Call for Panel Proposals ECPR General Conference Glasgow 2014: The Politics of Welfare and Social Policy Reform


The call for panels and papers is now open for the ECPR General Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, 3-6 September 2014. Our section has been allocated 7 panels. There will be no separate call for papers this year: each panel must be submitted with at least 4 papers, and each paper must include the Paper title, an abstract and author(s) details. The deadline is February 15 2014. To propose a panel, please use the ECPR webpage


Departing from the strong emphasis on institutions and stability which dominated the literature until recently, welfare state research is now increasingly focusing on the role of coalitions and change in social policy reforms. While European welfare states were considered “immovable objects” due to enduring popular support and institutional inertia, a number of recent studies have shown that welfare states can change providing that viable pro-reform coalitions emerge. Building on this, the section aims to cover a broad range of theoretical, empirical and methodological issues in the analysis of the politics of welfare state reform beyond path dependence. This ranges from the development of theoretical frameworks to explain welfare state change, the impact of globalisation and migration on social security schemes, the role of party and electoral politics on welfare state reforms, or the development of innovative methodological tools to analyse and understand welfare state change. Levels of analysis can range from individual preferences for social protection to comparative analyses of national systems or developments at EU level. Given the importance and diversity of welfare state research within political science, the section aims to be open to a wide variety of perspectives (including quantitative and qualitative research) while keeping a focus on the political aspects of the welfare state.

Section chairs:

Dr Alexandre Afonso is a lecturer in the Department of Political Economy at King’s College London. His work has been published inter alia in the Socio-Economic Review, Governance, the European Journal of Industrial Relations, Policy and Politics, and Social Policy and Administration. His book Social Concertation in Times of Austerity was published by Amsterdam University Press in 2013.

Dr Johan Bo Davidsson is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Oxford. He holds a PhD from the European University Institute. His work has been published in inter alia the European Journal of Political Research and Political Studies. He is co-convenor of the ECPR standing group on the politics of welfare state reform

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Three postdoctoral researchers for ACCESS EUROPE


ACCESS EUROPE is an UvA-VUA  Amsterdam Academic Alliance initiative. As a joint venture of the University of Amsterdam and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Amsterdam Centre for Contemporary European Studies (ACCESS EUROPE) aims to establish a new institutional platform for research, education and public debate on the European Union and its member states. ACCESS EUROPE collaborates with key players in the academic sector as well as the private sector, and local, national and European governments. ACCESS EUROPE has two principal goals. The first is to promote interdisciplinary synergy between outstanding faculties at both universities. The second is to create a forum for dialogue and exchange on urgent questions concerning the dynamics and direction of contemporary Europe between academic researchers and a wide range of public and private stakeholders.

The UvA faculties of Law, Humanities, Economics and Business, and Social and Behavioural Sciences, and the VUA faculties of Law, Humanities, Economics and Business Administration, and Social Sciences participate.

Starting January 2014, ACCESS EUROPE  offers three Postdoctoral research positions for the duration of one year. The selected candidates will be working in one of the participating faculties of the UvA or the VUA.

See the full job announcement at

Applications, in the form of a motivation letter that indicates the ACCESS theme with which the applicant would like to be affiliated, a full CV including an overview of publications, a one-page activity and publication plan, and two letters of recommendation, must be sent in one single pdf-file by e-mail before 18 November 2013 by following the application procedure of Academic Transfer.


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Call for Papers: Political Strategy, Political Leadership and the Politics of Welfare State Reform

ECPR General Conference Sciences Po Bordeaux, 4th-7th of September 2013

Section: The Politics of Welfare and Social Policy Reform

Panel: Political Strategy, Political Leadership and the Politics of Welfare State Reform

Panel Chair: Felix Hörisch, University of Mannheim

Panel Discussant: Georg Wenzelburger, University of Freiburg

Abstract: Since the path-breaking study of Paul Pierson, the politics of welfare state reform have been analyzed in various ways. A major strand of the literature focuses on the ways in which political actors seek to reduce the risk to be punished at the ballot box for reforming popular welfare state programs (e.g. via blame avoidance, blame-sharing, etc). During the last couple of years, this strand has been enriched by studies which focus on the political leaders, their leadership capacities and strategies in order to explain why and how major welfare state reforms have been successfully implemented. Two aspects can be distinguished: On the one hand some studies investigate how political leaders organize support for their reform policies within the political arena using strategic maneuvers (package deals, logrolling, etc.) in order to get the policies implemented; On the other hand some other scholars focus on political communication and discourses that accompany reform policies.

Our panel aims at carrying on and deepening this debate on political strategies, leadership and welfare state reforms. Contributors may aim on the communication of reform policies, on the political bargaining process, or both. We invite papers that deal with the political strategy and strategic leadership on a theoretical and conceptual level as well as studies that apply these concepts on empirical instances. Different methodological approaches are welcome.

Deadline for abstracts: 1 February 2013


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Lecturer in International Politics – King’s College London

King’s College London -Department of Political Economy

School of Social Science & Public Policy

This new and rapidly growing department is seeking to appoint a further Lecturer in International Politics to support undergraduate programmes in International Politics and The Politics of the International Economy, and the well-established MA Public Policy. The Department of Political Economy presently has a teaching staff of 20, with a number of departmental and visiting research and teaching staff and works closely with the College’s India, Brazil, and China Institutes.

Applicants should hold a PhD in a relevant subject and be able to demonstrate a record of University teaching and high quality publication.

For an informal discussion of the post please contact Professor Ken Young via email at

The appointment will be made, dependent on relevant qualifications and experience, within the Grade 6 scale, currently £33,654 to £39,705 per annum, inclusive of £2,323 London Allowance, per annum.

To apply for this post, please download the job pack from the advert on the College’s website: The job pack contains detailed instructions on how to make your application. Please ensure that you follow the instructions carefully, as incomplete or incorrect applications may not be considered. All correspondence MUST clearly state the job title and reference number A6/DAB/1282/12-JT.

The closing date for receipt of applications is 03 February 2013.

Further details

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Assistant Professor in Political Science, University of Southern Denmark


Research at the Department of Political Science – University of Southern Denmark cover a wide area within political science and journalism. The departments research program ’Reforming the Welfare State Institutions’ studies the changes in the duties and services of the welfare state. A more detailed description of the department profile is available at: Information about the research program is available at this website

The successful applicant will become an integrated part of the already existing academic environment at the department. Several colleagues study issues associated with the reform program, and we have a strong academic environment centred around the Centre for Welfare State Research. The following will be emphasized by appointment to the position:

• The applicant must hold a PhD degree in political science or another relevant PhD degree in social sciences.
• The applicant must have a strong research profile within the field of the reform program, e.g. within comparative welfare state research but it could also be with a different focus on the welfare state and its institutions.
• A solid quantitative or qualitative methods profile will be advantageous.
• Research emphasizing European and/or North American countries.

The main assignments of an assistant professor at Political Science are research and research-based teaching, and to a minor extent administrative tasks will be connected to the position.

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Call for Papers: Workshop “ Socio-Economic Inequalities and Political Cleavages in Post-Industrial Societies ” at the ECPR Joint Sessions in Mainz, 11-16 March 2013

The workshop convenors (Pepe Fernandez, Silja Häusermann and Achim Kemmerling) invite papers to contribute to the workshop “Socio-Economic Inequalities and Political Cleavages in Post-Industrial Societies” at the ECPR Joint Sessions in Mainz, 11-16 March 2013.

Workshop Outline:

The workshop will address three questions: first, what are the major (new) socio-economic divides in post-industrial societies? Second, under what conditions, by whom and how are these divides politically mobilized? And third, to what extent do these political differences lead to changing dynamics in major areas of welfare state policy?

The workshop taps into a very prolific field of the comparative political economy of welfare states in recent years. Some of these recent works follow a rekindled interest in problems of labor market segmentation, dualization and insider-outsider divides, whereas others approach the topic through an analysis of new social risks, and new political conflict lines in welfare state politics.

Nevertheless, even though the idea of new divides, dualization and insider-outsider conflicts has spread widely in the discipline, this emerging strand of research still faces major theoretical and empirical challenges that we would like to address in this workshop. It would thereby contribute to establishing the terms of this ongoing and rapidly growing debate in the literature. There are four issues that we would like to address more particularly.

1) First, the theoretical specification of the ‘new divides’: Whereas older cleavages such as class or religion have had a clear theoretical status as exogenous determinants of (welfare-state) politics, processes of dualization, insidership and new social risks are always in part endogenous to the political process. This makes them both more ‘realistic’ but also more difficult to address in an analytic sense. Related to this is the question what kind of politics these potential new cleavages should give rise to. Are they part of general interest politics between larger classes of voters, or rather conflicts between interest groups with differing degrees of political representation?

2) Second, there are also important open empirical questions in this new field. There is a common understanding of how to observe and measure the saliency and polarization of older cleavages such as class or religion. This is not the case for dualization and insider-outsider divides. We still lack a comparative measure of the extent of dualization across countries, let alone across time. How do different forms of measurement (subjective, objective, proxies…) affect the importance we attribute to these new cleavages? This is related to the fact that there is no agreement regarding the adequate level of (dis-aggregation) of the social structure and labour markets? The new politics of welfare state and labor markets may be more complex than before, but what are adequate levels of parsimony in the empirical measurement of differences?

3) Third, a key question concerns the translation of these new conflicts of interests into the political arena. If the new, post-industrial economies give rise to the potential emergence of a multiplicity of cleavages, which ones will become politically activated in a given context? To what extent can domestic institutional and socioeconomic factors help explain the politicization of some of these new conflicts in some countries, but not in others?

4) And finally, to what extent does the appearance of these new cleavages affect the political feasibility of addressing income inequalities more broadly? What kind of political coalitions will be more likely to form, and what kind of policy demands will they exert? And to what will they contribute to the strengthening or weakening of pro-egalitarian policies in the electoral arena?

We would like to use this workshop to address some of these questions. In particular the workshop invites theoretical and empirical (preferably comparative) contributions which

  • theoretically probe the consistency and generalizability of key concepts
  • aim at measuring socio-economic divides and political cleavages on the individual and/ or macro level
  • explain the political mobilization of these divides in the democratic process through political parties and interest organizations
  • test their political impact on labor market, social policies and related fields.

We invite contributions from a broad range of theoretical and empirical political science approaches. We explicitly also invite contributions from adjacent academic fields such as labor market sociology and economics and who study (new) forms of divides in the post-industrial labor market. We also invite contributions that go beyond OECD countries, since we believe that some of these processes/ phenomena may be better understood in developing/ emerging markets, where welfare states from their very beginning faced problems of coverage and where informality and dualization have traditionally played a much larger role.

Submissions: Applications can be uploaded via the ECPR website until 5 November 2012: They should include an outline of how the proposed paper contributes to the general themes of the workshop (max 500 words) and an abstract of the proposed paper (max 250 words). Selected applicants are expected to participate during the entire duration of the workshop. Graduate students are eligible to ECPR accommodation and travel grants (see ECPR website). Further funding may become available from external sources over the course of the coming months.

Please feel free to contact the convenors if you have questions related to a paper proposal.

Best regards,
José Fernandez Albertos, Consejo Superior De Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Madrid,
Silja Häusermann, University of Zurich,
Achim Kemmerling, Central European University, Budapest,

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‘The end of the European social model? EU socio-economic governance in crisis’ Multidisciplinary PhD workshop, 29-30 November 2012, Roskilde University (Denmark)

Organised by Polforsk (Danish Political Science Research School) and the Council for European Studies (CES) research network “European Integration and Global Political Economy” in collaboration with the PhD prize initiative of the journal Comparative European Politics

Workshop theme

Following the financial and economic crisis that became manifest from 2007 onwards, EU socio-economic governance is in a process of fundamental transformation, with far-reaching implications for the so-called ‘European social model’. The austerity programmes implemented by the Member State level have initiated unprecedented changes in welfare state provisions, while at the European level there are significant policy developments under the framework of the Europe2020 strategy for competitiveness, but also, and arguably more importantly, in the context of the acute crisis of the Eurozone and the concomitant treaty for a European Fiscal Compact.

This doctoral workshop will give young researchers the opportunity to engage in cutting edge discussions to facilitate the progression of their thesis work. The workshop is organised under the auspices of the research network of the Council for European Studies (CES) “European Integration and Global Political Economy”. This link will provide a unique opportunity for PhD researchers to engage with international peers, and to explore common grounds and differences in conducting research on EU socio-economic governance.

·         The first objective of the workshop is to identify and map concrete developments in socio-economic governance at the European level, including, for instance, social protection such as pensions and health care, labour market policies, labour law, but also education, gender equality and structural cohesion.

·         The second aim is to focus more closely on concomitant changes in governance in these areas, both in terms of substance as well as content and mode. The Community Method, various types of policy co-ordination, which increasingly has a coercive element, but also the increasingly important role of the European Court of Justice (ECJ), the role of expert groups (most recently e.g with regard to the Monti II debate), the strengthening of the executive dimension of EU governance as embodied by the European Commission, and also the growing contestation of these developments, as evidenced e.g. by the pan-European Action Days organised by civil society organisations in May 2012. The intergovernmental push behind many unpopular decisions will also be discussed.

·         Third, the workshop aims to discuss how these changes at the EU level are related to national strategies for reduction of public debt and the consequences these have for popular legitimacy of the EU.

·         Finally, next to these substantive themes, the workshop also aims to provide a platform for methodological discussion of how to study the changing trajectories of socio-economic governance across a range of analytical strategies. PhD students are encouraged to highlight the choices they have made with regard to methodological questions in their doctoral or post-doctoral research.

Senior staff

Ben Rosamond (University of Copenhagen); Magnus Ryner (King’s College London, tbc); Caroline de la Porte (Syddansk University); Claes Belfrage (University of Liverpool); Laura Horn (Roskilde University)

Participants and workshop contributions

The workshop is aimed at doctoral and early career researchers in political science, public administration, international relations, sociology, European law, EU Studies and other interdisciplinary studies.

Accommodating different stages of progression, papers could include research designs, empirical chapters and critical reflections on methodological problems. Students will be required to present their research in thematised sessions. In addition to having read each other’s work, students will be expected to have read a list of key texts prior to the workshop to optimise collective learning. Themes of the workshop are anticipated to be social and economic policy reform, institution-building, policy governance, legitimation and impact processes, and methodological issues.

Students will receive 2 ECTS points for their presentations and participation in workshop, provided they have a written contribution and that they participate in the entirety of the workshop.

Organisation and Schedule

The workshop will take place at the University of Roskilde, just 20 minutes outside Copenhagen. The two day workshop will feature keynote lectures by senior staff in the mornings, and intensive and discussion panels in the afternoons for doctoral students to receive both feedback and supplementary supervision. Participants are invited to a workshop dinner on 29 November.

Funding for this workshop is kindly provided by Polforsk, the Danish Political Science Research School. We will not be able to cover participant’s travel/accommodation costs, but will assist participants in finding accommodation for the workshop.

Deadline for submission of abstracts (250-500 words, including institutional affiliation and contact details) is 24 September 2012. You will be notified of acceptance by 30 September 2012. Papers must be submitted by 15 November 2012.

For more information and submission of applications, contact Laura Horn ( ).

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Two PhD positions in political economy and welfare state research


The research group ‘comparative political economy and public policy’, University of St. Gallen (Switzerland), is seeking two research assistants/doctoral students.

The successful candidates will engage in research and teaching at the Department of Political Science, University of St. Gallen, and will be expected to pursue a doctoral project in the PhD programme in International Affairs and Political Economy. 

Applicants are expected to hold an MA in political science (or related disciplines) with distinction and demonstrate a strong motivation to pursue an academic career. The position presupposes an interest in theory-driven empirical research and good knowledge of social science research methods. A good command of English, both spoken and written, is expected. Further language skills are an advantage. The position starts in November 2012 (or upon agreement) and is for a period of up to five years. 

Applicants should send their full application (in German or English) – including cover letter, CV, letter of motivation, examples of their academic work (e.g. their MA dissertation or seminar papers), copies of relevant certificates and the contact details of two academic references – to Professor Patrick Emmenegger ( no later than September 17, 2012.

For further inquiry, please visit the School’s website or send an email to Patrick Emmenegger.

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We now have a facebook page. Like us here if you want to keep updated about the activities of the standing group on your facebook newsfeed.

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Call for Papers: International Impacts on Welfare State Change

ECPR Joint Sessions, Mainz, 11-16 March 2013

Workshop Directors: Jan Drahokoupil, MZES, University of Mannheim,; Kati Kuitto, Department of Political Science, University of Greifswald,; Mitchell A. Orenstein, Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University,

Outline of the topic

Welfare policy change has long been studied dominantly from the perspective of domestic politics. Originating mainly from the debates on globalization and Europeanization, ever more scholarly attention has been paid to the relevance of international and transnational factors in the (re)calibration of welfare policies in both mature Western and especially in the developing welfare states. The first generation of analyses on international impacts focused mainly on independent responses on similar external pressures, the understanding of internationalization thus being merely a functional one. More recently attention has been paid to processes of policy diffusion due to growing density of interaction patterns across countries and the importance of transnational actors.
In Europe, the austerity politics after the crisis of 2008 has made the importance of international factors apparent. Yet, the study of international influences on social policy still has major theoretical and methodological shortcomings especially with regard to the applicability for macro-comparative studies. Theoretical approaches on the impact of different mechanisms of internationalization and policy diffusion are fragmented and empirical measures and methods of analysis for capturing diffusion processes in this specific field are underdeveloped. Empirical evidence is either limited to case studies or single social policy programs, or restricted by simplified empirical measures in comparative studies.

This workshop therefore invites scholars working on international impacts on welfare policies in order to develop a more coherent framework of analysis and more adequate empirical tools for studying the international impacts on welfare policy change. Questions that shall be addressed in the workshop include, but are not limited to:

– What are the different mechanisms of diffusion at work in the field of welfare policy?
– How can we measure diffusion through these diverse mechanisms in macro-comparative
– In which ways do diffusion processes impact different domains of welfare policies?
– How are international impacts filtered or modified by domestic politics?
– In what (differing) ways are mature and developing welfare states receptive to international

The aims of the workshop are thus twofold: to refine and integrate the theoretical arguments dealing with different forms of international impacts on domestic social policy making and to develop adequate methodological treatment and measurement of such impacts. The latter includes overcoming the Galton’s problem, assessing mechanisms such as learning, imitation and coercion and developing more systematic empirical measures.

Propose a paper by November 1st on MyECPR

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