Principal investigators: Herbert Obinger (University of Bremen), Carina Schmitt (University Bamberg)
Grant amount: 488.140 EUR
Collaborative Research Center Global Dynamics of Social Policy, German Research Foundation
The effect of wars on the dynamics of social policies has been discussed and increasingly analysed in the welfare state literature for Western industrialized countries in recent years. However, the relationship between armed conflicts and welfare state development has hardly been studied for other regions of the world. Moreover, previous research has not systematically distinguished between the effects of different forms of conflict. In this project, we therefore investigate the impact of different conflict types, such as interstate wars, civil wars, and the Cold War, on the generosity and coverage of social policies in a global perspective. The focus is on old-age security, the health care system, as well as on family, unemployment, and war victim benefits. We argue that all violent conflicts tend to negatively affect social policies in the short run, leading to cuts in the scope of generosity and restrictions in the degree of inclusiveness. The medium- and long-term consequences of war, on the other hand, vary (i) in dependence of the type of violent conflict, (ii) in the intensity of the conflict, and (iii) in domestic contextual factors such as the level of economic development.
We examine the impact of armed conflicts on the coverage and generosity of social policies from World War I, as the primordial catastrophe of the 20th century, up to the present. We distinguish between the war preparation phase, the short-term effects on social policies during the conflict phase and the medium- and long-term consequences after the end of the conflict. The influence of interstate wars, civil wars, and the Cold War on social policies is examined quantitatively for a global sample, and in-depth analyses are conducted for selected countries (Angola, Bulgaria, Germany, Peru, Serbia/Yugoslavia). These case studies reconstruct in detail the social policy decision-making processes in different conflict phases and for different conflict types.
Principal Investigator: Carina Schmitt (University Bamberg)
Grant amount: 1.486.000 EUR
European Research Council, ERC Starting Grant
Social protection has been one of the most popular instruments for promoting human development across the globe. However, the great majority of the global population is not or only partly covered by social protection. Especially in developing countries it is often the very poorest who do not receive essential social benefits. This is highly problematic since inclusive social protection is assumed to be a key factor for national productivity, global economic growth and domestic stability. Social protection in many developing countries can be traced back to colonial times. Surprisingly, the influence of colonialism has been a blind spot for existing theories and empirical studies of comparative social policy. In this project it is argued that the colonial legacy in terms of the imperial strategy of the colonial power, the characteristics of the colonized society and the interplay between the two is crucial in explaining early and contemporary social protection. Hence, the main objective of this project is to systematically understand how colonialism has shaped the remarkable differences in social protection and its postcolonial outcomes. Given the paucity of our information and understanding of social protection in former colonies, an interactive dataset on the characteristics, origins and outcomes of social protection will be developed including comprehensive data on former British and French colonies from the beginning of the 20th century until today. The dataset will be backed by insights derived from four case studies elucidating the causal mechanisms between the colonial legacy and early and contemporary social protection. The proposed project breaks new ground by improving our understanding of why social protection in some developing countries has led to more inclusive societies while reinforcing existing inequalities in others. Such an understanding is a prerequisite in informing the contemporary struggle against poverty and social inequality.