A1 Institutions of Societal Integration: Market Economies, Organisations, and Welfare States

Modern market economies and advanced welfare states are under global and domestic socio-economic pressures to change, and the recent economic crisis has increased the need for further welfare state reforms. Although these challenges seem to be relatively similar for all modern economies, the historically evolved welfare regimes, state–society relations, and market systems vary considerably across European and other OECD countries.

The nexus between market and non-market institutions as well as between production and protection systems is at the heart of this research area’s analytical interest. The theoretical starting point is that social action is embedded in specific social and institutional contexts, which structure opportunities and constraints. Coordination, information, and influence capacities are shaped by networks, which relate individual and corporate actors. Furthermore, the institutional change of market economies and welfare states is dependent on societal support by collective actors and individuals on the one hand and affects their social relations and conditions on the other hand. These institutional differences and changes in welfare states and market economies finally entail immediate and long-term consequences for the life chances of individuals, social groups and families.

Research Area A1 combines projects that investigate market processes and public non-market interventions from a comparative perspective, often using both macro-institutional and micro-level data. One fundamental question is the social and civic support for market-economic activities and for welfare state policies that alter market processes. A related second major topic is the analysis of the conditions for and the process of welfare state reform. Finally, the research agenda also includes a concern for the consequences of changing production and protection systems for the life chances and social relations in Europe and other advanced economies.