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. Such external pressures, like the public employment expansion and subsequent state financial crises, the demographic ageing, among others, are analyzed in relation to the change 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 have been 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 which 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 (like the EU Labour Force Survey (EULFS), ECHP, and the EU-SILC) with respect to objective living conditions (income, pensions, working time, etc.).

Current stage: 

Work on the Swedish country profile was continued. First textual drafts were written for all chapters. Meanwhile, public employment was reduced to the level of 1970. Employment reduction was mainly due to privatization of nationalized utilities (e.g. telecommunications), and decline in state and county council employment. In 2010 feminization of the public sector attained its highest level with almost 75 %. Public employment activity rates declined proportionately for both sexes. Fundamentally changed was the national pension scheme; public employees now only dispose of special regulations within their separate occupational pension schemes.

Fact sheet

2011 to 2014
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