News

Here you can find the latest updates on the Collaborative Research Centre "Global Dynamics of Social Policy": summaries of current research results, references to our latest publications, outcomes of events and more news from the projects and their staff members.

The co-director of project A04 was invited to the podcast run by the City College of New York to talk about health care systems in the Global North and South, global trends and challenges doing research on these topics.

Rights Talk is a City College of New York podcast that addresses current human rights challenges around the world. The podcast invites critical perspectives and questions the future of rights in the twenty-first century.

Lorraine Frisina Doetter, co-director of the CRC project A04 Global Developments in Health Care Systems and Long-term Care as a New Social Risk spoke on the podcast about health care around the world and challenges in comparative health care systems research.

Among other topics, Frisina Doetter touched on topics like health care as a human right, global trends challenging healthcare systems around the world, the inefficiencies of the Us healthcare system and its resistance to change.

Frisina Doetter also presented the work being done at CRC 1342 and the challenges of doing comparative healthcare systems research on a global level: (1) the availability of data, especially historic data on healthcare in the Global Sout, and (2) How to arrive at concepts that can be universally applicable and still meaningful. "Most scholars have a very specific understanding of a health care system with doctors and nurses trained in biological studies as the core", Frisina Doetter says. Other actors are being neglected as well as so called alternative medicine, which is a functional equivalent in many societies. "These and other functional equivalence should not be missed/neglected in our research. We need to develop concepts that capture that in our comparisons. In order to do this, we need to examine our normative and epistemic biases."

Listen to the episode of Rights Talk:
The Right to Health in Comparative Perspective: the WHO, North-South Systems, and Transnational Interdependencies with Dr. Lorraine Frisina Doetter


Contact:
Dr. Lorraine Frisina Doetter
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 3
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58561
E-Mail: frisina@uni-bremen.de

It was the first CRC 1342 event with international guests in Bremen since the the first lockdown in the pandemic.

On Friday, October 8, 2021, the CRC project A05 hosted an international workshop on "Developments and Changes in Education Systems across Global 'Cultural Spheres'" in Bremen. The event took place in a hybrid format with about 20 participants present on the scene. For the CRC 1342 it was the first workshop since the beginning of the pandemic that was attended by international guests in Bremen.

The workshop was structured in four slots, focussing on Education policies and reforms, School autonomy, Expertise and skills, as well as Education and culture. Each of the nine presentation was followed by an in-depth feedback by a discussant and an open discussion with the audience.

Patricia Bromley (et al.) from Stanford University looked at global causes for education reforms worldwide by analyzing the changing role of the World Bank and International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs) in 147 countries between 1960 and 2017. In this period, Bromley found a sharp drop in the levels of national education reforms. She also found evidence of changing power dynamics: The influence of World Bank loans in promoting education reform declined over time, while the influence of INGOs grew.

Fabian Besche-Truthe, Helen Seitzer and Michael Windzio (all CRC 1342) presented their concept of Cultural Spheres and their influence on the diffusion of compulsory education around the world.  Countries can be tied by sharing a multitude of cultural characteristics, defined by a variety of variables like dominant religion(s), dominant language, colonial history, gender relations, or civil freedom. The result is a fuzzy typology of cultural spheres. The authors’ hypothesis is that the introduction and configuration of state education correspond to world regions and cultural spheres. And in line with this expectation, makro-statistical analysis of the introduction dates of compulsory education shows that cultural spheres considerably mediate the diffusion of compulsory education.

Michael Windzio (CRC 1342) then presented the results of an explorative study on the effects of culture on the gender gap in education, i.e. the probability of women getting only little/low level education. By drawing on the World Value Survey and on its data on secular and emancipative data in particular, Windzio defines eight country classes. His statistical analysis shows that “culture matters” for the gender education gap – countries belonging to the traditional religious class show a higher tendency towards low education, and women in these countries are considerably disadvantaged.

Gerard Ferrer and Antoni Verger (both Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) looked at school autonomy and accountability. According to their findings, market-oriented accountability systems tend to have higher levels of autonomy. There is some evidence on the convergence of certain policies of school autonomy and accountability at the level of practice: there seems to be evidence of convergence of school autonomy policies (staff, school budget and curriculum) and robust evidence of convergence of autonomy policies on school admission, derived from an increase of the selection practices based on the students’ record.

Michael Dobbins (University of Konstanz) and Dennis Niemann (CRC 1342) introduced a refined approach to look at school autonomy by presenting four ideal-types of school autonomy: the civic participation model, the school competition model, the professional (teacher) self-steering model, and the hierarchical (school management) self- steering model. As an example of how to use their ideal types, Dobbins and Niemann calculated the relationship between the school autonomy constellation in European countries and each country’s PISA performance.

Manuel Souto-Otero (Cardiff University) and Piotr Bialowoski (Harvard University) presented their research on how skills prioritisation and conceptions of education (narrow vs. broad) vary by social class. They found that (1) class differences exist and (2) that those in the middle classes prioritise different sets of skills than individuals in the working class and they also conceive education in a broader way, e.g. opportunities to learn are more often associated with non-formal and informal learning contexts.

Aaron Benavot (University at Albany-SUNY) has explored regional and variation over time in school knowledge and textbook content in primary and secondary education and discussed the cultural underpinnings of such variation. Jane Gingrich (University of Oxford) presented on the politics of differentiation reforms in secondary education, and Gita Steiner Khamsi (Columbia University/Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies) on evidence and expertise in educational politics.

Each presentation was followed by an in-depth feedback by a discussant and an open discussion with the audience.


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Kerstin Martens
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Institute for Intercultural and International Studies
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-67498
E-Mail: martensk@uni-bremen.de

Prof. Dr. Michael Windzio
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 9
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58629
E-Mail: mwindzio@uni-bremen.de

Dr. Stephen Devereux
Dr. Stephen Devereux
The Mercator Fellow at CRC 1342 is investigating the influence of so-called "policy pollinators" on the spread of social protection in Africa.

Stephen Devereux, Mercator Fellow at the CRC 1342, presented his current research project in an online workshop on Thursday, in which he is investigating the role of international organisations, aid organisations and, in particular, individuals (advisors) in the dissemination of social protection programmes in Africa.

Devereux has identified 30 so-called policy pollinators, i.e. individuals who have been decisive in shaping the spread of social protection in Africa. So far, Devereux has interviewed 23 of them.

Among other things, Devereux asked his interviewees when and how social protection was introduced in Africa. The policy pollinators pointed to isolated pre-colonial and colonial programmes in Africa, but it is only since the 2000s that social protection programmes have been implemented in a large number of African countries. It was interesting to note that the term "social protection" was first coined by the Austrian Robert Holzmann, who was the World Bank's Sector Director Social Protection and Labor in the late 1990s.

The most "successful" policy pollinator, on the other hand, according to Devereux's interviewees, was Bernd Schubert, a German policy consultant who has worked for several development agencies. Schubert advocated focusing social protection on the poorest segments of the population and was a key player in introducing such programmes in Mozambique, Malawi, Liberia, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia. Although social protection and especially cash transfer programmes were considered unsuitable means of development cooperation by the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation, Bernd Schubert succeeded in obtaining funds for a pilot project in Mozambique in 1989. Ten years later, he managed to do something similar in Zambia, where he used funding to fight AIDS for a cash transfer programme.

Later in the presentation, Devereux used his interviews to show how controversial the choice of Social Protection's target group is among policy pollinators. While some advocate concentrating funds on the poorest segments of the population, others seek to include the entire population.

Devereux concluded by pointing out two dilemmas: On the one hand, the interviews contain a lot of information and anecdotes that are to be treated confidentially, i.e. they can hardly be used for scientific analysis. In addition, the interviews include sections that contain derogatory statements about countries and individuals, which makes their publication problematic. On the other hand, Stephen Devereux himself was named by his interview partners as an important policy polinator in the field of social protection, since he has been publishing on the topic since the early 2000s. Devereux is still searching for an answer to the question of how he deals with this circumstance.

Stephen Devereux will publish the results of his work in a monograph that will be part of the "Global Dynamics of Social Policy" series edited by SFB 1342 and published by Palgrave Macmillan.


Contact:
Dr. Stephen Devereux
Library Road
BN1 9RE Brighton
Phone: +44 1273 915802
E-Mail: s.devereux@ids.ac.uk

Fabian Besche-Truthe
Fabian Besche-Truthe
In his cumulative work, Besche-Truthe succeeded in integrating three usually isolated approaches to study the development of education systems into one approach.

Fabian Besche-Truthe successfully defended his cumulative doctoral thesis on Monday. Besche-Truthe, who is working on his doctorate in project A05 The Global Development, Diffusion and Transformation of Education Systems, has combined three research approaches usually used in isolation to study the dynamics of education systems' development into a heuristic approach in his thesis. His work is based on his three essays:

  • The Global Trajectories of Compulsory Education: Clustering Sequences of Policy Development, in: Martens, Kerstin; Windzio, Michael (2021): Global Pathways to Education - Cultural Spheres, Networks, and International Organizations. Palgrave Macmillan: Cham. S. 65-96.
  • The Global Diffusion of Adult Basic Education, in: Windzio, Michael; Mossig, Ivo; Besche-Truthe, Fabain; Seitzer, Helen (forthcoming): Networks and Geographies of Global Social Policy Diffusion. Culture, Economy and Colonial Legacies, Global Dynamics of Social Policy. Palgrave Macmillan: Cham.
  • (with Helen Seitzer): Testing for the Money? Developing Aid Distribution Patterns and Educational Assessments. (under review)


Research on the development of education systems usually focuses on either (1) national factors, (2) inter-state relations or (3) transnational actors and discourses. Fabian Besche-Truthe combines these three approaches in his essays and thus addresses aspects that have not yet been considered in empirical research.


Contact:
Fabian Besche-Truthe
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-57066
E-Mail: fbesche@uni-bremen.de

Simon Gerards Iglesias, Prof. Dr. Delia González de Reufels
Simon Gerards Iglesias, Prof. Dr. Delia González de Reufels
Delia Gonzalez des Reufels and Simon Gerards presented their findings to the Association of European Latin American Historians in Paris.

The AHILA Congress took place in Paris from 23-27 August 2021, at which Delia González de Reufels and Simon Gerards Iglesias from project B02 presented and discussed their research findings in a separate panel on the history of social policy in Latin America. Under the title "Los vínculos de las políticas sociales estatales en Amércia Latina y sus representaciones mediáticas, siglos XIX y XX", the two-day panel brought together established historians who spoke about their projects on the history of public social policy and its representation in the media.

The focus was on the policy fields of work, education, health and housing, and their historical development as well as special social policy instruments were examined. The contributions examined both the nation-state conditions in the countries Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Uruguay and the processes of transnational exchange, the transfer of knowledge and ideas. The importance of gender for the historical analysis of social policy was highlighted, as was the role of photography and the medium of film and television. Claudia Agostoni from the UNAM in Mexico, Washington Dener Santos Cunha from the Universidade do Estado do Rio do Janeiro in Brazil and Maria Rosa Gudiños from the Universidad Nacional Pedagógica in Mexico as well as eight young Latin American historians gave presentations that also discussed the research problems and the particular challenges of empirical research.

Delia González de Reufels focused on the role of the Chilean armed forces in the development of social policy since the late 19th century and the links between "warfare and welfare" in this pioneering country of Latin American social policy. Simon Gerards Iglesias presented his dissertation project on Argentina's relations with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and underlined the importance of transnational knowledge production for the formation of social policy. Martín Cortina Escudero, who is researching in the SFB sub-project B03, presented his findings on the importance of the colonial past for the formation of social policy, as did

Teresa Huhle, who left SFB 1342 this spring, who spoke about the connection between education and health using the example of Uruguayan "open-air schools".

The AHILA (Asocicación de Historiadores Latinomaericanistas) is the association of European historians of Latin America that emerged from the meetings of European Americanists at the end of the 1970s, in the middle of the Cold War. From the beginning, it also included Latin Americans living in Europe and European historians who taught and researched Latin American history beyond the so-called Iron Curtain. The AHILA Congress takes place every three years.


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Delia González de Reufels
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Institut für Geschichtswissenschaft / FB 08
Universitäts-Boulevard 13
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-67200
E-Mail: dgr@uni-bremen.de

Dr. Heiner Fechner
Dr. Heiner Fechner
CRC member Heiner Fechner is one of 27 "national rapporteurs" who will provide analyses on the historical roots of modern slavery for the International Academy of Comparative Law. Fechner will write the national report for Germany.

Heiner Fechner, who is a postdoctoral researcher in the CRC project A03 "Worlds of Labour", has been appointed "National Rapporteur" on the topic of modern slavery. Fechner is to prepare the national report for Germany for the International Academy for Comparative Law (IACL).

According to estimates by the ILO and the Walk Free Foundation (2017), around 40 million people worldwide are currently victims of modern slavery, which also includes forced labour including forced prostitution and forced marriages - more than during the peak of the colonial slave economy in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The appointment by the IACL's "General Rapporteur" on modern slavery, Prof. Dr. Adelle Blackett (Uni McGill, Montreal), was prompted by Fechner's research on colonial labour law and exclusion ("legal segmentation") within the CRC 1342.

Exclusionary and coercive elements of German colonial labour law, including its reception and further development by the Nazi regime, will also be a focus of the study to be presented at the IACL Congress in Paraguay in autumn 2022. A comparison of the development of German law with 26 other states is on the agenda for that event.

The analysis of the historical roots of modern slavery is to be made fruitful for a critical discussion of the current legal situation and reform proposals. The publication of the analyses and proposals is expected in 2023.


Contact:
Dr. Heiner Fechner
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49-421-218-57070
E-Mail: hfechner@uni-bremen.de

The main task will be to work on the Global Social Policy Digest. The working hours will be 10 hours per week.

Student assistant for the Global Social Policy (GSP) Digest

CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy is seeking to fill the following position:

Student Assistant for 10 hours per week

We are urgently looking for a highly motivated, reliable, and detail-oriented student assistant, with the ability to work in a team and independently, to support research activities and dissemination of the Global Social Policy Digest. The Global Social Policy Digest accompanies each issue of the peer-reviewed journal Global Social Policy and provides an overview of global social policy developments through the lens of redistribution, regulation, and rights, changes in global social governance arrangements, and currently provides sector-specific updates in the areas of health, social protection, education, and environmental justice.

Tasks may vary, but will include scoping current global social policy developments (from UN agencies, prominent bilateral development agencies, and international non-governmental organizations among others), communicating with the editorial team of the GSP Digest, assembling drafts of the GSP Digest, and updating the GSP Digest website.

English skills are a must and prior experience working within an international organization and/or policy-oriented environment and in designing and updating webpages is a strong advantage, as is a demonstrated ability to problem-solve and work creatively.

Main tasks

  • Scope and organize online links to global social policy updates
  • Regular communication with the editorial team
  • Assembling drafts of the GSP Digest
  • Updating the global social policy website


Necessary qualifications

  • Good communication and English language skills
  • Excellent skills using Microsoft Word and managing track changes and comments to documents
  • Ability to work to deadlines


Desirable qualifications (not necessary)

  • Prior experience working within an international organization or policy-oriented environment
  • Prior experience designing and updating websites
  • Demonstrated ability to problem-solve and work creatively


The position has an expected start date of 1 November 2021 and encompasses 10 working hours per week for two months, with the possibility of extension next year. Interviews for the position are expected to be held remotely on Monday and Tuesday, 27-28 September 2021. This position offers the opportunity to further develop knowledge and skills acquired during your studies as well as a great working atmosphere within the Collaborative Research Centre 1342 on the Global Dynamics of Social Policy.

If you have any questions regarding the position, please contact Amanda Shriwise (amanda.shriwise@uni-bremen.de).

Please submit your application (CV, current transcript of records, and one-page letter of motivation) as a PDF document to Amanda Shriwise (amanda.shriwise@uni-bremen.deby Friday, 24 September 2021.

Andreas Heinrich and four other authors examined the role of recipient countries in the transnational transfer of knowledge on health policy. Their findings are published in the current issue of Communist and Post-Communist Studies.

The projects B05 (China) and B06 (post-Soviet region) are each investigating the reform of state social policy and which role international influences have played in this. As there are many similarities in their research, the two projects often cooperate with each other. The most recent evidence of their fruitful cooperation is the paper "The Agency of Recipient Countries in Transnational Policy-Related Knowledge Transfer: From Conditionality to Elaborated Autonomous Policy Learning", which Andreas Heinrich, Gulnaz Isabekova, Heiko Pleines (all project B06) and Armin Müller and Tobias ten Brink (both project B05) recently published in Communist and Post-Communist Studies.

The literature on transnational knowledge transfer mostly focuses on cases where the source of knowledge and the initiative for its transfer lie in the OECD. Heinrich, Isabekova, Müller, Pleines and ten Brink, on the other hand, consider in their paper cases where non-OECD countries have proactively sought policy advice abroad and evaluated the relevant ideas and concepts on the basis of their own requirements.

Based on the role of conditionality and the attitude of the recipient country towards cooperation with foreign sources of advice, the team of authors distinguishes five demand-side strategies in transnational policy-related knowledge transfer, each of which is analysed using the example of health care reform. The results highlight systematic differences in attitudes towards and use of foreign advice.

Below is a brief overview of the case studies that are analysed and discussed in more detail in the paper.

UKRAINE: Conditionality-Based International Knowledge Transfer

Ukraine is an example of the standard case of loan-based conditionality. Faced with imminent insolvency, the government was receptive to advice from international organisations. As Ukrainian policy advisors were also broadly in favour of IMF-supported reforms, this combination of external and domestic pressure encouraged the pursuit of reforms in spite of interest group opposition.

KYRGYZSTAN: Coordinated International Knowledge Transfer

The example of Kyrgyzstan corresponds to the ideal type of a coordination-based strategy. The recipient country has more leeway because the larger number of foreign partners makes roundtables and consensus-building the norm, as well as leadership from the recipient country and related stakeholders. This gives the government the opportunity to learn from different sources. At the same time, a high turnover of politicians and administrative staff limits both the capacity for policy analysis and the building of institutional memory.

RUSSIA: Sceptical Cooperation and Emphasis on Domestic Expertise

Since Putin became president, Russia has striven to become independent of international aid and influence. This also applies to social policy, where international advice has been pushed back in favour of national expertise. However, working relations with international organisations continue and domestic experts remain open to policy advice from abroad.

KAZAKHSTAN: Sovereign International Advice-Seeking

Kazakhstan's main goal is to establish the country as an equal and valued player on the international stage. This leads to official openness towards international organisations, and attempts to improve domestic expertise. At the same time, the authoritarian regime limits diversity in the national policy advisory system and restricts international advice accordingly.

CHINA: Elaborated Autonomous International Policy Learning

China has pursued a learning strategy in which bureaucratic actors tested foreign ideas that they considered compatible with their own interests. In their search for appropriate expertise, actors benefited from their long-term collaboration with international experts. China's strategy is "elaborate" in the sense that theoretical advice is sought to be tested in local experiments in order to make informed policy decisions; the strategy is "autonomous" in the sense that domestic politics is clearly prioritised over international commitments.


Contact:
Dr. Andreas Heinrich
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy
Klagenfurter Straße 8
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-57071
E-Mail: heinrich@uni-bremen.de

A team of authors from project B04 has investigated how ASEAN, the EU and Mercosur regulate labour migration and which social policy rights are granted to migrants. Intraregional inequalities are an important factor in this context.

Almost two years ago, the SOCIUM SFB 1342 Working Paper Series startet with a paper by Armando Barrientos. In the meantime, the 20th paper has been published, in which Friederike Römer, Eloisa Harris, Marcus Böhme and Susanne Schmidt examine how ASEAN, the EU and Mercosur regulate labour migration and which social policy rights are granted to migrants: "Labour migration and migrant social protection in three regional organisations - Inequalities as a driving force?"

The team identified milestone agreements for each organisation on free movement and/or access to social protection for intra-regional migrants.  In a next step, the level of inequality between member states was measured for different points in time, both in terms of GDP per capita and social expenditure.

In the ASEAN region, overall regional integration in regard to labour migration between member states is limited, the authors write. Existing agreements are non-binding and patchy, and intra-regional migrant workers are mostly excluded from measures of social protection.  Net receiving states (in terms of migration) are opposed to agreeing on measures of social protection that would potentially drive up wages and induce other costs.

This low level of cooperation on migration and social protection is accompanied by very high intra-regional economic inequality and a lower but still large inequality in social spending among member countries.

Mercosur on the other hand can be characterized as promoting a very far reaching ideal of free movement and open borders, conceptualizing migration as a human right, which includes the decriminalization of undocumented migrants. Since 1997 citizens of Mercosur states can transfer social security rights acquired in a member state to any other member state. In 2010 a citizenship statute was signed which is intended to enforce freedom of movement, equal treatment with regard to civil, social, cultural and economic rights and equal access to work, health and education.

In Mercosur, economic inequality is the lowest compared to ASEAN and the EU, but it has increased slightly over the last two decades. A similar trend can be observed in inequality of social spending.

Compared to ASEAN, but also to Mercosur, regional integration is most extensive in the European Union. In the course of enlargement, however, economic inequality has increased significantly. The differences in social expenditure are lower in comparison, but still relevant. Overall, EU enlargement increased the incentive for workers to migrate to the wealthier countries. Subsequently the interpretation of EU citizens' rights in the Europen Court of Justice has become more restrictive and the project of "Social Europe" has come to a halt. Nevertheless, the authors conclude, stagnation rather than reversal characterises the current state of affairs. Strong path dependency continues to keep existing far-reaching agreements in place, making the EU still the most integrated of the three organizations compared in this paper.

---

Further reading: SOCIUM SFB 1342 Working Paper Series


Contact:
Eloisa Harris
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-57080
E-Mail: eharris@uni-bremen.de

Dr. Friederike Römer
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-67469
E-Mail: friederike.roemer@uni-bremen.de

Prof. Dr. Susanne K. Schmidt
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Institute for Intercultural and International Studies
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-67484
E-Mail: skschmidt@uni-bremen.de

Prof. Dr. Heiko Pleines
Prof. Dr. Heiko Pleines
CRC 1342 project director Heiko Pleines has received an award from the University of Bremen for his outstanding supervision of doctoral students. Out of 59 nominees, he received the first prize in the humanities and social sciences category.

The prize for outstanding doctoral supervision, which comes with a total of 4,000 euros, is awarded to university staff for their professional and committed supervision of their doctoral students and is granted in two categories: the humanities / social sciences and the natural / engineering sciences (1st prize: Rolf Drechsler).

From SFB 1342, Klaus Schlichte and Andreas Breiter were also nominated. Andreas Breiter was honoured by the jury (consisting of representatives of the "Alumni of the University of Bremen" association and the "Bremen Early Career Researcher Development" network) with a second place.

The nominations were made by young academics whose doctorate at the University of Bremen dates back a maximum of 4 years. The prize money, which is donated by the Alumni Association, is designated for a specific purpose and flows into the supervision and support of future doctoral students.

Heiko Pleines describes what he regards as good doctoral supervision in a short video interview (in German only).


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