The University of Antwerp has gathered considerable expertise in the field of social policy and the question how welfare states respond to social, economic and demographic changes in society. Various topics are addressed:
Poverty, inequality and income distribution
The University of Antwerp has a strong reputation for research on issues of poverty and income inequality. Research addresses the development and application of research methodologies for the measurement of poverty and multidimensional inequality, the study of optimal redistributive policies and policy evaluations. On the basis of large-scale surveys of households, estimates can be made of the scope of poverty, the degree of income inequality and the groups that face risk of poverty. Throughout the years the University of Antwerp has built a strong European and international network for collaborative research in this field.
Social Security & Taxation, European social policy
Multiple institutes and departments conduct research related to the different aspects of social protection in welfare states in a broad sense. Social security issues are also studied more in depth: the system of income protection against social risks, such as unemployment, disability, sickness and old age. Specific attention is paid to the actual functioning of social security systems in Belgium and other countries, to reforms and adjustments to systems under changing socio- economic and demographic circumstances, and to the social effectiveness of the systems in terms of minimum income guarantee and acquired standard of living. Whereas research into social policy in the past could be restricted to national policy, European and global dimensions of social redistribution have become more important.
Labour market issues, Competition and Social Law
The internationalization and Europeanization of the labour market on the one hand, and the sociodemographic changes on the other hand, have given rise to new forms of social risks and social inequality, as well as to the phenomenon of social competition. These developments have contributed to increased complexity of social law. The University of Antwerp has extensive research expertise in the field of social law from the perspective of competition and from a social justice approach. Scientific research is focused on labour and social relations with special attention to the study of exploitation and social exclusion and the search for an innovative and better analysis of the function, content and application of social law.
Labour, family & care
This research domain pertains to the changing role of families in society and the adequacy of the current social security system in the light of these changes. Research comprises analyses concerning
- single parenthood and income
- gender balance in recomposed families
- care stress in dual earner families
- career mobility
- the impact of career break schemes as employment, end-of-career and care strategies
Another important question in this area of study is how socially effective income protection can be reconciled with efficient employment policy.
Aging, welfare and care
Research in this domain covers different welfare sectors including
- long-term care
- elderly care
- care for people with disabilities
- special youth care
- child care
- social economy
Against the background of an ageing population, much attention is given to costs and benefit analysis and distribution issues related to medical care.
Further subjects of research are the innovation of institutional processes in dealing with new care demands and the relationship between formal and informal care. Research is mostly multidisciplinary and cross-sectoral.
The issue of migration has more recently been included in the research agenda of various research groups from different faculties. Examples of research questions include:
- The challenge international migration poses to the organization and conceptual boundaries of national welfare states
- Labour market effects of immigration
- Economic growth and migration
- Migration and ethnic minorities and integration policy
Organisation and Strategic Management
The University of Antwerp conducts research in the domain of organisation and strategic management, with focus on understanding the functioning and effectiveness of organisations in the private, public and social profit sector. Key processes focused upon include the impact of government policies, environmental factors and management on the performance of private and public organisations.