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ERC grant: Robust welfare states in knowledge economies and ageing societies

Posted on 31 March 2020

In his ERC project, Professor Anton Hemerijck will explore what makes a robust welfare state in 21st century knowledge economies and ageing societies.

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In March 2020, five EUI researchers were awarded ERC advanced grants.


The timing of Hemerijck’s research project is apt, as the fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic will only reinforce the imperative for strengthened welfare provision in the 21st century.

“The coronavirus has induced a crisis of human frailty and social interdependence. For the Great Recession in the late 2000s, measures to save banks led to welfare retrenchment. Today, ordinary citizens expect their governments to be there for them,” said Professor Hemerijck.

Hemerijck’s research links human capital (stocks), life-course and labour market transitions (flows) and mitigating policy interventions (buffers) in order to navigate the complexity of knowledge economies and ageing societies. The project investigates how to better educate and train today’s workforce, how to reconcile work and family life, and how to reduce poverty of household through additional income support.

The project combines sociological and political science approaches, connecting the dots between different methods, from descriptive statistics and multilevel modelling, to life-course sociology and comparative institutional policy analysis, as well as case studies of social investment implementation and policy feedback. 

I see the ERC grant as a timely reappraisal for common sense observational social science and interdisciplinary intellectual engagement, bringing together relevant disciplinary outlooks on the social world we study, rather than agreeing on a uniform methodology,” Professor Hemerijck explained.

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Anton Hemerijck
Project title: Wellbeing Returns on Social Investment Recalibration
Professor Anton Hemerijck, Professor of Political Science and Sociology at the EUI’s Department of Political and Social Sciences