Life Course Risks Project - The Economic Consequences of Key Life Risks in Germany and the US and Their Evolution since the 1980s

Abstract

In recent years many commentators and social scientists have claimed that individuals and households in Western societies are facing increased economic insecurities. One alleged force behind this trend is the downscaling of welfare state mechanisms that ameliorate the negative economic consequences of critical events such as unemployment or separation. These claims have rarely been tested empirically, however. The project will therefore use German and US panel data to study the changing consequences of key life risks such as unemployment, illness, separation, and single parenthood. The US is of particular interest, as it arguably comes closer than any other Western country to the “residual” welfare state that constitutes an important reference point in public and scientific debates on welfare state reform. On a more general level, the time- and country-comparative design of the project aims at a better understanding of how the welfare state affects the short-and long-term consequences of critical life events. To maximize the analytical leverage, the analysis of micro-data will therefore be combined with systematic and thorough accounts of institutional change. The project will thus provide an all-too-rare combination of macro-level institutional analysis and micro-level welfare analysis.

Main content

Methodology:

Regression models for panel data (in particular fixed effects models, dynamic panel models), country comparison Germany-USA

Selected Publications

Wzbaktiv
Ehlert, Martin (2015): "Couples' Strategies after Job Loss in West Germany and the United States. The Added Worker Effect and Linked Life Courses". In: Schmollers Jahrbuch - Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften/Journal of Applied Social Science Studies, Vol. 135, No. 1, S. 55-65.
Heisig, Jan Paul (2015): Late-Career Risks in Changing Welfare States. Comparing Germany and the United States since the 1980s. Series Changing Welfare States. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 335 S.
Ehlert,  Martin (2013): "Job Loss among Rich and Poor in the United States and Germany. Who Loses More Income?". In: Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, Vol. 32, Special Issue "Social Mobility and Inequality in the Life Course. Exploring the Relevance of Context", S. 85-103.
Ehlert, Martin (2013): Economic Insecurity Due to Job Loss in the United States and Germany. How the Market, the Family, and the State Influence the Impact of Displacements and Unemployment on Economic Well-being. Dissertation. Berlin: Freie Universität Berlin, X, 231 S.
Ehlert,  Martin (2012): "Buffering Income Loss Due to Unemployment. Family and Welfare State Influences on Income after Job Loss in the United States and Western Germany". In: Social Science Research, Vol. 41, No. 4, S. 843–860. (Vorab online publiziert 17. Februar 2012)
Grell, Britta (2011): Unemployment Compensation in the United States. Provisions and Institutional Changes since the 1980s. Working Paper Life Course Risks No. 1. WZB Discussion Paper SP I 2011-202 SP I 2011-202. Berlin: WZB.
Grell, Britta (2011): Family Dissolution and Public Policies in the United States. Social Provisions and Institutional Changes since the 1980s. Working Paper Life Course Risks No. 2. WZB Discussion Paper SP I 2011-203 SP I 2011-203. Berlin: WZB.
Grell, Britta (2011): Old-age Provisions in the United States. Changes in the Retirement System since the 1980s. Working Paper Life Course Risks No. 3. WZB Discussion Paper SP I 2011-204 SP I 2011-204. Berlin: WZB.
Radenacker, Anke (2011): "Economic Consequences of Family Break-ups. Income Before and After Family Break-ups of Women in Germany and the United States". In: Schmollers Jahrbuch - Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften/Journal of Applied Social Science Studies, Vol. 131, No. 2, Special Issue: "SOEP 2010. Proceedings of the 9th International Socio-Economic Panel User Conference", edited by Kathrin Leuze/Thomas Siedler/Ingrid Tucci/Arne Uhlendorff, S. 225-234.
Wörz, Markus (2011): Unemployment Compensation in Germany. Provisions and Institutional Changes since the 1980s. Working Paper Life Course Risks No. 5. WZB Discussion Paper SP I 2011-206 SP I 2011-206. Berlin: WZB.
Wörz, Markus (2011): Family Dissolution and Public Policies in Germany. Social Provisions and Institutional Changes since the 1980s. Working Paper Life Course Risks No. 6. WZB Discussion Paper SP I 2011-207 SP I 2011-207. Berlin: WZB.
Wörz, Markus (2011): Old-age Provisions in Germany. Changes in the Retirement System since the 1980s. Working Paper Life Course Risks No. 7. WZB Discussion Paper SP I 2011-208 SP I 2011-208. Berlin: WZB.
Wörz, Markus (2011): Financial Consequences of Falling Ill. Changes in the German Health Insurance System since the 1980s. Working Paper Life Course Risks No. 8. WZB Discussion Paper SP I 2011-209 SP I 2011-209. Berlin: WZB.
Alber, Jens (2010): "What the European and American Welfare States Have in Common and Where They Differ. Facts and Fiction in Comparisons of the European Social Model and the United States". In: Journal of European Social Policy, Vol. 20, No. 2, S. 102-125.

Research fields

Welfare State and Social Inequality