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.

Selected WSI publications

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.

Forschung Arbeit und Arbeitsmarkt

: Gender Research

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

Forschung Gender und Gleichstellung

: 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.

Recent Publications

Hövermann, Andreas : The AfD's Polling High

This report uses ten survey waves by the WSI Labour Force Panel to analyse the willingness to vote for the AfD. In addition to voter migration, AfD voters are profiled in terms of demographic and labour-related characteristics as well as their concerns, confidence and perspective on the pandemic and the war in Ukraine. The report also analyses how new AfD voters differ from established regular voters. AfD voters are uniformly characterised as highly stressed, distrustful and highly concerned. Limiting immigration appears to be the unifying theme that also appeals to new groups of AfD voters who share other AfD positions less strongly and have not yet built up too much trust in the AfD.

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Brülle, Jan / Spannagel, Dorothee : WSI Distribution Report 2023: Income inequality as a threat to democracy

The everyday experiences and opportunities of people in Germany depend crucially on their income. Income inequality becomes a social problem at the latest when it contributes to the alienation of individual groups from the democratic system. Based on the persistently high level of income inequality, the report traces the different realities of people's lives and makes it clear that if people no longer feel valued by society and lose trust in the political system, then democracy also suffers as a result.

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Hamjediers, Maik / Peters, Eileen : Switches from gender-atypical towards more gender-typical positions

Research on sex segregation in the labor market has repeatedly found that women and men are more likely to exit from occupations and firms in which they are the numerical minority and subsequently seek positions that are more represented by their gender. Data from the German social security insurance system show, however, that gender compositions of occupations and firms jointly shape attrition from gender-atypical positions, which ultimately perpetuates labor market segregation.

Cover Journal European Societies

Lott, Yvonne / Wöhrmann, Anne : Working-time demands and work-life balance

Spillover and crossover effects of working time demands on work–life balance satisfaction among dual‑earner couples: Findings indicate that high working time demands negatively impact the work–life balance satisfaction of workers and their partners because of work–life conflict experienced either by the workers only or by both partners.

Lott Woehrmann Current Psychology

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.

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