The results of a pan-European research project looking at the future of the welfare state were unveiled at a workshop that brought leading international economists to the University of Aberdeen Business School.
The event marked the completion of a three year project that received €807,446 in funding as part of the Welfare State Future Programme of NORFACE, a partnership of national research funding agencies in Europe.
The Globalisation Labour Markets and the Welfare State (GLobLabWS) project explored the future of the welfare state and its role in shaping the relationship between globalisation and labour markets.
Led by Professor Catia Montagna, Jaffrey Chair of Political Economy at the University of Aberdeen Business School, the project focused on the interaction between globalisation and welfare state institutions in determining aggregate economic performance.
Collaborators in the project included the Kiel Institute of the World Economy in Germany and Lund University in Sweden.
Professor Montagna said: “From a scientific perspective, one of the project’s key contributions has been to help bridge the microeconomic and macroeconomic approaches to the study of the welfare state.
“Just as important are the policy implications of this body of work, which show that efficient labour markets do not need to be thin on security.
“Indeed, our study demonstrates that support for the unemployed, social investment and activation policies – in addition to education and industrial polices - can trigger a virtuous interaction between labour market participation and productivity growth that is essential to a country’s international competitiveness.
“The welfare state may be under threat but if this is so, it is because of the way current policy debates are based on narrow theories that fail to capture the complexity of the processes characterising the impact of welfare state policies.”