The Welfare of Public Servants in European Comparison

Research question/goal: 

The major aim of the project is to examine the welfare state arrangements of public servants in several European countries, their prerequisites and their effects. In the centre of the project are the institutions of social protection for public servants and their necessary adaptations to the changing environment. External pressures, such as the public employment expansion and subsequent state financial crises, the demographic ageing, among others, are analysed in relation to changes in the institutions of social protection for public servants. The extent of public employment and the structure of social protection strongly influence the objective living conditions and the quality of life of public servants. The project will investigate the effects of these adaptations in public employment and of these reforms of social protection for public employees on their social situation.

Two different ways are used for data collection and analysis: first, detailed and standardized country studies for the South and North European countries. These two groups of countries were chosen because they are most different and represent the two extremes with respect to their national public services. Such in-depth country studies are needed in order to hermeneutically ‘understand’ the historical development of the institutions of social protection for public servants and the legal position of public servants. Both factors are supposed to exert a strong influence on their living conditions. Second, comparative analyses for the whole of the European Union using large-scale social surveys (such as the EU Labour Force Survey (EULFS), ECHP, and the EU-SILC) with a view to the objective living conditions (income, pensions, working time, etc.).

Current stage: 

Priority was given to the work on the country case study of Sweden, which has largely been completed. Final improvements and language editing remain to be done. This country profile deals, among others, with the main aspects of the Swedish public sector, such as public employment, working conditions, the integration of public employees into the national pension system, and the outcomes for objective and subjective living conditions. Work on the country case study of Italy, a central country of the south European contrast group, is in preparation.

Fact sheet

2011 to 2018
in preparation
Data Sources: 
Official statistics, social surveys like ECHP, EU-SILC, EULFS and national social surveys, legislative sources
Geographic Space: 
Northern Europe: Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden; Southern Europe: Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain