The Institute of Economic and Social Research (WSI) is an independent academic institute within the Hans-Böckler-Foundation, a non-profit organisation fostering co-determination and promoting research and academic study on behalf of the German Confederation of Trade Unions (DGB).
Since it was founded in 1946, the institute's focus has always been on the improvement of life chances, on social justice and fair working and living conditions. Economists, sociologists, political scientists and law scholars work on social, economic and labour market policy issues. On the basis of their analyses, researchers elaborate policy proposals aimed at overcoming labour market restrictions and social problems to the benefit of employees.
In recent years, labour market policy has been challenged by huge structural changes, most of all by the increase in non-standard and often also precarious forms of employment. Moreover, quality of work has changed – growing job-related stress being one major example.
Research is concerned with welfare state and social policy changes, structural causes for the increase in social inequality, and the search for possibilities to foster a fairer distribution of life chances.
The research area monitors economic, social and political developments on the European level and evaluates the consequences, risks and opportunities for employees, households, firms and the future of the welfare state.
The 2020 bargaining round took place in a context dominated by the Covid-19 pandemic: Agreed pay rose by an average of 2.0 per cent in 2020, i.e. due to Corona, at a much lower rate than in preceding years.
The EU Commission's minimum wage initiative aims to achieve adequate minimum wages that enable employees to enjoy a decent standard of living wherever they work. 60% of the median wage is needed for this - but Germany is still a long way from achieving this.
Working in two or more jobs at the same time creates special needs in terms of social security that differ from those of standard dependent employees or the self-employed. The study examines three case studies of countries with different levels and trends in multiple jobholding: Denmark, UK and Germany.
What does the introduction of market mechanisms in welfare provision mean? Evidence gathered from the agendas of the committee for labour and social affairs and the committee for health of the Federal Parliament 1990–2017 shows that consumers’ interests are represented by consumer organizations, but to varying degrees. Differences follow the variances in the development and regulation of the specific welfare markets.
Innovative leaps in digital technology alongside changing gender roles in society may open a window of opportunity to renegotiate gendered work patterns. Does digitalisation hold the potential to reorganise gendered work relations - and if so: why?
Low-cost production exploiting migrant workers: our new report highlight the need for action against cheap production and poor working conditions in the German meat industry. New legislation banning contract work is a chance for better working conditions. Also urgently needed: an industry-wide collective agreement.