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Methusalem Grant Holder Bea Cantillon

Social Progress in Europe: putting new and old paradigms to the test

At the centre of our research stands the question of how social progress in the fields of employment as well as poverty reduction and social inclusion can be achieved, given
a) the expenditures necessitated by ageing, increasing health care costs and the creation of good jobs (particularly on child daycare, leave schemes, in-work benefits);
b) the requirement to combat employment traps in order to make work more attractive at the bottom end of the labour market for individuals possessing lower-productive skills;
c) the more adequate social protection that is necessary in order to reduce poverty among work-poor households;
d) the growing impact of EU decision-making on European welfare states on the one hand and regionalisation of social policies in many nations on the other;
e) the increasing social fragmentation and spatial concentration of social risks. Such a concerted research effort will allow us to contribute to the theoretical framing of the functioning of contemporary welfare states and to answer questions that are foundational to the future of social policy.

These issue will be approached at hand in five different research streams, focusing respectively on:

a) the notion and measurement of poverty and, more generally, of social progress;
b) the dynamics of job polarisation and the policies that may contribute to a better distribution of jobs;
c) the impact of social redistribution and how it may be enhanced in a legitimate way;
d) the organisation of national welfare states in the European multilevel setting;
e) the assumptions of new policy paradigms and their potential for social policymaking in the EU.