Political Economy and Welfare State (PEWS)

This Standing Group invites researchers interested in all issues related to political economy and the welfare state. We are interested in scholarly discussions about major areas such as labour market policies, social policies, issues of taxation and related fields. Building on this, the group aims to cover a broad range of theoretical, empirical and methodological issues in the analysis of the politics of welfare states. This can range from the development of theoretical frameworks to explain the politics of the welfare state, the impact of globalisation, financialisation and migration, the role of interest group, electoral or international politics on welfare states, or the development of innovative methodological tools to analyse and understand welfare state change. Levels of analysis can range from individual preferences for social protection to comparative analyses of national systems or developments at the EU or global level. Given the importance and diversity of welfare state research within political science, the section aims to be open to a wide variety of perspectives (including quantitative and qualitative research) while keeping a focus on the political aspects of the welfare state.


Donato Di Carlo (Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies)

Donato Di Carlo received his Ph.D. from the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies (MPIfG) during summer 2019. During 2020/2021, he was Max Weber Fellow at the European University Institute and is currently Senior Researcher at the MPIfG. His Ph.D. analysed the political economy of public sector wage setting in Germany, shedding light on the key role of the state as a political employer in the economy. His ongoing research focuses on the institutional and political determinants of public sector wage policies and their impact on growth models within the context of the European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). The project puts emphasis on the inherent fiscal nature of public sector wage setting and focuses on the pivotal role of public/political employers as sovereign wage setting actors embedded in the institutional matrix of the state. It relies on actor-centered institutionalism to bring together insights from CPE, public finance, fiscal federalism, and industrial relations theory. In light of the limited policy options in the EMU, the project argues that public sector wage policy plays an important and hitherto neglected role as a key instrument of economic governance which underpins country-specific growth models and affects the conduct of coordinated fiscal policy within the EMU.

Gibrán Cruz-Martínez (Complutense University Madrid)

Gibrán Cruz-Martínez is an Assistant Professor in Comparative Politics at the Complutense University (Madrid, Spain) and the Coordinator of the Master in Political Analysis. His research focuses on the causes and consequences of welfare state development in Latin America, the Caribbean and Spain. In addition, his research interests include welfare regimes and social risks in marginalised communities, targeting versus universalism in social protection, and basic universal social pensions in low- and middle-income countries. His latest research has been published in journals such as Social Indicators Research, Global Social Policy, Forum for Development Studies, International Studies Perspectives, Journal of International and Comparative Social Policy, Bulletin of Latin American Research, Poverty & Public Policy, Ageing International, among others. His second and most recent book, ‘Welfare and Social Protection in Contemporary Latin America’, was published in Routledge in 2019. Before joining Complutense University, Gibrán was affiliated with the Institute of Public Goods and Policies (CSIC, Spain), the University of Agder (Norway), and the Institute of the Americas, University College London (United Kingdom). He is also one of the Co-editors of Alternautas – an open access journal on Latin American critical development studies and a member of the International Editorial Advisory Board of Social Policy & Society.

Margarita Gelepithis (Cambridge University)

Margarita Gelepithis is currently Lecturer in Public Policy at Cambridge University’s Department of Politics and International Studies. Within my broad research interest in the politics of economic and social policy, she is particularly interested in old-age pensions and taxation. Ongoing research projects focus on welfare policy responses to technological change and their distributional consequences; the effect of education on policy-relevant public attitudes; and the relationship between protectionism and social policy. In terms of background, Margarita did her PhD at the London School of Economics, where she also did an MSc in European Political Economy. As an undergraduate, she studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at the University of Durham. She has taught modules related to welfare state politics to both undergraduates and postgraduates; at the University of Warwick, the University of East London, University College London, and the London School of Economics.

Hanna Schwander (Humboldt University Berlin)

Hanna Schwander is Full Professor and Chair of Political Sociology and Social Policy at the Humboldt University, Berlin. Located at the intersection between comparative politics, political sociology and political economy, her research is guided by her interest in how post-industrial transformations of welfare states, labour markets and societies affect various aspects of political life. Prior to joining the Humboldt University, Hanna was Professor of Public Policy at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin and a Senior Researcher with an Ambizione-Project on women’s political alignment at the Department of Political Science of the University of Zurich. She obtained her PhD in 2012 from the University of Zurich and joined the Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy (SOCIUM) in Bremen in the same year. Hanna also worked at the European University Institute in Florence, the Department of International Relations and Politics at the University of Oxford and the University of Essen-Duisburg.