What is it about?

Recent Publications

New Policy Brief: Minimizing Misery: A New Strategy for Public Policies instead of Maximizing Happiness
In her new Policy Brief, Orsolya Lelkes states that preventing avoidable unhappiness should be given priority as a policy goal – even more so than maximizing happiness. Using a cross-sectional multi-country dataset with 57 thousand observations from 29 European countries, she shows that unhappiness varies a great deal more across social groups than (high levels of) happiness does.
Lasting unhappiness could be regarded as an undesirable personal condition as such, similar to poverty or social exclusion, and reducing it needs to be a key welfare state objective. Policies need to focus on reducing unhappiness, partly on ethical grounds, partly because it costs a lot to us in economic terms (as much as about 10% of GDP). Private misery is therefore a public issue.
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Past Events

International Seminar: Renationalizing Pensions
On 5 December, Achim Kemmerling (Central European University) gave an international seminar on the political economy of reversing pension reform. He argued that the recent reversals in pension privatization in countries such as Hungary and Argentina show how different forms of learning coexist and reinforce each other and highlight the role of policy cycles especially in structurally weak societies. For more information, contact Pieter Vanhuysse.
InGRID Poverty and Wellbeing Indicators Workshop
On November 27-29, Katrin Gasior and Pieter Vanhuysse each presented at an expert workshop on framework and methods for indicator building for various vulnerable groups organized by the TARKI Social Research Institute for the InGRID FP7 consortium. The workshop discussed the conceptual frames, structure and dissemination aspects of existing indicator databases in the field of poverty, living conditions and well-being, as well as the planned research within the poverty pillar of the InGRID project, including IPOLIS (Integrated Poverty and Living Conditions Indicator System).
Are Healthcare Systems (and Citizens' Health) Becoming a Collateral Victim of the Financial Crisis?
Ricardo Rodrigues attended an expert workshop organised by Eurofound to discuss how budget-balancing measures in healthcare are impacting services and ultimately citizens’ health. Amidst some limited efficiency gains (Ireland) and tentative reforms (Greece), it seems that across-the-board cuts in healthcare spending may be hampering access to care and risk increasing long-term costs, e.g. due to cuts in cost-effective public health measures. Other potential side-effects of cuts in healthcare spending are workforce shortages and care drain. Ricardo Rodrigues and Eszter Zólyomi will soon publish a Research Note, commissioned by the European Commission, on the effects of the financial crisis on unmet needs.