When inclusive measures expose cracks: The Nordic Social Protection in times of crisis

By Trine P. Larsen and Anna Ilsøe

The Nordic economies were – similar to the rest of Europe – hit hard by the Corona pandemic with historical drops in GDP and rising unemployment in the first two quarters of 2020. Non-standard workers were particularly hard hit. Many worked in the most crisis-ridden sectors such as tourism, hotel and restaurant. To help companies and workers, including non-standard workers, to cope with the COVID-19 crisis, the Nordic governments launched more than 130 ad hoc relief packages and amendments in their social protection schemes, often in close collaboration with social partners and with broad support of other political parties. However, certain groups, notably temporary employed, entrepreneurs, freelancers and part-time workers with few hours continued to fall through the cracks in the system despite the ongoing adjustments of the unprecedented policy responses, and more so in some Nordic countries than others.

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Care, Caring and Social Policy in COVID-19 Times

By Mary Daly

If nothing else, the COVID-19 virus invites us to think big and reconsider our lives and our world. In this context, I want to suggest the benefits of thinking about the pandemic through the concept of care.

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Who deserves what in times of COVID19?

by Tijs Laenen

Nobody knows what the future holds for European welfare states. What seems certain, however, is that the current COVID19 crisis – after first creating a political consensus rarely seen before – is now opening up new debates about welfare deservingness that will spark intense political conflict in the years to come. This blog post reveals some of the most important deservingness discussions that are currently unfolding across Europe, using the Belgian welfare state as a telling example.

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Social security innovation for inclusive worker support during the corona crisis?

by Sonja Bekker and Janine Leschke

Introduction

Labour market flexibility has increased over the past decades with a growing variety in types of employment relationships. This may be qualified as a transition from segmented to fragmented labour markets which Eurofound describes as an ‘increase in forms of work and employment which differ from the ‘standard employment relationship’ of permanent, full-time, socially secure employment’.

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Inequality in employment during the Corona lockdown: Evidence from Germany

By Katja Möhring, Elias Naumann, Maximiliane Reifenscheid, Annelies G. Blom, Alexander Wenz, Tobias Rettig, Roni Lehrer, Ulrich Krieger, Sebastian Juhl, Sabine Friedel, Marina Fikel, and Carina Cornesse

The Coronavirus crisis and the related lockdown measures had a devastating impact on the economies and labour markets of the affected countries. In Germany, lockdown measures were initiated in mid-March and included immediate closure of public facilities, restaurants, shops, theatres etc. on March, 22nd the latest. Due to the following collapse of domestic demand and exports, more sectors than hospitality and retail were affected.

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Turning Loud Claps into Living Wages: Tackling In-work Poverty within a Post-COVID-19 Landscape

by Calum Carson

High levels of low pay and in-work poverty have long been a feature of the British economy, despite a high-profile campaign and the individual efforts of some ethically-minded employers to introduce a Living Wage for all workers. However, can the new-found public appreciation for low-paid key workers since the emergence of COVID-19 successfully (and permanently) challenge the low-pay status quo, and translate this vocal support into helping more workers afford a decent standard of living?

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Contingent Learning in Times of Crisis: How Can Hirschman’s Hiding Hand Help Policymakers Face Current Pandemic?

By Mita Marra

During the current pandemic, I have been reflecting on the decision-making style of the Italian, and other European and North-American political leaders, mulling over how policy learning takes place in times of crisis. Contrary to national political stereotypes, I recurred to policy studies, cognitive psychology, and mostly Albert Hirschman’s theories to reconstruct how political leaders make decisions under critical conditions.

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The Time has Finally Come to Start Deconstitutionalizing the EU

by Jean-Claude Barbier

Mario Draghi will be famous for many things in the future, but mainly for two: one is the astonishingly bold choice he made to act “whatever it took” (his “whatever, though, never included the act of sharing debts, Vergemeinschaftung in German, among the nation-states of the EU); but the other one is his very unfortunate declaration to the Wall Street Journal (2012), according to which the “European social model had already gone”.

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How can scientists collaborate to end the social distancing measures?

by Koen Decancq

In this brief note, I sketch a framework that may help us to think about finding an exit-strategy from the Covid-19 social distancing measures. The central idea of the framework is that these measures have an impact on the reproduction number as well as on social welfare. While the reproduction number is clearly defined, the notion of social welfare is a bit more elusive. I argue that social welfare should be conceived in a multidimensional way, giving extra weight to the fate of the worst-off.

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Multiple Hidden Risks for Older People: The Looming Pension Crisis Following this Pandemic

by Bernhard Ebbinghaus
  • Every fourth person in Europe receives an old age, survivor or disability pension benefit, an automatic stabilizer during this crisis
  • Public pay-as-you go pension will soon come under severe pressure due to fiscal pressures accelerated during this pandemic
  • Private funded pensions with their additional risks, were hit hard after the 2008 crash and will again increase inequalities in old age in coming years
  • Older people transitioning from work to retirement will face immediate difficulties that need to be addressed
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