- Address :
- Hans-Böckler-Straße 39
- 40476 Düsseldorf
- Contact :
- Thorsten Schulten
- Phone : +49 211 7778 239
- Fax : +49 211 7778 4239
- Email : Thorsten-Schulten@boeckler.de
- Website : http://www.wsi.de
The Institute of Economic and Social Research in the Hans-Böckler-Foundation (WSI) is a research institute which undertakes academic analysis of issues of practical relevance to industrial relations. Its work covers a wide range of issues, from economic, labour market and structural policy to social policy, gender policy, collective bargaining policy and co-determination.
The main focus of the research carried out by WSI is on the economic and social implications of developments in society and policy decisions. On the basis of the results of its academic research, the Institute elaborates economic and social policy proposals aimed at overcoming social problems. The research findings and ideas developed by WSI are made available to academics, policymakers and the public at large.
As part of the process of rebuilding democratic trade unions after the Second World War, one project was to establish a "trade union centre for economic planning and research". This "Wirtschafts-Wissenschaftliches Institut" (Institute of Economic Sciences - WWI ) was set up in 1946 and thus predates the founding of the German Trade Union Federation (DGB). In 1972 its name was changed to "Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliches Institut" (Institute of Economic and Social Research - WSI). The WSI was integrated into the Hans-Böckler-Foundation in 1995.
The WSI forms the research department of the Hans-Böckler-Foundation, which is closely related to the DGB and which is to foster co-determination and to promote research and academic study. The WSI works together with the Foundations' other departments to the mutual advantage of all concerned.
Cooperation with the advisory department responsible for promoting co-determination enables a fruitful exchange to take place between theoretical and practical aspects of workforce representation. There is also an intensive dialogue on new developments in employment-related academic fields with the department responsible for research promotion. This ensures that there is beneficial internal competition between the two departments with regard to the quality of their research work. A "Scientific Committee" advises the bodies of the Foundation on all matters relating to research and scientific policy. It has a special role in supervising the activities of the WSI and the department for promotion of research.
There are 25 researchers working in the Institute, 13 of whom with a permanent contract, 10 - with a temporary contract and 2 doctoral students.
Areas of expertise and competencies
The work of the WSI is organised into a number of key areas:
1) Economic policy
This key area examines economic transformation against the background of globalisation. Both quantitative and qualitative changes in employment are a principal focus of interest here.
Sub-themes in this area include:
- Basic elements in a policy of full employment
- Labour market policy
- Structural, regional and industrial policy
2) Welfare state
This key area of research focuses on the implications for systems of social security and taxation of changes in the world of work and in private lifestyles. Of particular interest are proposals suggesting how labour market, social and collective bargaining policy might be changed in order to take into account different lifestyles and various stages in an individual's career.
Key themes and issues here are:
- Percarisation of employment- The future of social security
- Policy on working time
- Development of health an safety
- Gender and family politics
- Distribution of wealth
3) Industrial relations and collective bargaining
This key area of research examines the impact of the changes that industrial relations in Germany have been exposed to for more than a decade.
Central issues in this area are:
- Company restructuring, industrial relations and trade union organisation
- The future of the collective bargaining system
- The future of trade unions and industrial relations
As the principal information centre on trade union policy on collective bargaining, the main task of the WSI Collective Agreement Archive is to track and analyse developments concerning collective agreements. Besides publishing regular status reports on current agreements, the Archive also produces special assessments. The Archive has an internet website providing access to information on specific collective agreements and giving overviews of developments pertaining to collective agreements in all the major sectors. Every year the Archive publishes an analysis of current policy developments relating to collective agreements - the "WSI-Tarifhandbuch".
Many of the research carried out by the WSI includes international comparisons and a European perspective. The WSI is a research partner in various national and European research networks.
Work programme, strategic plan, projects
All projects can be found here.
Publications, language, newsletter
Research results and expert reports produced by the WSI are published mainly in the academic series "Hans-Böckler-Forschung" produced by "edition sigma rainer bohn verlag" in Berlin, but WSI publications also appear in the catalogues of various other publishing houses.
Publications since 1997 can be found in the online-database of publications.
"WSI-Mitteilungen" is a monthly journal providing up-to-date information on the results of research on current issues of relevance to trade unions. It is aimed primarily at the academic and business communities, trade unionists and policymakers. The publication is in German, but summaries in English are available.
Other publications in German: WSI-Diskussionspapiere (scientific research manuscripts of WSI, published irregularly), WSI - Texte, Datenkarte.
Other networks the institute is participating in
The WSI participates as the German partner in the "European Industrial Relations Observatory" (EIRO).
The WSI is also national correspondent of EWCO. Set up in 2003, the European Working Conditions Observatory (EWCO) provides regular information on quality of work and employment issues in the EU Member States and at EU level. The Observatory is supported by an extensive network of correspondents covering all EU countries, plus Norway.