The Research Group deals with policy-relevant issues in the areas of the labour market, income and social security systems. On a microeconomic level, the focus is on the individual behaviour of market participants in the context of labour supply decisions and employment, taking into account institutional incentive structures. Of particular interest are the necessary adaptations to changing labour market conditions in the areas of qualifications, social security and labour market flexibility. The analyses of socio-economic systems, social security systems and distribution focus on the impacts of institutional structures and the policy options that can be derived from them. Other important research topics are the consequences of macroeconomic developments for the labour market and income distribution. The impact of technological and social innovations on the labour market and social policy is of central importance not only for the prosperity of the population but also for the competitiveness of an economy.
In recent years, this Research Group has evaluated a broad range of instruments of labour market policy. The current focus is on measures to improve the integration of young people into the labour market, in particular those with a means-tested minimum income (Bedarfsorientierte Mindestsicherung), on educational measures and on counselling and support services for people with multiple placement obstacles. Typically, the impact of measures on further careers and income development is examined (effectiveness). In addition, the costs and returns of interventions are often compared from the point of view of the public sector (cost-effectiveness).
In addition to active labour market policy, passive labour market policy – the structuring of unemployment insurance benefits – is also an important research focus. Furthermore, the research area deals with long-term changes in employment and income trends, the reasons for the recent development of unemployment and long-term unemployment, as well as the hiring and dismissal behaviour of companies and their role in unemployment.
The Research Group works on questions of the integration of migrants into the Austrian labour market. Gender issues are also at the forefront, such as the gender equality potential at regional level. Research on educational issues focuses on the effects of basic qualifications, continuing education and training on labour market integration and social cohesion. Another central topic is digitisation: the research area investigates changes in the labour market due to technological changes and their effects on social security.
The Research Group deals with the development of earned income in segmented labour markets, the analysis of income distribution and the distribution function of public budgets. The quantification of wage imbalances from a gender perspective (gender pay gap) and their long-term effects on life income are also at the centre of attention, as are the relationship between wage costs and productivity and the development of unit labour costs. In addition, the model infrastructure of the Research Group allows complex evaluations of the effects of institutional changes (e.g., family bonuses) on individuals as well as on the economic situation of private households.
Against the background of the flexibilisation of employment and the associated incomes in increasingly segmented labour markets, new challenges are arising for job-centred security systems. In the past, these were already the focus of research activities (e.g., means-tested minimum income, development of old-age provision, unemployment insurance), and they are being further intensified. Individual security instruments were also evaluated for their effectiveness (e.g., family benefits). Within the framework of this research strand, the Research Group is concerned with sustainable models for financing the welfare state.
Several research projects in the field of long-term care project the care and care staff requirements up to 2050, calculate the economic effects of structural shifts within the care services and adjust the different costs of inpatient care in the nine Länder in order to increase comparability.