key components of the quality of life and well-being of older persons: financial well-being, health, and social support and connectedness. Read More

‘Make or Buy’ residential care? The outcomes for quality of care in nursing homes

Longevity has become a central topic in many countries as health and care expenditure increases with rising life expectancy. Governments aim to reduce costs by outsourcing care services to for-profit providers. Given the high complexity of long-term care, quality is a major concern for policy-makers and researchers. At the 10th World Congress in Health Economics (iHEA/ECHE) entitled 'Health Economics in the Age of Longevity' Juliane Winkelmann presented together with Ricardo Rodrigues and Kai Leichsenring results of a literature review on the relationship of nursing home ownership and quality of care, financed by the Swedish Ministry of Health and Social Affairs. It reveals that most studies have mixed and inconclusive findings on the quality differences between nursing homes and outcomes heavily depend on the choice of indicators.

International stakeholder perspectives on the Optimum Continence Service Specification

During the last Global Forum on Incontinence stakeholders from across the world discussed on the current barriers to better continence care and the applicability and implementation of the recommendations of the Optimum Continence Service Specification in their respective countries. A Summary Report of these discussions is now available here to contribute to further dialogue in order to improve the quality of life, the delivery of services and the overall organisation of continence care across the world. Contact: Kai Leichsenring

Contracting for integrated care provision

The Centre for Health Services Studies at the University of Kent has invited Ricardo Rodrigues and Kai Leichsenring to participate in the validation of a contracting model blueprint for long-term conditions that is focused on integrated care, and based on achievable joint outcomes evidence and effectiveness in a whole system perspective. Results of the project will be published in autumn 2014 and will contain important hints for policy-makers how to design contracts for an integrated provision of long-term care.

Oxford Conference on ‘Pre-Distributive Social Policy’

Pieter Vanhuysse presented on the politics of justice in aging societies at St Catherine’s College, Oxford during the workshop on ‘Pre-Distributive Social Policy: Future Changes in Welfare Societies’. Organized by the Policy Network, the Foundation for European Progressive Studies, and the Renner Institut, this workshop brought together scholars such as Peter Hall, Julian Legrand, David Sockice, John Stephens, Paul Gregg, Bruno Palier, Ann Wren, and Marius Busemeyer to discuss the role of regulation, asset-based welfare, movements and skills for a future vision of progressive social policy.

ESRC Research Methods Festival, 8-10 July, St Catherine’s College, Oxford

Professor Bernd Marin participated in the session on cross-national research at the ESRC Research Methods Festival with a presentation on ‘Key Social Policy Challenges Identified from Cross-National Research in UN-European Countries’. This session, convened by Professor Asghar Zaidi, offers presentations from major international organisations (namely the UN, the European Commission, the European Centre Vienna, HelpAge International), and draws on their substantive cross-national research. The presentations highlight the benefits and limitations of comparative research methods. They also discuss how the key challenges of diversity in norms and contexts across nations and lack of international comparability of data are dealt with, and what challenges still remain unresolved (or partly resolved) that inhibit reaping full benefits of the comparative research.

Welfare in an Idle Society? Seminar at the University of Southampton, 3 July

The modern welfare state is indeed one of the greatest achievements of the post-war 20th century. It aims at maintaining a delicate equilibrium between dependent social groups, on the one hand, and the active working classes, on the other. As regards old-age security, this balance is being achieved (or not) by the so-called Generation Contract. This social pact is more of an implicit, unwritten and unspecified social contract. The seminar given by Bernd Marin will present the findings of his groundbreaking book, “Welfare in an Idle Society? Reinventing Retirement, Work, Wealth, Health and Welfare”, that demonstrates how countries are addressing population-ageing challenges in depth, using the case-study of Austria to gain the required complexity and differentiation in a comparative European framework of empirical evidence.

Methodological development of the interactive INTERLINKS Framework for long-term care

The FP7 project INTERLINKS, coordinated by the European Centre, has made a significant contribution to knowledge about emerging long-term care systems in Europe: through the accumulation of policy and practice examples on an interactive web-based Framework for long-term care. This paper by Jenny Billings (Kent University) and Kai Leichsenring, published by the International Journal of Integrated Care, provides a critical overview of the theoretical and methodological approaches used to develop and implement the INTERLINKS Framework for long-term care. It concludes that robust evidence and comparability across European countries remain problematic due to the current and growing complexity and diversity of long-term care policies.

30 Jahre Internationale Sommergespräche der Waldviertel Akademie "Lebenswerte (der) Heimat"


Die Waldviertel Akademie beschäftigt sich im Jubiläumsjahr gemeinsam mit Experten wie Erhard Busek oder Bernd Marin mit dem Thema "Lebenswerte (der) Heimat". Ein Jubiläum begeht die Waldviertel Akademie mit ihren Internationalen Sommergesprächen, die im August zum 30. Mal über die Bühne gehen. Das Jubiläumsjahr widmet sich ganz Europa und dem Waldviertel, die Akademie kann dabei eine Reihe hochkarätiger Experten wie Barbara Coudenhove-Kalergi, Bernd Marin, Erhard Busek, Peter Kampits, Stephan Schulmeister oder Robert Palfrader präsentieren. Für Weiteres hier klicken

Interview Bernd Marin in FONDS professionell


Executive Director Bernd Marin was recently featured in FONDS professionell. He gave an extensive interview on the pension system and the newly established pension account.
To see the full interview, click here