What is it about?
New Policy Brief: Far from a Common Market - Exploring the Surprising Paucity of German Care Home Providers in Austria
In this Policy Brief, Kai Leichsenring reports on an exploration of German care home providers’ experiences to move (or not to move) their activities to Austria in the context of EU regulations. The exploratory study in the context of the EU FP7 project ‘Evaluating Care Across Borders’ (ECAB) was based on three interviews with relevant stakeholders in Austria. Read more
Article in West European Politics on economic crisis
An article by Pieter Vanhuysse and Prof Markus Tepe (University of Oldenburg) on 'Who Cuts Back and When? The Politics of Delays in Social Expenditure Cutbacks' has been selected together with papers by Vivien A Schmidt, Frank Baumgartner, Andrew Martin, George Ross and others for the virtual special issue on 'Economic Crises and West European Politics' of the journal West European Politics (5-year impact factor 1.713). The article applies event history analysis to explain the timing of both small and large-sized social spending cutbacks in 21 OECD welfare states. Macro-economic determinants such as worker productivity, economic growth and unemployment are found to be more important than these political variables. However, leftwing governments and welfare states with more institutional rigidity or a larger degree of contribution financing do tend to delay welfare cutbacks, while cabinets that have recently changed their party composition implement cutbacks earlier.

New article: Minimising Misery: A New Strategy for Public Policies Instead of Maximising Happiness?
In her forthcoming article in the Social Indicators Research (5-year impact factor 1.362), Orsolya Lelkes raises the issue whether public policy should focus on minimizing unhappiness rather than maximizing happiness. Using a cross-sectional multi-country dataset with 57,000 observations from 29 European countries, she shows that unhappiness varies a great deal more across social groups than (high levels of) happiness does. While misery appears to strongly relate to broad social issues (such as unemployment, poverty, social isolation), bliss might be more of a private matter, with individual strategies and attitudes, hidden from the eye of a policy-maker. Download working paper version.

Article: The Loneliness of the Unemployed: Social and Political Participation in Germany in a European Context
The economic and social crisis highlights the importance of social connections, as they could potentially function as a sort of ”personal safety net“. The article by Orsolya Lelkes focuses on social and political participation indicators, including trust, social meetings, political activities and social isolation. It presents Germany in a European context, and also compares the situation of specific social groups in Germany. The unemployed are particularly exposed to social isolation: about one out of eight German unemployed have no close friend at all. In addition, they are less likely to be politically active, which reduces their interest representation potentials.
(Social Indicators Information Service (ISI), No. 50. August 2013, pp. 7-11.). Read more
New publication: Kosten und Effizienz der kindlichen Primärversorgung
In her article, Maria M. Hofmarcher analyses and compares costs and efficiency of children’s primary care in Austria. These costs are relatively high, both at the level of primary care as well as in terms of cash benefits in the context of family allowances. This contrasts with an internationally rather below-average level of children’s health. Also, health disparities rank high, although children in Austria assess their health and wellbeing consistently high. To ensure efficiency, a mix of measures is needed that go beyond improvements in primary care. This involves non-medical health professionals as well as promoting and expanding targeted cooperation with other policy areas. Read more
Czech Sociological Review book review: Aging Social Policies
The summer 2013 issue of the Czech Sociological Review, the number one sociology journal from Central and Eastern Europe (impact factor 0.652), edited by Pieter Vanhuysse, features a review by the European Centre's Eszter Zolyomi on Robyn Wacker and Karen Roberto's Aging Social Policies: An International Perspective. It also features reviews written by Linda Cook (Brown), Marek Naczyk (Oxford), Peter Rozic (Georgetown), Sean Hanley (UC London), Timo Weishaupt (Mannheim) and others. They review altogether ten books in sociology and social policy, authored by Barbara Vis, Guglielmo Meardi, Jochen Clasen, Richard Rose, Leonardo Morlino and others. Read more
Social Situation Monitor is now on-line
Each year the Social Situation Monitor:
- carries out policy-relevant analysis and research on the current socio-economic situation in the EU on the basis of the most recent available data,
- examines major issues which are features of the situation or affect it with the aim of providing evidence on which to base policy-making across the EU.
The key findings and previous research notes are now available on the European Commission website.

Quick scan service for Israeli NLO: Poverty Alleviation and Outsourcing/Privatization of Social Services
At the request of our Israeli National Liaison Official (NLO) Renée Techelet, Ricardo Rodrigues and Pieter Vanhuysse performed a quick scan survey on issues regarding poverty alleviation approaches especially in mixed cities, as well as outsourcing/privatization of social services in the UK. For instance the latest policy document on poverty from the UK Department of Work and Pensions, which includes a progress report on service delivery at national and local level, in government and across the private and voluntary sectors. Similarly, the current government in the UK has set out to accelerate the transfer delivery of the UK’s public social services to the private sector, using a variety of models, as summarised in a recent report on privatisation of social services in the UK. For more information contact Pieter Vanhuysse.