Conducted on behalf of: Bertelsmann Stiftung
Commenced: January 2014
The financial and economic crisis and its political reception have forced many EU countries to implement severe austerity policies. In some cases, these reforms have impaired social inclusion and may lead to a dismantling of the welfare state. However, researchers and policy-makers still lack systematic and standardised data on the extent to and the direction in which individual Member States have changed their social policies.
Bertelsmann Stiftung aims to fill this gap with the Social Inclusion Monitor Europe (SIM). The project will collect, aggregate and weight data on policy reforms affecting several key dimensions of social inclusion – such as poverty prevention, inclusive labour markets and inclusive education. Only such data will enable informed evaluations of the effects of reforms and cross-country comparisons. On the basis of an annual online expert survey, the project will evaluate governmental initiatives as well as governments’ political agenda-setting with regard to social issues for each of the 28 EU Member States. With approximately 40 indicators, the SIM will become one of the most extensive databases of directional social policy change available to date.
Objectives of the project
The SIM aims to produce a dataset that will be used for several purposes. Firstly, it will inform European public debate on topics such as reform efforts of single Member States or comparisons of Member States’ efforts to address social problems like youth unemployment. Secondly, it will make available rich data to stakeholders (e.g. the European Commission or NGOs) for investigating malpractice and reform gridlock in certain Member States. Thirdly, it will enable researchers to address a wide array of questions including the causes and consequences of social policy change and welfare state reform.
Dr Simona Milio is Associate Director of the Social and Cohesion Policy Unit at LSE Enterprise.
Bregtje Kamphuis is a Project Officer and Researcher at LSE Enterprise.
Melissa Shannon is a PhD candidate in Demography in LSE’s Department of Social Policy.
Gabrielle Leroux is an MSc student in European and Comparative Social Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science.