The Centre for Social Policy Herman Deleeck (CSB) has been studying social inequality and wealth distribution in the welfare state for over 40 years.
The research is empirical and multidisciplinary in nature, and is based largely on survey data. Herman Deleeck, who founded the Centre in 1972, fulfilled a pioneering role in developing social indicators for Flanders and Belgium. The Centre’s research activities belong to the tradition of social policy analysis that makes use of sociological, economic and legal paradigms.
In the mid-1980s, the Centre conducted the first comparative empirical research into financial poverty, material deprivation and the redistributive function of social security within the then European Community. In that same period, attention was also devoted to the functioning of policies in the fields of education, healthcare, housing and culture.
Since then, the research focus has broadened. Social security remains the main point of interest, but the Centre now also studies such subdomains as taxation, education, the family, labour, health, migration and, more recently, mobility.
Methodologically, too, the Centre has broadened and deepened approach. Analyses are still largely based on a statistical approach to survey data, but the scope for international comparison is increasingly widened. CSB has also developed various policy evaluation tools. The centre makes use of self-developed microsimulation models to measure the effect of policy alternatives. Furthermore, CSB focuses on improving the operationalisation and measurement of means indicators using standard simulations, which is still a critical void in research. In addition to applying survey data, the centre is exploring the possibility of using administrative data besides survey data as a source for analysis.