Category Archives: Welfare State

SASE Mini-Conference Day 2

It’s the second and final day of our SASE Mini-conference on The Welfare State in Financial Times. Today, we start with a panel on financialization and state transformation (see details below). We conclude our mini-conference with a panel on financialization and the changing face of welfare.

Panel: Financialization and State Transformation (15:00-16:30 CET)

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Panel: Financialization and the Changing Face of Welfare (18:00-19:30 CET)

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SASE Mini-Conference Day 1

Today, we’re kicking off our long-awaited SASE mini-conference on financialization and the welfare state. Organized by Jeanne Lazarus, Daniel Mertens and myself, the mini-conference aims to explore the complicated new ways in which social and financial policies have become entangled in contemporary welfare states. The contributions to the mini-conference map the ongoing financialization of the welfare state in contemporary political economies by focusing on the introduction and expansion of financial tools and mechanisms in public and private welfare provision. The contributions study how welfare states and other social groupings have debated and introduced new public policies and financial tools that promise to protect against growing financial risks in everyday life. Looking at these promises of protections through the market requires a fundamentally different understanding of the nature of the welfare state than the scholarship’s traditional focus on decommodification.

Even though we are not able to meet in person in Amsterdam this year, we have been able to put together an exciting online program covering multiple dimensions of financialization in the realm of social policy and the state. Today’s program includes a panel on the political economy of financial sector practices, regulation and macroeconomic functions; financialization and household debt; and financialization and pensions. For details, see below.

Panel “The Political Economy of Finance Sector Practices, Regulation and Macroeconomic Functions” (10:00-11:30 CET)

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Panel “Financialization and Household Debt” (15:00-16:30 CET)SASE2

Panel “Financialization and Pensions” (18:00-19:30 CET)

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Postdoc for DEEPEN Project

I am looking for a postdoctoral researcher to join the NORFACE-funded project  “Democratic Governance of Funded Pension Schemes.” Applications can be submitted until June 23 via the Leiden University website.

Post-Doctoral researcher for the NORFACE project  “Democratic Governance of Funded Pension Schemes

Description of the vacancy

Leiden University’s Institute of Public Administration is looking for a post-doctoral researcher to join the research project “Democratic Governance of Funded Pension Schemes” (DEEPEN) for a period of three years at 1.0 FTE. This position is made possible by a grant from the New Opportunities for Research Funding Agency Cooperation in Europe (NORFACE) Network. The project explores the democratic governance of capital-funded occupational pension schemes and investigates how governments, regulators and labor market actors govern funded pensions and whether participants are satisfied with pension fund performance. The project focuses on Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Ireland and Spain. The project combines quantitative analysis of survey data with comparative case studies based on elite and expert interviews and analysis of primary and secondary documents.

The postdoc will be part of the research team at Leiden University, led by Dr. Natascha van der Zwan. Other research teams are based in Austria, Ireland and Spain. The postdoc will conduct case studies of selected occupational pension schemes in the Netherlands to investigate the decision-making processes that link welfare provisions to financial markets. The postdoc will also contribute to comparative research on the regulatory context of occupational pensions in the project countries.

Key responsibilities

  • Conduct independent and collaborative research on the democratic governance of capital-funded occupational pension schemes;
  • Conduct elite and expert interviews in the Netherlands to gather information on the individual cases selected for analysis;
  • Collect and analyse information on the regulatory context of occupational pension provisions in the Netherlands;
  • Disseminate the project’s findings as co-author in high-ranking international peer-reviewed journals, conference presentations, policy reports and other relevant formats;
  • Collaborate in presenting the project to key stakeholders, academics and policymakers/practitioners working on occupational pensions.

 Selection criteria

  • Candidates hold a PhD in political science, sociology, economics, organization studies, geography or another relevant discipline;
  • Candidates have a strong command of qualitative research methods;
  • Candidates have a promising publication record that includes publications in international refereed journals;
  • Candidates have a proven ability to communicate research findings to non-academic audiences, e.g. through publications aimed at a broader audience, media work, etc;
  • In addition to proficiency in English, a good command of Dutch is considered an important asset. Project responsibilities include conducting elite and expert interviews in the Netherlands.

Our organization

The Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs (FGGA) offers academic education in the field of Public Administration, Safety and Security, and International Relations, as well as in-depth post-academic programmes for professionals. In addition, the Faculty is also home to Leiden University College.

See: http://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/governance-and-global-affairs

Our institute 

The Institute of Public Administration has an established international profile and has consistently received high ratings in peer reviews of both its teaching and research programs. The Institute offers a Dutch-language Bachelor program with two tracks, a Dutch-language Master Program in Public Sector Management and an English-language Master programs in ‘Public Administration.’

http://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/governance-and-global-affairs/institute-of-public-administration

Terms and conditions

The position starts between 1 October 2020 and 1 December 2020. The appointment will be made initially on a one-year full-time basis, with an extension to a total of three years after positive evaluation. The appointment will be under the terms of the Collective Labour Agreement (CAO) of Dutch Universities. The starting salary, depending on qualifications and experience, varies from € 2.709,-to € 4.274 gross per month (pay scale 10) in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.

Information with respect to conditions of employment of the University can be found on http://staff.leiden.edu/

Excellent benefits

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3 %). Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. For international spouses we have set up a dual career programme. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break.

See https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/working-at/job-application-procedure-and-employment-conditions.

Diversity

Leiden University is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups.

Enquiries

Enquiries can be made to dr. Natascha van der Zwan, email n.a.j.van.der.zwan@fgga.leidenuniv.nl

Applications

Please submit online your application no later than June 23, 2020 via this link. Please ensure that you upload the following additional documents in PDF format:

  • Motivation letter;
  • Curriculum vitae including a list of publications;
  • A sample publication;
  • A copy of your completed PhD degree (or a supervisor declaration that the PhD thesis is deemed defendable);
  • The names and contact details of three potential referees (no actual recommendation letters required at this stage).

Enquiries from agencies are not appreciated.

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Filed under DEEPEN, Institute of Public Administration, Pension Funds, Welfare State

NORFACE Funding for DEEPEN Project

I am thrilled to announce that the NORFACE network is funding our project “Democratic Governance of Funded Pension Schemes” (DEEPEN).

DEEPEN explores the democratic governance of capital-funded occupational pension schemes. We adopt Scharpf’s distinction between input legitimacy (are collectively binding decisions in line with citizens’ democratically expressed preferences?) and output legitimacy (do collectively binding decisions serve the common interests of the citizens?) to investigate how governments, regulators and labour market actors govern funded pensions (input legitimacy) and whether participants are satisfied with pension fund performance (output legitimacy). The project focuses on Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Ireland and Spain because the structure of funded pension provision varies along key dimensions relevant to input and output legitimacy.

The project combines quantitative analysis of survey data with comparative case studies based on elite and expert interviews and analysis of primary and secondary documents. Four work packages investigate the following research questions: How does national policy define participant influence on funded pension provision? How do stakeholders use pension fund governance to influence investment policy? How have capital-funded pension schemes performed in terms of pension outcomes across European welfare states? To what extent are individual attitudes on pension investment aligned with these inputs and outputs?

The project team includes Karen Anderson (PI) from University College Dublin, Juan Fernandez from University Carlos III in Madrid and Tobias Wiss from the Johannes Keppler University Linz. We’ll be hiring post-doctoral researchers (Dublin, Leiden) and PhD students (Linz, Madrid) to join our project team.

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Filed under Financialization, Institute of Public Administration, Nederland Pensioenland, Pension Funds, Welfare State

Out Soon: Business Interests and the Modern Welfare State

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I’m very happy to see the new edited volume by Dennie Oude Nijhuis, Business Interests and the Development of the Modern Welfare State, is coming out in July 2019. The volume offers “a synthesis on the question of business attitudes towards and its influence over the development of the modern welfare state.” Chapters consist of both historical country case studies and comparative chapters with country focus on Germany, Finland, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. Policy aras covered include active labor market policies, educational policies, employment protection legislation, healthcare, private pension programs, and work‐family policies.

My own chapter in this volume explores how the financialization of the political economy during the last quarter of the 20th century has influenced business preferences for occupational pensions. I argue that capital funding has important ramifications for business preferences towards occupational pensions. With capital funding, the extent to which these plans can protect against the social risks associated with old age has become partially dependent on the financial risks stemming from capital funding. Financialization thus turns an influential argument in the business interests scholarship on its head, namely that, depending on size and industry, employers might be willing to incur higher risks to gain more control over social welfare provisions: as financialization reduces the possibilities for control over occupational pension provisions, employers will be more likely to adopt political preferences aimed at risk reduction. My argument builds on a comparative case study of business groups in the United States and the Netherlands.

 

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Filed under Financialization, Pension Funds, Publications, United States, Welfare State

CFP: ECPR General Conference

3621486017_55be943c58_bPhoto credit: Klearchos Kapoutsis

Together with Daniel Mertens, I am co-organizing one of the panels at the 2019 ECPR General Conference in Section 11: Changing Political Economies and Welfare States. Our panel aims to analyze comparatively how the welfare state and the financial system are mutually intertwined, adopting a broader conception of finance which includes not just financial actors and their interest organizations, but also financial ideas and narratives.

From the CFP: “Scholars of the welfare state have shown how traditional welfare arrangements are challenged by new kinds of risks that have emerged in the late twentieth century. Among these risks is the process of financialization. It refers to the growing influence of financial markets and financial actors over the productive economy and over society at large, affecting the welfare state in several ways. For instance, welfare provisions may rely on financial market investment for funding while financial arrangements have also been touted as alternative sources of welfare (e.g. through asset-based welfare) and governments have developed new financial activities in order to maintain current welfare provisions. Furthermore, several indirect effects of financialization affect the sustainability of mature welfare states, such as growing indebtedness and social-economic inequalities.

Against this background, the panel has two aims: First, it hopes to reintegrate scholarship on welfare and finance to come to a better understanding of how the welfare state and the financial system are mutually intertwined, both historically and comparatively. Furthermore, we hope to approach the panel theme using a broader conception of finance: to include not just financial actors and their interest organizations, but also financial ideas and narratives, norms and practices that interact at different scales of the modern polity.”

Check out the CFP here!

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