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.


Daniel Mertens (University of Osnabrück)

Daniel Mertens is Professor of International Political Economy at the University of Osnabrück. Prior to that, he was an assistant professor (Habilitand) at Goethe University Frankfurt. Bridging Comparative and International Political Economy, he obtained his PhD in 2014 from the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies (MPIfG) and the University of Cologne with a study of financialization and household debt in the German export-led growth regime. He also held a researcher position at the MPIfG in the project “The fiscal crisis of the state in contemporary capitalism” and was a visiting scholar at Northwestern University, Evanston. Daniel is interested in the politics of the tax state and in the intersections of politics and finance in Europe and beyond. He is a member of the DFG-funded research network “The Politics of Money” and a research associate in the DFG-funded project “A BICs Variety of Capitalism?”.

Hanna Schwander (Humboldt University)

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.

Tim Vlandas (Oxford University)

Dr Tim Vlandas is Associate Professor of Comparative Social Policy and a governing board fellow of St Anthony’s College, Oxford University. He is also a visiting fellow in the European Institute at the London School of Economics (LSE). After an initial training in Economics, Tim completed his PhD in European Political Economy at the LSE in 2013. Prior to joining Oxford, he was an Associate Professor in Comparative Political Economy at the University of Reading and a Research Officer at the LSE. His research analyses the relationship between electoral politics, public policies and economic outcomes. Recent projects have focused on the determinants of labour market policies and inequality, the political economy of inflation, the impact of welfare state policies on far-right party support, and the political economy of a universal basic income. His research has been awarded a doctoral researcher prize by the European Network for Social Policy Analysis and a best paper on European Politics award by the American Political Science Association.