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.

Key Research Topics

: Labour market and working conditions

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.


: Social policy and redistribution

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.


: Gender Research

The focus of WSI gender studies is on the job inequality of men and women and ways to overcome it.


: Europe and European policies

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.

WSI Forschung Europa

Recent Publications

Routledge 2021 : Minimum wage regimes

Employing cross-country comparisons, sector studies and single country accounts of change, this new book relates institutional and labour market settings, actors’ strategies and power resources with policy and practice outcomes.

Florian Blank, 24.02.2021 : The Emergence of Consumer Organisations in the Field of Social Policy

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.


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