Health and work are key determinants of our well-being. They are thus major objectives of the European welfare state, e.g. of the Lisbon agenda. Yet, health and employment vary tremendously across EU member states. The aim of this proposal is to shed light on the mechanisms through which welfare state interventions may be responsible for such differences and thus contribute to improved governance and policy design.
We propose an innovative analysis of past and current welfare state interventions in Europe that has three powerful features: First, we will take a life history approach as we believe that the full effect of welfare state interventions can only be assessed over the entire life course and not by comparing concurrent policies and outcomes. Specifically, the proposed research will collect life history micro data to identify intervention points at which welfare state policies - such as education, income support programs, work place regulations, health care systems, old-age and disability pension systems - affect women and men at various points in their lives.
Some interventions offset, others amplify each other, and they may have cumulative effects over the life course. Also, the timing of interventions is key in identifying their causal effects. Second, we use a multidisciplinary approach that explicitly accounts for the interactions between health, work conditions and employment. Analysing health or employment in isolation ignores the interactions between health care and labour market policies. These interactions are long-term but we believe that they are crucial in creating different health and employment outcomes.
Finally, we base our analyses on an innovative combination of life history, cross-sectional micro and institutional macro data that takes account of general policy differences as well as the large heterogeneity of life circumstances in EU member countries which make similar policies work differently in different life circumstances.
Call for proposal
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