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 in the medium term. 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. Only such data will enable informed evaluations of the effects of reforms and cross-country comparisons.
The Bertelsmann Stiftung has engaged the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) to jointly provide this data via the Social Inclusion Expert Survey, which is an essential part of the SIM Europe (Social Inclusion Monitor Europe) project. An annual online survey with at least 400 experts will enable the evaluation of governmental initiatives and agenda-setting on social issues for each of the 28 EU member states. The project is an unparalleled effort to collect, aggregate and weight data on policy reforms affecting poverty prevention, inclusive labour markets, inclusive education and other key dimensions of social inclusion.
The results will inform European public debate, provide stakeholders with rich data and enable academics to work on a wide array of research questions, including the causes and consequences of social policy change and welfare state reform. Finally it aims to be an informative tool in light of the Europe 2020 Strategy.
Dr Simona Milio is LSE’s project director, supported by an advisory board whose members are policy experts in the six dimensions of social inclusion that the project will study.
SIM Europe is a joint research collaboration of Bertelsmann Stiftung and LSE. Combining statistical data and expert evaluations, the Social Inclusion Monitor will reveal social erosion and progress and infer policy recommendations.
Take the survey (closing date 5 October 2014)
Contact at LSE: Dr Simona Milio
Contact at Bertelsmann Stiftung: Dr Andrej Stuchlik