The Institute of Economic and Social Research (WSI)

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.

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ILO-Publication, 09.07.2018

Collective Agreements: Extending Labour Protection

A Research Project by the International Labour Organization (ILO) examined the extension of collective agreements in international comparison. Thorsten Schulten analyses the German case and explains why the legal reform of 2014 has so far largely failed to enable more extensions.

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ETUI-ETUC Conference, 27.06.2018

DEMOGRAPHIC TRANSITIONS: THE ROLE OF THE LABOUR MARKET

If analyses of demographic change are reduced to changes of demographic dependency ratios alone the solution is often an increase of the retirement age. Florian Blank shows in a presentation why labour market policies are more important to encounter ageing societies.

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Recent publication: etui 2018

Multi-employer bargaining under pressure

Since 2008, collective bargaining systems have been under pressure to follow the logic of companies and market imperatives. The book investigates the ongoing shift from centrally coordinated multi-employer to decentralized collective bargaining in five EU Member States. Among the authors: Thorsten Schulten and Reinhard Bispinck.

more information and free download

WSI Study 12, 05/2018

Upgrading German public services

Against the European trend, employment and working conditions in the German public sector have improved after the financial crisis. Our WSI study by Thorsten Schulten and Daniel Seikel shows that besides the quick economic recovery trade union strategies played an important role.

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WSI Study 11, 03/2018

HYBRID WORK - SOCIAL PROTECTION OF ATYPICAL EMPLOYMENT IN DENMARK

A new study on Danish social protection for atypical employment summarizes the main regulations and trends. Mikkel Mailand and Tine P. Larsen (University of Copenhagen) find that benefits are increasingly depend on employment status and on collective bargaining coverage. A further trend, which is mainly seen from the beginning of the present decade, is towards stricter entitlement rules and other barriers to benefits. The study is part of the WSI research project on "Hybrid working arrangements in Europe”.

Download (pdf)

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WSI Collective Bargaining Report Germany 2017

The 2017 collective bargaining round was dominated by negotiations over pay, with an overall average rise in agreed pay of 2.4%. Set against a rising inflation rate of 1.8%, this implied a modest average increase in real pay of 0.6% compared with the previous year, substantially less than in 2016. Given the favourable economic situation, pay claims submitted for 2018 indicate that trade unions will be pressing for a return to more expansive approach. The 2018 bargaining round has also seen the return of the issue of working time organisation to the negotiating agenda.

Collective bargaining report 2017 (pdf)

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Recent book publication

It’s Basic Income. The global debate

Is a Universal Basic Income the answer to an increasingly precarious job landscape? Could it bring greater financial freedom for women, tackle the issue of unpaid but essential work, cut poverty and promote greater choice? Or is it a dead-end utopian ideal that distracts from more practical and cost-effective solutions? Among the authors: Anke Hassel (WSI), defending the position that unconditional basic income is a dead end.

more ...

WSI Report Nr. 39e, 02/2018

Comprehensive Analysis on Minimum Wages

The call for a minimum wage sufficient to secure a decent existence has been at
the centre of public debate both in Germany and across Europe. The WSI
Minimum Wage Report aims to contribute to this debate by offering a comprehensive analysis of current minimum wage developments in Europe and beyond.

WSI Report 39e (pdf, English)

European Social Observatory (OSE)

Occupational Welfare in Europe

In a recently published book on occupational welfare in Europe, Florian Blank (WSI) discusses recent developments in the field of pensions and unemployment-related schemes in Germany. In his article he disentangles the complex state of occupational welfare in the German system of welfare provision and industrial relations.

More about the book
chapter by Florian Blank (pdf)

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Daniel Seikel, Dorothee Spannagel (WSI): Activation and in-work poverty

Employment - the best route out of poverty?

In-work poverty is on the rise in many European countries. At the same time, labour market policies focus predominantly on activation measures. Using EU-SILC and OECD data, the authors show that active labour market polices with a stronger focus on demanding than on enabling strategies lead to higher in-work poverty rates.

Abstract
information on the book (pdf)

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WSI Policy Brief Nr. 19, 01/2018

Millions of workers are denied minimum wage

In 2016, 2,7 Million workers in Germany received less than the minimum wage of 8,50€ per hour. This comes up to 9,8% of people who are entitled to receive it after the minimum wage law that came into force in 2015. The highest rates of avoidance by employers are found in private households (42,6%), hotel and catering industry (38,0%) and retail (19,5%).

Article at Deutsche Welle (English)
WSI Policy Brief 19 (German)

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Social Europe, 01/2018

Addressing Social Equality in Europe

The recent wave of mistrust towards political systems in the Western world points out social inequality as the defining issue of our time. A new dossier of Social Europe in cooperation with Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and the Institute of Economic and Social Research (WSI) investigates various aspects of inequality with a European perspective.

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Key research topics

WSI research covers issues of employment and institutional change in a globalising world, the quality of work as well as questions of redistribution and social security, industrial relations and collective bargaining policy. The work of the WSI is organised in five research areas:

Labour market and working conditions
Wage policy, collective bargaining and industrial relations
Social policy and redistribution
Gender research
Europe and European policies

Surveys and data collections

WSI studies empirically draw on a number of unique surveys, data collections and documentations. Tables, analyses and graphs in professional quality layout are available for free download via online web portals. more...

Research expertise

Information on WSI members of staff and WSI guests and their fields of expertise

WSI Academic Staff

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WSI-Mitteilungen

"WSI-Mitteilungen" is a scientific journal providing up-to-date information on the results of research on current issues of relevance to trade unions.

more information

Networks, cooperations, fellowships

WSI actively participates in national and international research networks. Next to temporary projects, the institute maintains well-established long-term research relations with academic partners and trade-union organizations. more...



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