Research Excellence Initiatives

Shifting from Welfare to Social Investment States

Privatization of Work Related Risk Control (2015-2019)

Michael Faure, Peter Mascini and Romke van der Veen (Sociology, ESSB) were awarded a Research Excellence Initiative grant by the Board of the Erasmus University Rotterdam. The backdrop for this project is that European states have retrenched and activated their social security systems during the last few decades. The latter implies that private actors (i.e. employers and employees) take major responsibility for the control of work-related risks (i.e. the risk of dropping out of work because of unemployment, disability, or sickness) and no longer fall back on the state as prime or ultimate caretaker. The first research question is whether state officials, employers and employees adopt new roles, identities and working practices in the implementation and enforcement of work-related risk control, and if so, how? The second research question is to what extent a decline in public compensation of work-related damage has been accompanied by behavioural adjustments by all parties involved in litigation, and why.

The overall goal of this program is to analyze from a multidisciplinary, international comparative perspective the alleged shift in the allocation of responsibilities from public to private actors as far as the control of work-related risks is concerned and to derive policy implications from these insights that can facilitate employees better to strengthen their labour market position. The project entails a collaboration between BACT and the Sociology department of Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences. BACT members Siewert Lindenbergh, Sharon Oded, Anne-Sofie VandenBerghe as well as Niels Philipsen will also participate in the program.