Winter Term 2023/24

Place
Unicom-building
Room: 7.1020
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Time
noon - 2.00 pm
Organiser
Sonderforschungsbereich 1342 "Globale Entwicklungsdynamiken von Sozialpolitik", Universität Bremen
Contact Person
Lecture Series
Jour Fixe
Semester
WiSe 2023/24

The interplay between trade liberalization—a cornerstone of globalization—and social welfare constitutes a pivotal and contentious subject in contemporary political discourse. This controversy has surrounded the World Trade Organization (WTO) and its antecedent, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), since 1947, both of which have played important roles in promoting trade liberalization. Central to this debate is the connection between free trade and labor standards, specifically the proposition of integrating a social clause within trade liberalization agreements. The discourse has ebbed and flowed in tandem with the globalization wave. Initially broached in 1947, the topic lay dormant until the late 1960s, a period when trade liberalization, chiefly orchestrated by Western nations with comparable policies and labor standards, went unchallenged. The dynamic shifted in the 1970s as nations with lower wages and labor standards entered the global market, propelling the issue to prominence in Geneva. With the ascent of new economies capable of competing in developed markets, the discourse over the interrelation of free trade and labor standards acquired a global dimension and became a focal point within the GATT framework. Despite heightened discussions in the mid-1990s, little progress was made on the social clause, mainly due to the resistance from emerging economies that had accrued substantial negotiation leverage in Geneva. The emergence of global economic integration in the 1970s underscored the disparities between competing nations at varying developmental stages, revealing the complexities of the trade-labor nexus. Concurrently, the burgeoning influence of emerging economies in global commerce altered the power dynamics within the GATT/WTO, effectively stalling the labor standards debate in Geneva.

Lucia Coppolaro is associate professor in International history at the Department of Political Science, Law and International Studies of the University of Padova, Italy. Her research is primarily focused on international economic institutions and international trade. She has published numerous articles on the EU trade policy and the evolution of trade liberalization under the auspices of GATT/WTO in journals, including Contemporary European History and The International History Review.

23.01.2024 Lecture

Diffusion of Disability Policies as Social Right. Cases of South Korea and Brazil

Dr. Jun-gi Heo (GwangJu Public Agency for Social Service - PASS)
Place
Unicom-building
Room: 7.1020
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Time
2.00 pm - 4.00 pm
Organiser
Sonderforschungsbereich 1342 "Globale Entwicklungsdynamiken von Sozialpolitik", Universität Bremen
Contact Person
Lecture Series
Jour Fixe
Semester
WiSe 2023/24

It is possible to follow the lecture via Zoom:
https://uni-bremen.zoom-x.de/j/67732385954?pwd=YUp6b2lMNGlBN3lPdzFKazl2R2Fsdz09

Abstract: Existing welfare state theories have focused on internal dynamics, making it difficult to identify the point at which ‘global social policy’ influence within-state policymaking. I thus used the diffusion theory to examine if and how policy ideas from outside the state influenced the formation and change of disability policies. In particular, if we can capture the spread of similar types of disability policies even in countries with little political, economic, geographic, and historical proximity and similarity, we will be able to confirm that the influence outside the country is even greater.

In this study, we examine the process by which Social Rights was introduced into the disability policies of Korea and Brazil, and analyze the influence from outside the country and the dynamics of domestic actors to address the spread of the policies in both countries. Korea began to be influenced by the Asia-Pacific Decade of Action for Persons with Disabilities and continued to be influenced by international organizations until the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. At this time, it can be confirmed that policy diffusion occurred from below, with the disabled people's movement leading the policy diffusion. Brazil has also been strengthening social rights in its disability policy since the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by revising existing disability policies to suit the nature of the Convention or introducing new ones. Brazil also tried to enact domestic laws to enforce the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and promote its implementation through the disability movement by spreading policies from below. The significance of the study that can be confirmed through these two cases is as follows. In a current situation where nation-states are tightly connected globally, examining the formation and trajectories of disability policy in Korea and Brazil contribute to explaining how the path of the existing welfare regime is transformed with the introduction of new policy ideas.

Jun-gi Heo is a researcher at the GwangJu Public Agency for Social Service (PASS), South Korea. His academic interests primarily focus on Korean disability policy. For his doctoral dissertation, he explored the formation and evolution of Korean disability policy by integrating policy diffusion and historical institutionalism. Driven by a commitment to inclusive research, he strives to infuse his work with the perspective of people with disabilities. This endeavor is particularly challenging yet personally significant for him as a blind individual. Consequently, he also delves into the study of disabled identity, welfare states, and social policy research from a disability perspective.

Place
Unicom-building
Room: 7.1020
Mary-Somerville-Str. 7
28359 Bremen
Time
2.00 pm - 4.00 pm
Organiser
Sonderforschungsbereich 1342 "Globale Entwicklungsdynamiken von Sozialpolitik", Universität Bremen
Contact Person
Lecture Series
Jour Fixe
Semester
WiSe 2023/24

Abstract:
The unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic had severely stuck the globe in many aspects, including economic, political and social scenarios. China, however, had spent three years to get through the pandemic and to endeavor for reviving its economy and social governance with both expected and unexpected outcomes. The 20th National Congress of the CCP (Communist Party of China) in October, 2022 and the 14th National People’s Congress in March, 2023 put the new leadership under the spot of world-wide mass media that would influence country’s future in different ways.

As soon as China ended its zero-Covid policy in late 2022, economic recovery and normal social life had been fully expected as a normality: economy will bounce up and social life will return as it was before the pandemic. However, the world has apparently been changed. Fundamental facts stand solidly: First, global economy has gradually recovered slightly with different outcomes in different countries; Second, China is facing a difficult situation of boosting its fragile economy because of its stuck in exporting industries; Third, the on-going bloody wars and changing political landscapes would cast more unpredictable shadows on future economic growth and social security reform. In this lecture, I will mainly discuss the following issues: First, economic and social scenarios after the pandemic and its impact on China’s social security system; Second, how did China adjust its social policies to respond to the changing international atmosphere and domestic situations? Third, can China’s social security system sustain itself by moving toward socialist modernization in the context of ageing and urban-rural integration? It is meaningful to understand how things change and how these changes may create paramount impact on its future.

Yuegen Xiong is Professor in the Department of Sociology and Director of the Centre for Social Policy Research (CSPR) at Peking University, China. He is the author of Needs, Reciprocity and Shared Function: Policy and Practice of Elderly Care in Urban China (Shanghai Renmin Press, 2008) and Social Policy: Theories and Analytical Approaches (Renmin University Press, 2009). Xiong graduated from the Chinese University of Hong Kong with a PhD in social welfare in 1998 and joined Peking University as a faculty after completing two-year post-doctoral research in the Department of Sociology. He was the British Academy KC Wong Visiting Fellow at the University of Oxford during November 2002-September 2003, the Fellow at the Hanse Institute for Advanced Study (HWK), Delmenhorst, Germany during December 2003-February 2004, the JSPS Fellow at the University of Tokyo in October, 2005 and a visiting professor at Jacobs University Bremen during October-December, 2015 and visiting professor at the Center for Modern East Asian Studies, University of Gottingen, Germany in December, 2017. In the past years, he has published extensively in the field of social policy, comparative welfare regimes, social work, NGOs and civil society. He is the editorial member of Asian Social Work and Policy Review (Wiley), Asian Education and Development Studies (Emerald), the British Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies (UK) and International Journal of Community and Social Development (Sage). Prof. Xiong has been acting as the Co-Director of the Academic Committee, LSE-PKU Summer School Program since 2018.

Place
Unicom-building
Room: 7.1020
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Time
10.00 am - noon
Organiser
Sonderforschungsbereich 1342 "Globale Entwicklungsdynamiken von Sozialpolitik", Universität Bremen
Contact Person
Lecture Series
Jour Fixe
Semester
WiSe 2023/24

06.12.2023 Lecture

Social Policy Dynamics in Iran

Dr. Yaser Bagheri (University of Tehran)
Place
Unicom-building
Room: 7.1020
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Time
2.15 pm - 4.00 pm
Organiser
Sonderforschungsbereich 1342 "Globale Entwicklungsdynamiken von Sozialpolitik", Universität Bremen
Contact Person
Lecture Series
Jour Fixe
Semester
WiSe 2023/24

The 1979 Constitution of Iran officially designates the country as a welfare state, endorsing social rights with the government as the responsible authority. However, the practical implementation of these policies has been quite different. Scholars have engaged in extensive discussions regarding Iran's social policies, often labeling them as clientelistic, populist, rentier, or part of an informal security regime. Existing studies have primarily focused on a single model to explain the post-revolution period, spanning over four decades. Nonetheless, it appears that during this period, Iran's social policies have undergone numerous changes, and the attempt to generalize them under a single model has hindered an in-depth exploration of these significant transformations. Hence, the fundamental question arises: What are the most substantial changes in Iran's social policies? How can we explain these changes, and have they been consistent across all areas of social policies?

This lecture aims to delve into these questions and shed light on the pivotal shifts in Iran's social policies, seeking to provide a comprehensive understanding of their evolution across various domains.

Yaser Bagheri is an Assistant Professor of Social Policy at the University of Tehran. He is currently on a seven-month study program in Germany. His academic interests revolve around social policies in Southern countries, particularly Iran, and he is associated with the Global Partnership Network. To date, he has conducted several historical studies on socio-economic changes and policy transfers, focusing on areas such as social protection, social transfers, social pensions, welfare organizations, and power dynamics within the Iranian social policy process. In addition to historical research, Yaser Bagheri has a strong inclination towards social data analysis and budgeting. He has organized several workshops in this area and has authored or managed the production of numerous policy notes.

Place
Unicom-building
Room: 7.1020
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Time
4.00 pm - 6.00 pm
Organiser
Sonderforschungsbereich 1342 "Globale Entwicklungsdynamiken von Sozialpolitik", Universität Bremen
Contact Person
Lecture Series
Jour Fixe
Semester
WiSe 2023/24

Economists and other social science researchers increasingly use satellite-detected night-time lights, as one of the most popular “big data” sources. The most widely used series of night-time lights data are from the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP), which was initiated in the 1960s to observe clouds to aid US Air Force weather forecasts. Initial use of these data by social science researchers was as a proxy for economic activity at the national or aggregated regional level but increasingly these data are used to evaluate local impacts of interventions and to estimate local inequality. When measurement errors in these data were originally considered it was in a framework that just required that the errors were independent of errors in conventional economic statistics. However, more recent studies use DMSP data directly as a proxy and so the nature of their measurement error becomes important because under certain circumstances these errors could cause bias that distorts conclusions.

This talk provides two such examples: first, when estimating local inequality in China and the United States the level of inequality is understated and a misleading trend is introduced, because of spatially mean-reverting errors in the DMSP data. Second, in a difference-in-differences evaluation of the impact of a sanction on North Korea the sanction impact is understated due to mean-reverting errors and bottom-coding in the DMSP data. These errors reflect some of the inherent limitations of DMSP data. Where possible, applied economists and other social scientists should switch to using newer, more accurate, night-time lights data that were designed for research purposes, even if that means they have to work with shorter time-series.

John Gibson is a Professor of Economics at the University of Waikato, New Zealand. His research interests include Economic Theory and Applied Economics, especially Accounting, Finance and Economics Operations.

Place
Unicom-building
Room: 7.1020
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Time
2.00 pm - 4.00 pm
Organiser
Sonderforschungsbereich 1342 "Globale Entwicklungsdynamiken von Sozialpolitik", Universität Bremen
Contact Person
Lecture Series
Jour Fixe
Semester
WiSe 2023/24

It is possible to follow the lecture via Zoom:
https://uni-bremen.zoom-x.de/j/63523687430?pwd=dVYvZzQwUk5PbTFRc3N0Y3ZSRWNtQT09
Meeting ID: 635 2368 7430
Passcode: 625116

Abstract
In 2020, as Latin American countries shuttered their economies, it became clear that effective lockdowns would require states to provide income support. In a region that has historically struggled to build systems of social protection, the effort to expand benefits was notable. Policies varied in scope and generosity, but in what seemed to signify a new era of state-building, Latin American democracies demonstrated a nearly uniform commitment to providing assistance to the poor. Why did some countries implement broader and more adequate programs than others and why did countries vary in their ability to sustain support over time? This Element argues that three factors explain cross-national and cross-temporal differences in policy effort: policy legacies, unified/divided government, and fiscal space. The Element shows that in settings of crisis, the democratic politics of social policy expansion shifts, with traditional factors like ideology and electoral competition playing a less central role.

https://www.cambridge.org/core/elements/abs/politics-of-social-protection-during-times-of-crisis/D70A48182D54B7737CC977CA27C20AAB

Bio
Merike Blofield is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Hamburg, where her focus is on global health and social policy. Prior to moving to the University of Hamburg, she was Director of the Institute for Latin American Studies at the German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA) and a Professor of Political Science and Director of Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of Miami. With a focus on Latin America, her research has analyzed policy areas that intersect social, health, family, gender and labor policy.