WSI Mitteilungen 6/2023

: Issue 06/2023

WSI-Mitteilungen 6/2023, pp. 415-423

Hans-Jürgen Bieling

The EU – a Geostrategic Power in the Making? Strategies and Initiatives for the Control of Transnational Value Chains


Globalisation is increasingly becoming precarious. But to what extent do the precariousness of globalisation and the struggle for control of transnational value chains incentivise the EU to appear as a geostrategic, or more precisely: geoeconomic power? This article argues that the changing importance and upgrading of industrial and infrastructure policies point in this direction. To substantiate this argument, first the new topicality of geoeconomic and geopolitical conceptions and strategies is discussed, to then illuminate the programmatic profile of the emerging European geostrategy. The focus is on the specific positioning of the EU in the new triad competition with the USA and China, especially on trade, industrial and infrastructure policy activities that are of fundamental importance for transnational value chains. They are not only related to the European economic area but reach beyond it and acquire a clear geoeconomic orientation. more … (in German)

WSI-Mitteilungen 6/2023, pp. 424-433

Josephine Assmus, Anita Heindlmaier, Susanne K. Schmidt

A Deceptively Social Europe. The Posting of Third-Country Nationals in the EU


The European integration process has always been closely linked to economic liberalisation, which has mostly been pursued without sufficient social integration. Moreover, with the enlargement rounds since 2004, the socio-economic heterogeneity of the member states has further increased. The European Union has recognised this discrepancy between social and economic integration and emphasised its efforts towards a social Europe with various initiatives. Is it no longer the case that the EU is biased towards economic interests? Have the chances of success for a social Europe improved? This article explores these questions using the example of the posting of third-country nationals. The authors focus on the national handling of the posting of third-country nationals in two important posting countries: Poland and Slovenia. They find that inter-state cooperation takes place at both the administrative and the societal level to foster social goals. Yet, the regulations are so complex, and the control of posting is extremely difficult to handle administratively so that exploitation can barely be curbed. more … (in German)

WSI-Mitteilungen 6/2023, pp. 434-443

Martin Heidenreich

Economic Divisions and Social Inequalities in Europe. A Challenge for the EU


A central basis for the EU’s social cohesion was the economic convergence of its member states. However, the concentration of scientific, technological and entrepreneurial competences in recent years has stopped this convergence of economic and income differences, at least between the old EU member states. The Central and Eastern European countries, on the other hand, have still been benefiting from the economic integration processes in Europe over the past two decades. As a result, the EU is characterised by considerable inequalities between Northern and Southern, Eastern and Western European countries, but also between different social groups. These inequalities can be analysed on the basis of a multidimensional index. Both the limits of Europe-wide convergence processes and the territorial and social inequalities in Europe confront the EU with the challenge of ensuring social cohesion through independent transnational policies. So far, there exists no blueprint for this. more … (in German)

WSI-Mitteilungen 6/2023, pp. 444-451

Jan Brülle, Dorothee Spannagel

Income inequality as a Potential Threat to Democracy. WSI Report on Income Distribution 2023


The article analyses how income inequality has developed in Germany in recent years and shows how the position of the employee in the income distribution corresponds with different experiences in daily life. Both the overall inequality of disposable incomes, as well as the poverty rate are currently higher than in recent decades. Poverty increased further during the first years of the COVID-19 pandemic, but decreased slightly between 2021 and 2022. In addition, data for 2021 indicates that income position corresponds with perceived feelings of appreciation or disregard: especially the persistently poor frequently report having the feeling that they are looked down on by those with higher incomes, whereas those who are more affluent often report feeling socially appreciated. Furthermore, analysis reveals that the lower the household income is, the lower is the trust in democratic institutions. More than 50 % of all persons in persistent poverty express very little trust in political parties or politicians. The results underscore how high social inequality can undermine the legitimacy of the democratic system. more … (in German)

WSI-Mitteilungen 6/2023, pp. 452-459

Helge Emmler

The WSI Labour Force Survey. Background, Findings, Outlook


For more than three years the WSI has been regularly surveying the German labour force. What originally started as a short-term “lockdown survey” has since grown into a panel survey with ten survey waves, which has been received in academia and the media. As a consequence of this increased attention, there has naturally been a growing need amongst users and recipients to learn more about the background of this survey. Thus, this article can be understood as a kind of “manual” for the use and interpretation of the study. In the first section, the original motivation for the labour force survey and the subsequent development are described. This is followed by a self-critical reflection on the methodology of the survey, which is used to show what the data is suitable for (correlations, trends) and where the limitations lie (proportions, structural data). The fourth section presents selected results of topics examined by the labour force panel: working from home, attitudes, and preferences towards working times. The article concludes with an outlook on the future perspectives of the WSI Employment Panel. more … (in German)

WSI-Mitteilungen 6/2023, pp. 460-469

Martin Behrens, Wolfram Brehmer, Merle Pohlmeyer

Representation of Migrants within Works Councils


With the comprehensive reform of the Works Constitution Act in 1972, migrants without German citizenship were granted the right to stand for election to a works council (passive right to vote). Now, 50 years after this reform (which went largely unnoticed at the time), the article investigates the level of representation of migrants in works council bodies today and what factors influence the election of people with a migration background to works councils. Based on an analysis of the data from the WSI works council survey 2017, the article comes to the conclusion that migrants are still underrepresented in the works council compared to their share in the workforce, but in particular that a high degree of union organisation in the company workforce is making a significant contribution towards closing this gap. more … (in German)

WSI-Mitteilungen 6/2023, pp. 470-478

Berndt Keller, Hartmut Seifert

Atypical Employment in a Downward Trend. Developments and Explanatory Approaches


On the basis of representative data, the article describes the long-term development of atypical employment forms. Their significant increase in the 1990s and 2000s did not continue in the 2010s. However, there are differences between the individual forms (mini-jobs, midi-jobs, fixed-term contracts, temporary work and solo self-employment). The main determinants of this unexpected development, lie both in the supply and demand side and in changing institutional conditions. more … (in German)