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Dr. Sarah Berens

B03 “International Complementarities in the Development of National Welfare States: The Transatlantic Sphere 1870-2020”

B03: International complementarities in the development of the welfare state

Collaborative Research Centre 1342 “Global Development Dynamics of Social Policy”

The German Research Foundation (DFG) has approved a new Collaborative Research Centre (“Sonderforschungsbereich” = SFB) at the University of Bremen. The SFB will receive funding of around eleven million euros over the next four years. The University of Cologne is involved in the sub-project B03 of the principal investigator Dr. Sarah Berens. Dr. Berens is a research associate at the Cologne Center for Comparative Politics at the University of Cologne. Together with Prof. Dr. Philip Manow (University of Bremen), she is investigating the complementary development of social policy in several countries under the conditions of intensified global economic integration as part of the sub-project “International Complementarities in the Development of National Welfare States: The Transatlantic Sphere (1870-2020)”.

Contributing partners and members of the SFB

The Collaborative Research Centre 1342 encompasses the SOCIUM Research Centre for Inequality and Social Policy and the Institute for International and Intercultural Studies (InIIS) as well as project leaders from the Research Centre for Eastern Europe, the Institute of History, the Institute for Geography, the Institute of Labour and Economics (IAW), the Centre for European Legal Policy and the Information Management Working Group of the Department of Computer Science. In addition to the University of Cologne, Jacobs University Bremen and the University of Duisburg-Essen are also involved.

The Collaborative Research Centre is scheduled to be launched at the beginning of 2018.

Further information on SFB 1342 can be found here

Subproject B03: International complementarities in the development of the welfare state: The transatlantic sphere (1870–2020)

The CRC comprises 16 projects and is divided into two sections. Projects in section A mainly rely on macro quantitative techniques to analyze and explain social policy dynamics in a global perspective. In the projects of section B, the mechanisms that link international interdependencies and national determinants to the spread, inclusiveness, and generosity of social policy dynamics are analyzed by applying qualitative and quantitative case study analyses.

In this subproject we investigate the complementary development of social policy in several states under conditions of intensified global economic interdependence. We focus on the relationship between transatlantic trade and social policy. We systematically investigate how the respective interests of voter groups and political parties arising from economic interdependencies translate into state policy according to political conflict and cooperation mechanisms and how they thus shape the specific institutional profile of the respective welfare states and political economies in the long term. 

The subproject’s central research question is: To what extent has the horizontal economic interdependence between states in the Americas and Western Europe led to the formation of complementary welfare state regimes and political economies and which redistributive coalitions were behind these developments? Complementarity refers to differences in the institutional development of the political economies that are mutually interdependent. The central causal mechanism is the developing economic division of labour, which is politically reflected in different redistributive coalitions. The subproject will present these coalitions in a historical context with respect to political parties and in a contemporary context with respect to the electorate. The central topic of the subproject is: How, through the international division of labour, i.e. comparative cost advantages, do the institutions of the welfare state develop complementarily to each other – guided by political processes – and how do they mutually stabilize each other within their differences. We are thereby formulating a clear alternative explanation to that proposed, for example, by the convergence notion of modernization theory.

On the one hand, the subproject reconstructs the political and especially social and trade policy related reactions to crises in North America and Western Europe before the Second World War. Looking at the period after 1945, on the other hand the subproject expands its perspective to include the economic integration of South America and its industrialization strategy as well as current conflicts in trade policy. The investigation will focus on the interaction between – foreign trade-oriented – societal interest groups and their political mediation in the multiparty systems of Western Europe, the two-party system in the USA and the clientelistic presidential systems found in Latin America that all have different capacities to represent local versus “functional” interests. The aim of the subproject is to develop a concise theoretical framework that is compatible with the Varieties of Capitalism (VoC) approach and is valid for the reciprocally influencing formation of the West European, Latin American and North American welfare states. In doing so we can systematically extend an approach that previously focused on just Western Europe. Methodologically, we combine historical-comparative case studies, quantitative analyses at the macrolevel and survey data at the microlevel.

The project will offer two doctoral positions to support the analysis of historical parliamentary roll-call-vote data for the cases Mexico and Argentina and to conduct surveys in Mexico and Brazil. The call for applications will be out soon. The PhD positions are planned to start in May 2018. For further information, please contact sarah.berens@uni-koeln.de.

Team

Principal investigators:

Prof. Dr. Philip Manow, Dr. Sarah Berens

PhD students:

call for the PhD position at University of Cologne will be out end of January 2018

call for PhD position within B03 at University of Bremen published January 19th 2018

Student assistants: call will be out soon