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Final Report Summary - WELFAREPOLITICS (Politics of Welfare in Emerging Market Economies)

In this research project, I investigate the causes of welfare state transformations in emerging market economies from a comparative and historical perspective. I hypothesize that grassroots politics has been the factor to explain systemic changes in welfare provision. Efforts to contain and mobilize grassroots groups have driven government actors towards certain types of welfare provisions, which would serve this double political function most efficiently, given structural constraints. I use a multi-method strategy to test this hypothesis, combining qualitative and quantitative methods. In order to test these hypotheses, this research includes the implementation of the following work packages sequentially. (i) the creation of social movements datasets using newspaper archives (first two years), (ii) quantitative analyses of large-scale survey data (third year), (iii) survey of welfare policy reports and parliamentary proceedings on welfare legislations (third and fourth year). I have set up a research team of 6 researchers to create the protest event database for Brazil using state-of-the-
art computing techniques. This team is composed of one
associate professor, one PhD student and one undergraduate
student assistant from computer engineering, two Portuguese-speaking assistants for news coding. Out of 400 thousand news articles from Brazilian daily Folha de São Paulo, we have classified 20 thousand protest events and extracted identity and location related data to build the database Using this method, my team has already created the first protest event database for Brazil, as part of my Marie Curie project.
We have published one Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL) conference article on this work (Towards Building a Political Protest Database to Explain Changes in the Welfare State). I invested a lot in gaining proficiency in Portuguese, and this is how I worked out the Brazilian NLP research. I have focused more on Brazil and my team has not made comparable progress on South Korea. I am still working on one research article that compares the politics of welfare in South Korea and Turkey and another one that also compares Brazil.
I have applied to ERC Starting Grant in November 2015 and I was awarded one in August 2016. I am the first sociologist in Turket who received an ERC grant. My ERC project builds on the CIG project and it aims to identify a new welfare regime in emerging market economies and explain why it has emerged. I have started my ERC project in January 2017. I brought together a large team of researchers. Currently my core team consists of 3 post-docs, 2 PhD students, 3 MA students and two consulters in addition to a board of advisors (6 people) and local collaborators in 6 countries.
Since the beginning of my Marie Curie CIG project in October 2013, I have published 7 academic writings, many published at SSCI journals such as the International Journal of Communication, New Perspectives on Turkey and Current Sociology, I have three article currently under review. I have given talks on my project at Bocconi University, Stockholm University, Jacobs University and I have been invited to give talks at University of Bremen, University of Milan, Bielefeld University, and University of Oxford.
My work has been cited 90 times on Google Scholar. I have submitted a book proposal on the politics of the welfare state in Turkey to several university presses, including Cambridge, Oxford, Harvard, Princeton, NYU, Upenn, Umich, U. Cal, Stanford, Columbia and JHU and currently I am negotiating with NYU Press. I have applied for associate professorship and it is in progress now. I was awarded an associate membership in the Department of Social Policy and Intervention at University of Oxford and a membership of the Young Academy of Europe, as the first Turkish scholar. I am supervising a DPhil student at Oxford. I am elected as an associate editor of the prestigious SSCI journal European Review.
I have applied to the Journal of European Social Policy (top social policy journal) to be the editor of a special issue on the
politics of welfare in emerging markets and this application is still pending.
In the second part of the project, I have used existing high-quality surveys and government documents, instead of conducting surveys and interviews myself. This is because of I was able to acquire the data required to test my hypothesis using the available data. As I originally planned to conduct interviews with politicians, welfare bureaucrats and grassroots actors but I replaced this with extensive document and historical analysis, there are some deviations from the original project results. However, these deviations did not harm the overall validity of my argument. First of all, the government documents that I analysed included policy documents and most importantly parliamentary proceedings. These proceedings reflected the perspectives of lawmakers with a very high accuracy and I was able to extract sufficient empirical information about the political motivations of welfare policy making. This has compensated the lack of interviews with politicians - even more than compensated. I also applied a similar methodology for party brochures and NGO reports to make sense of politicians' perspectives on welfare policy making. For the perspectives of bureaucrats, I conducted discourse and content analysis of policy documents which have been authored by welfare bureaucrats. These analyses revealed large volumes of data concerning the bureaucratic rationality that underlies welfare policy making. Documents (parliamentary proceedings, policy reports and party materials) gave me enough understanding of reason d'etat involved in the welfare policy making and I preferred to take on a much more intensive and extensive analysis of written documents. This is related to the development of my own comparative qualitative analysis methodology expertise, which showed me that qualitative document level data might be even more useful than interviews in this specific comparison of welfare policies in emerging markets. Therefore, the content and discourse analyses of large amount of documents (parliamentary proceedings, policy reports and party materials) have provided me with enough data and perspective to show the political underpinnings of welfare policy making. I managed to acquire qualitatively similar data from the documents as I would get from interviews.

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