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Sustainable European welfare societies: Assessing linkages between social and environmental policy

The project is funded by the Welfare, Working Life and Migration Research Programme (VAM), The Research Council of Norway and coordinated by NOVA, Oslo. Professor Max Koch is responsible for the mainly theoretical Work Package 1 (‘How does the meaning of sustainable social welfare change if we take requirements for environmental sustainability into account?’). The project will be concluded in September 2017.

Project description

Across Europe, governments struggle to make welfare states sustainable. Yet, policymakers and analysts rarely spell out the conditions for achieving such sustainability. Moreover, while the pressures created by demographic ageing are readily acknowledged, the implications of climate and environmental changes for welfare states have som far not been fully theorised nor adequately explored empirically.

The main purpose of this project is to begin to fill this knowledge gap by asking how researchers and policymakers can tackle issues of social welfare and environmental sustainability in coordinated and mutually supportive ways across established policy fields.

The work is organised in four work packages (WPs):

WP1 asks how the meaning of social welfare sustainability changes if we consider environmental concerns, employing as a starting point the literature on sustainable development. (Led by Max koch).

WP2 examines, using international survey data, individual attitudes on issues related to soscial welfare arrangements and the environment and asks whether we can detect cross-national convergence or divergence.

WP3 explores, based on a comparison of four strategically chosen country cases (Norway, Germany, Italy and the UK), what salience and meaning environmental and welfare state sustainability have across three key government departments (social affairs, finance and environment).

WP4 synthesises the findings from the WPs 1-3 and asks what conclusions we can draw with regard to the overarching project theme. WP4 ensures that cross-cutting issues are adequately discussed. The project will be supported by a scientific advisory board made up of three distinguished international scholars with complementary expertise relevant to the project.

Page Manager:


Max Koch

Time frame: To be concluded in 2017
Funding: The Research Council of Norway

Project website


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