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Dr. Camilla Addey
Dr. Camilla Addey
Camilla Addey from Columbia University raises this question in her research project "ILSA Inc.", which she recently presented at CRC 1342.

The results of international large-scale assessments (ILSA) such as PISA, IGLU or TIMMS have a significant influence on the education policies of the participating countries. According to the OECD, for example, a large majority of participating countries have indicated that PISA has influenced the design of curricula and that their policy-making is influenced by the strategies of high-performing countries.

"The data from these International Large Scale Assessments are generally considered accurate and reliable," said Camilla Addey, lecturer at Columbia University, New York. During a presentation of her research project "ILSA Inc." to members of the SFB 1342 at the University of Bremen last week, Addey said that most steps of ILSAs (including development, implementation and evaluation) had been outsourced to private companies. "We do not know what impact this significant involvement of the private sector has on large-scale assessments and ultimately on education policy," said Adey. "So far there has been no empirical research on this topic."

Addey wants to close this gap with her project. Addey collects qualitative and quantitative data through network ethnography, a mixture of network analysis, qualitative interviews, observations and much more. Addey's goal is to map the network of global ILSA actors and make the nature of their relationships transparent.

Addey is still in the early stages of data collection. However, she said that the network of companies and individuals involved in international large-scale assessments was relatively small and closed. During the presentation Addey did not want to reveal details from the first interviews she had conducted with employees of relevant international organisations. It would be too early for that. However, those interested could contact her directly.

Camilla Addey at a glance:
Camilla Addey is lecturer at Teachers College at Columbia University in New York. She is also co-directing the Laboratory of International Assessment Studies, an interdisciplinary network for experts in international large-scale assessments.

Prof. Dr. Frank Nullmeier and Dr. Dieter Wolf
Prof. Dr. Frank Nullmeier and Dr. Dieter Wolf
Sven Beckert's work on the history of the global cotton trade inspires Frank Nullmeier to reflect on future social policy research.

As part of the lecture series "Global Cotton. One University - one Book - one City" Frank Nullmeier and Dieter Wolf presented their thoughts on what social policy research can learn from Sven Beckert's book "Empire of Cotton".

Based on years of research, historian Beckert tells the story of global capitalism using one product as an example: cotton. Through production, processing and trade, the natural fibre has linked the most diverse regions of the world.

After Dieter Wolf had discussed two of Beckert's key points (1, "The triangular trade between Europe, Africa and Latin America was based on violence and a manifestation of war capitalism" and 2, "The British banned slavery when industrial production based on wage labour became more profitable than the old model"), Frank Nullmeier raised the question of what modern social policy research can learn from Sven Beckert's approach and methodology. Nullmeier named three main points:

1) Transnationality. National historiography is no longer sufficient to explain the dynamics of social policy decisions. Due to the integration into the global economic and financial system, the effects of migration and global communication systems, decisions on social policy no longer result solely from national factors. Social policy research must therefore be expanded into a history of transnational links across continents, similar to Beckert's history of cotton cultivation and trade and its effects.

2) Political economy. Beckert did not see global cotton trade purely as a result of the interplay between supply and demand. It results (to this day) to a considerable extent from the balance of power and violence between the participating countries and empires. The same applies to social policy: the economy as a central influencing factor cannot be adequately explained without the political sphere, including the balance of law, regulations, power and violence.

3) Analysis of causal chains: In his book, Beckert uses many examples to show how an entire cascade of events and reactions to them had many different effects in different places around the world. Social policy research should also pursue such long causal chains and reconstruct complex causal networks in order to understand the emergence and change of social policies.

The lecture series "Global Cotton. One university - one book - one city" runs until the end of the year.


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Frank Nullmeier
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58576
E-Mail: frank.nullmeier@uni-bremen.de

The Russian government has recently decided to raise the retirement age and VAT. CRC member Martin Brand analyses whether these decisions were necessary and what social disruptive force they could unfold.

Value-added tax in Russia is to rise from 18 to 20 percent. But it is above all the pension reform that moves people in Russia, writes Brand: The regular retirement age is to rise from 55 to 63 for women and from 60 to 65 for men. If you look at life expectancy, especially of Russian men (67.5 years), it is obvious that this reform is extremely unpopular: according to a survey, 92 percent of the population are against it. Protests are already taking place on online platforms and in the streets.

On the other hand, the reform seems inevitable: the pension fund is chronically in deficit, in 2018 the equivalent of 17.7 billion euros will be missing, 40 percent of revenues will come from the state budget. "This tension between economic and social factors," writes Brand, "builds the background of the debate about Russia's pension system reform - at the latest after the World Cup". 

Further information:
The detailed article for the Federal Agency for Civic Education


Contact:
Martin Brand
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Research Centre for East European Studies
Klagenfurter Straße 8
28359 Bremen
E-Mail: martin.brand@uni-bremen.de

Keonhi Son
Keonhi Son
Keonhi Son is especially interested in social policies of emerging countries. In an interview she explains why the shortcomings of the South Korean social system are a major motivating factor for her.

You studied in South Korea and made a bachelor’s degree, but then you gave your career a complete turn-around. Please tell me about it.

I did my bachelor's degree in South Korea and then I started a totally new subject in a different country.

What was your first subject?

My first subject was English literature and I specialised in English theatre. I was quite into it at that time. But at one point I made another decision.

Why? Did you work in that field and did not like it?

I worked a bit for a theatre company and then I went to London to learn a bit more. Then I moved to Germany to study more. But I really didn't like theatre studies in Germany. That was when I realised that literature and theatre may not be the right thing for me. So I started to figure out what my second favourite subject was: public administrative studies or political science - in South Korea both are very mixed.

And that was what you made your master's degree in Heidelberg in.

Yes, in Public Policy.

Political or administrative science is very different to literature and theatre – what is it that you like about the subject so much?

First of all, studying political science was great fun. But secondly South Korea really needs to develop its social policy right now. Because we achieved economic development but the other factors didn't follow up yet. So I wanted to contribute to that. My parents and my relatives for example suffer from the absence of a well-established pension system. Somehow I was thinking: Maybe I can do something about it. Germany was a perfect place for me to study. Because it has quite a long history of social security systems.

I read that South Korea recently made some progress in terms of social policy: They reduced the weekly working hours - from 68 to 52!

Still very much!

Do South Koreans really work that much?

Yes, they do. It's a totally different mindset from European people. People back then had a very high level of job security and at the same time they thought they belonged to the company - they dedicated their life to their company. Even if the company exploited the people. But for a long time the people were okay with that and thought: This is the place I belong to. But now job security in South Korea is very low. Young people do not want to do long hours anymore: "Your are not going to hire me forever, so why should I work for you forever?" The reduction of the working hours is a good sign but at the same time it is sad. Because now job security is very low. Like anywhere else.

What would you like to achieve in your career in the next 30 to 40 years?

That is a very long time. I think in our generation we will have to change our jobs our jobs often. But I really want to be a researcher. I want to study social policy of less developed countries. So the CRC is the perfect project for me because I always wanted to study this subject especially in my region. I am not so sure if I want to BE or BECOME something in terms of career, but I am sure that I want to DO something.

Does that mean that you want to change the South Korean society?

I would like to help a bit. Change is too big a word. I am not that ambitious. I would like at least to provide a good model of social policy that might work. When Europe developed its welfare state, the constellation was completely different to the one we encounter in Soth Korea right now. It is a very different game now. We need to produce a new model of social policy. We can't just copy the European system. Working on the development of such a new system, that is what I want to do.

If you had anything you needed: enough research money, bright colleagues and all the necessary knowledge - which research question would you like to solve?

That is a very big question. I think it's quite similar to what I already told you. The less developed countries are in a situation that they have suffered from financial crisis, rapid globalisation, de-industrialisation, post-industrialisation and so on - with all of these things happening we should know how to develop our social policies, because we developed the social security systems way slower than our economy. And before the private insurance system will dominate the entire system, we should somehow find a way to provide a public social system.


Contact:
Keonhi Son
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 9
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58541
E-Mail: son@uni-bremen.de

Senator Eva Quante-Brandt
Senator Eva Quante-Brandt
The Collaborative Research Centre "Global Dynamics of Social Policy" presented its research programme to an expert audience in Bremen. Senator Quante-Brandt emphasised the importance of the CRC for the federal state and its science enviroment.

The Collaborative Research Centre "Global Development Dynamics of Social Policy" (CRC 1342) has presented its research programme to an expert audience on 1 June. About 100 invited guests from universities, politics, administration and civil society came to the Bremen House of Science to follow the presentation and to talk to the team of the CRC 1342.

To kick off the event, Bremen's Senator of Science Eva Quante-Brandt congratulated the team of the CRC 1342 on the success of the proposal and the funding by the German Research Foundation. She emphasised the importance of the social sciences for Bremen as a research location and described the CRC 1342 as a "social science lighthouse project that shines beyond the borders of Europe". Excellent research and teaching, high international visibility and immediate social benefit of research - the CRC will set a milestone in these fields, Quante-Brandt said.

CRC spokesperson Herbert Obinger then gave an overview of the structure and research programme of the CRC. In a worldwide comparison Obinger showed that the introduction of social policy programmes varied greatly in time and space. "Why are there these major differences in social policy? This is what we are interested in, this is what we want to explain," said Obinger. To this end, the researchers involved in the CRC investigate not only factors of influence within nation states, but also international interdependencies such as economic relations, migration, the exchange of ideas, the influence of international organisations and relations of violence between states.

Frank Nullmeier pointed out that societies are faced with the fundamental decision as to whether they react to social challenges in an exclusive or solidarity-based manner, i.e. through social policy measures. In many parts of the world, forms of social protection existed very early, including in Europe, South America and South-East Asia.

In its analysis, the CRC 1342 focuses on the period 1880 to 2020 and takes 1) a macro-quantitative approach in order to identify and analyse the various areas of social policy on a global scale. A central element of this project area is the development of a web-based, interactive database on social policy: the Global Welfare Information System (WeSIS). On the other hand, 2) detailed case studies are conducted at country level in order to investigate in depth the effects that a wide variety of influencing factors have on the design of social policy. The aim of this project area is to develop a theory of social policy dynamics that overcomes purely national narratives by capturing the causal mechanisms leading to the emergence of public social policy due to the interaction between national factors with inter- and transnational interdependencies.


Contact:
Philipp Jarke
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58573
E-Mail: pjarke@uni-bremen.de

Dr. Armin Müller
Dr. Armin Müller
As a teenager Armin Müller knew nothing about China, today he speaks Mandarin and is an expert on China's social security system. In an interview, he explains which impact state censorship has on his work and what money recycling machines are all about.

What would you have become if you hadn't become a scientist?

I wanted to be a musician. I played classical and electric guitar and in school I studied music as a major. I enjoyed it, but sometimes your wishes and reality do not match.

Obviously you noticed that in time and turned to science.

Yes, already as a teenager I was very interested in politics, economics and the connections between the two, especially with regard to the development of non-European societies. After school I looked around for something that was both practical and exciting for me personally. That's where political science came into play.

You're very interested in China. How did this happen?

When I was 16 or 17, I started reading oriental philosophy, and I found Taoism in particular quite exciting. I also realised relatively early on that China will have a strong political and economic position in the world by 2020. But I had to realize that I actually knew nothing about the country apart from the fact that a communist party reigns there. So I thought it would be interesting to take a closer look.

China is a rather inaccessible place for most people. Outside the capitals hardly anyone speaks English, the street signs only show Chinese characters... When did you first travel to China and how was that?

I was in China for the first time in 2003. But I had been learning Mandarin for a year and a half and was able to communicate. That made the country much more accessible to me. I have no idea what it's like to travel around China without speaking Chinese. All in all I imagine it to be quite difficult, although the most important signs etc. are now also translated into English. Sometimes, however, translation errors creep in, which can be quite funny when an ATM carries the label "Money Recycling Machine", for example.

You're fluent in Chinese now ...

Yes. Although I always have to refresh the language. I read Chinese texts every day, especially scientific ones. But that is quite a special vocabulary. So I use the time I'm on the train on my way to Jacobs University in the morning to practice my vocabulary.

China has undergone major changes since the turn of the millennium, state control and censorship are growing. How does this affect your work as a scientist?

At the beginning of the century there was a phase of opening: for some years it was relatively easy to conduct research on site. In recent years, things have tended to become more difficult again. The social climate has changed and many people are more cautious today than ten years ago. However, it also depends very much on what subject you are dealing with. Social policy is generally not a particularly sensitive issue.

Why did you specialise in social policy?

When my master's thesis was approaching, the new socio-political initiatives of China, some of which we are investigating in our CRC project, have just begun. My professor was also interested and so I started to deal with the rural health care system. The social security systems and political and administrative processes in China are quite complex and there is a lot to be done in this area.

Can you briefly outline your role in the project?

I am currently setting up an internal database to analyse how the various forms of social security have spread in recent years - especially since 2000, but also before that. Coordination among the various scientists is also an important task of mine because we are spread over two universities. And soon two PhD students wil join our team.

Dear Armin, thank you very much for the interview - we wish you and your whole team much success for your project!

 


Contact:
Dr. Armin Müller
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Research IV and China Global Center
Campus Ring 1
28759 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 200-3473
E-Mail: arm.mueller@jacobs-university.de

Oleksandra Betliy, external country expert of the SFB 1342, has published her analysis of the Ukrainian pension reform in Ukraine-Analysen. Betliy concludes that further reforms of the judicial and financial systems are necessary.

The average pension in Ukraine is one of the lowest in Europe, while state pension obligations are very high in relation to GDP. In the past 15 years there have been several reforms of the deficient Ukrainian pension system, the most recent in October 2017.

Oleksandra Betliy works as an external country expert for the CRC "Global Dynamics of Social Policy" and has analysed the pension reforms in Ukraine. She has published her results in the current issue of Ukraine-Analysen. She concludes that the reform approaches are promising, but that long-term success will depend on economic growth and reforms of the judicial and financial market systems.

Oleksandra Betliy has been a Leading Research Fellow at the Institute for Economic Research and Policy Consulting in Kiev since 2002. Her research interests include fiscal policy and tax forecasts as well as social issues, including health and labour market policy. As a country expert at the CRC 1342, she cooperates primarily with project B06 "External reform models and internal debates on the new conceptualisation of social policy in the post-Soviet region".

The Ukraine-Analysen are published jointly by the Research Centre for East European Studies at the University of Bremen, the Centre for East European and International Studies, the German Association for East European Studies, the German Poland Institute, the Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies and the Leibniz Institute for East and Southeast European Studies.


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Heiko Pleines
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Research Centre for East European Studies
Klagenfurter Straße 8
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-69602
E-Mail: pleines@uni-bremen.de

Ali Hamandi
Ali Hamandi
Ali Hamandi of Harvard University spoke at a joint event of CRC 1342 and SOCIUM about the political efforts in the US to provide more long-term care services at the homes of care recipients.

On the 23rd of April 2018, the CRC 1342 and SOCIUM were delighted to host a talk, “Long-Term Care in the US: Lessons to be learned,” by Ali Hamandi, a Trudeau Foundation Scholar and Ph.D. student at Harvard University. In addition to providing a comprehensive overview that helped to shed light on a highly fragmented and complex system of services, programmes, and financing schemes in place within and across the 50 US states, Mr. Hamandi’s talk addressed the growing interest in American policy discourse in “rebalancing” care for the elderly and/or disabled away from the institutional setting and more toward home care based services (HCBS).

In light of the constraints on autonomy and high costs associated with institutional care, greater investment in HCBS is generally preferred by care recipients and is also increasingly regarded as a civil rights issue amongst advocates for the elderly and disabled. Thus far, financing and provision for HCBS is mainly confined to the states’ Medicaid programmes, thereby restricting access to care for only those elderly and/or disabled that qualify under means testing. Hence the issue of unmet needs despite rebalancing efforts remains an ongoing challenge in the US.

In his talk, Mr. Hamandi raised a series of questions regarding the lack of evidence on the cost-effectiveness of care arrangements within the home, as well as the challenges for states with older and sicker populations for whom institutional care may not be avoided and even preferred. Mr. Hamandi also emphasized the potential role of so-called “tipping points” at which care needs may become so great that even the recipients of long-term care services may come to prefer full time institutional care over their own home.

In attempting to draw lessons to be learned from the US, Mr. Hamandi argued that while variation in how resources and benefits are redistributed across states raises equity concerns, decentralisation may allow for innovative practices and for local needs to be met.

Upon finishing his dissertation this summer, Mr. Hamandi will be taking on a health policy analyst position at the World Bank in Washington DC.


Contact:
Philipp Jarke
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58573
E-Mail: pjarke@uni-bremen.de

Svenja Gödecke
Svenja Gödecke
Svenja Gödecke explains how she is preparing for her doctoral thesis, why Europe is captivating her and what tasks she is taking on in subproject B04.


What would you have become if you hadn't become a scientist?

Good question - I have just graduated last summer. During the last semesters of my studies it became clear that I definitely wanted to work in science, especially as I was also very interested in teaching. Therefore, there was actually no alternative for me. With one small exception perhaps: In Brussels I did an internship with a German trade association. During the internship I was able to experience the EU "live" on site instead of just reading about procedures and actors. This was very interesting, but also a completely different world from the work at the university. I could have imagined working in this area for a while. But I'd have still worked on my PhD thesis in the meantime. No way I would have wanted to to lose touch with science.

You studied European Studies and later European Governance. Why this spatial specialisation?

I found the Bachelor European Studies interesting because it is interdisciplinary. I was able to satisfy my interest in politics and political science while learning different languages and gaining legal and economic insights. In addition, I find the development of European integration and the impact of the EU on its Member States particularly interesting. It is exciting to see how the merger of initially only six states has turned into an internationally unique entity like the EU - with competencies in almost all policy areas. This interest has continued to grow, which is why I enrolled in the Master's programme European Governance.

What will be your role within the CRC?
I am one of two PhD students with Prof. Schmidt and I will deal with the EU and Mercosur in Latin America. I am concerned with labour migration and look at what definitions and agreements do exist within the EU and Mercosur regarding labour migration, in order to explain later, for example, what repercussions these have on the nation states.

How will you conduct your research?

First of all I have to read intensively, because I have not yet dealt with Mercosur. Labour migration is also a relatively new field for me. Therefore I will mainly read, read, read in the near future. Then I can decide how to proceed. Although my work will most likely be qualitative: I will be doing interviews with experts, probably also travelling to Latin America and Brussels. But the details are not clear yet.

How long is your doctoral thesis scheduled for?

My contract runs for three years. The doctoral thesis will probably begin officially in the second half of this year. Until then I will work on the literature research.

Svenja Gödecke at a glance:
After graduating from high school in 2011, Svenja Gödecke studied European Studies and law at the University of Osnabrück. After graduating with a bachelor's degree, she earned a master's degree in European Governance. Her master thesis, which deals with the Europeanisation of sports policy, was awarded the Alumni-Förderpreis Sozialwissenschaften of the University of Osnabrück in March 2018.


Contact:
Svenja Gödecke
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Institute for Intercultural and International Studies
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-67465
E-Mail: svgo@uni-bremen.de

Prof. Dr. Tobias ten Brink
Prof. Dr. Tobias ten Brink
At a conference at Columbia University, Tobias ten Brink presented the aganda of the CRC project on China's social policy and discussed it with leading international experts.

Tobias ten Brink participated in the conference "Expanding Social Policy in China" at the China Center for Social Policy at Columbia University. In a roundtable discussion, ten Brink presented the CRC project "Dynamics of Chinese social policy. Interplay of national and international influences".

"Over the past fifteen years, the Chinese government has invested heavily in expanding the social system, and many citizens have gained access to social services for the first time," says Tobias ten Brink, who is deputy director of the Center for the Study of China & Globalization at Jacobs University Bremen. Although the level of Chinese social services is low compared to the West, it is higher than in other emerging countries such as India.

Ten Brink and Tao Liu from the Institute of East Asian Studies at the University of Duisburg-Essen are jointly directing project B05. In addition to national factors such as economic growth, demography and internal migration, the scientists want to investigate how international factors influence national policy. “The Chinese government and experts have for decades been watching what is happening in other countries, including Europe, and have since then linked international role models with their own social policy traditions and created their own social security system,” says ten Brink.

"Via the presentation in New York, we were able adress parts of the US social policy community, especially those interested in China/East Asia, and channel their attention to our China project and the SFB as a whole," says ten Brink. "The SFB was received with great interest, especially as such extensive funding for social policy research currently seems impossible in the USA, according to the participants." The conference also served to deepen cooperation relations with researchers from the Anglo-Saxon region.


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Tobias ten Brink
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Research IV and China Global Center
Campus Ring 1
28759 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 200-3382
E-Mail: t.tenbrink@jacobs-university.de

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