Reconciling work and welfare in Europe

April 23, 2012

The NEUJOBS research project published a state of the art report 'Reconciling work and welfare in Europe' in March 2012.

A litmus test of any welfare state today lies in its ability to sustain high employment levels. High employment helps reduce budgetary pressure on governments and, particularly due to more unstable families, addresses social risks of individuals as well.

Reconciling work and welfare in Europe (RECWOWE), a project of the Sixth Framework Programme of the European Commission, set out to improve our knowledge of how the welfare state can and does adapt to this changed context. In doing so, it aimed to address four main tensions in the literature, the tension:

(1) between the need for flexibility in the labor market and security for citizens;

(2) between work and family life, fluidity in family patterns, and flexibility in the employment relationship;

(3) between the number of jobs and their quality;

(4) and between the need for policy reform and the political challenges in implementing reforms.

RECWOWE brought together scholars in fields of demography, law, political science, and sociology from 30 institutions between 2006 and 2010 to leverage expertise in addressing these tensions and yielded considerable output, including 34 working papers, 20 books, and 5 special issues of journals. To summarize these findings, this State of the Art is divided into two parts. Part I explores why new welfare state policies are necessary and which policies or sets of policies are best suited to accommodate the present socio-economic context. Part II shifts from discussing problems and policy solutions to reviewing which reforms have indeed taken place and specifying the theories put forward to explain these changes.

Reconciling work and welfare in Europe (Download)