From baby-boomers to millennials to the new protest generation, much can be learned about the shifting state of society by comparing different age groups. The latest edition of the WZB-Mitteilungen does just that. Rather than only looking at what divides generations, it also asks what is passed down from one to the next, and how.
Is Europe that hard to explain? A new blog piece by WZB researcher Christian Rauh seeks to answer that very question. He shows that political actors do indeed struggle to speak about Europe in simple terms, especially when defending European positions. This makes parliamentary speeches about the EU harder than average to understand.
Germany’s Grand Coalition has kept most of its promises so far. Fifteen months into the alliance, the government has already tackled over 60% of the plans set out at the beginning of the coalition. But this success has fallen on deaf ears.
Donald Trump’s presidency did not come out of the blue. Trumpist ideology can be neatly slotted into the history of American democracy. It is held up by the pillars of nationalism, evangelical Christianity, and an emphasis on ethnic identity, each of which is deeply rooted in the traditions and history of the United States, as Peter J. Katzenstein argues.
Anything you can do, I can do better: New research shows we aim higher when we observe our peers being ambitious. In the first ever laboratory experiment to investigate the peer effects of ambition, WZB researchers reveal how we adjust our own goals to match those of our peers, with important implications for educational outcomes and social mobility.
In 2015, economist Esther Duflo won the A.SK Social Science Award, which the WZB awards every two years since 2007. Now she will receive this year's Nobel Prize for her research on poverty alleviation. Congratulations!
Understanding how people communicate is what economist Puja Bhattacharya is after. To her, promises are a particularly interesting form of communication. As experiments have shown, people are more likely to keep a promise if they act as individuals while being less inclined to if they form part of a group.
Children whose parents didn't study are less likely to find their way into universites. Educational biographies in Germany are still strongly affected by social background. In this video, higher education researcher Claudia Finger relates how simple yet effective methods, such as workshops, are able to counter such imbalances.
Selective perception tends to produce an overestimation of opportunities: restaurant founders, for example, can fail if their predictions are based exclusively on successful cases. Economist Kai Barron examines how convictions and expectations guide human behavior - and how they may deceive us.
Fewer children, distant relatives or friends, and an increasing plurality of family models: These factors impact on the availability of support and care in old age. Tiziana Nazio, a researcher at the WZB, has explored how early family formation events relate to the emotional and practical support that people give and receive in older age. Her results show that women still bear the brunt of the burden of care. What people do at an early stage of life in terms of family building is a predictor of the size and composition of the emotional support networks they will have later in life.
In 2015, Germany introduced a minimum wage of €8.50 an hour, launching a giant field experiment designed to reduce income inequality and poverty. The vision was that every full-time worker should be able to afford a basic standard of living without having to rely on welfare support. New research by Teresa Backhaus and Kai-Uwe Müller scrutinizes the impact of the minimum wage and assesses the extent to which this vision has been made reality.
The WZB Berlin Social Science Center investigates fundamental societal issues. Our focus is on education and work, markets and choice, migration, democracy and autocracy, international politics and law. At the WZB researchers from various disciplines work together – mainly from sociology, political science, economics, law and psychology.