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European Strains (completed)

The economy in Europe is marked by crisis and the European welfare state provides insufficient protection for its citizens. Is the European integration built on fragile compromises that only work in times of prosperity or will European institutions show more stability once they pass the phase of trial and error?

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About the project

This project aims to understand:

  • the current crisis in Europe and its institutional responses, stressing the interaction between politics, economic development, and social change
  • the European migration, mobility, and economic growth in the light of national identities, and social and economic strains
  • the economic and political feasibility of the European Social Model emphasizing how temporary shocks may create permanent institutional changes once we incorporate economic, social, and political relations

National collaboration

ESOP collaborates with the Department of Political Sciencethe Department of Social Anthropology at UiO, Fafo Institute for Labour and Social Research (Fafo), the Frisch Centre, and the Institute for Social Research (ISF) about this interdisciplinary research project.

By involving the disciplines political science, social anthropology, sociology, and economics, the project aims to use an integrated social, economic and institutional approach to explore the nature and the effects of the crisis on the European institutions.


1. The Crisis and its Institutional Responses

Institutional change that prepare for new policies, can be more important than the crisis policy itself. Short-term economic, social and political adjustments can have lasting consequences. One sub-project will look at the crisis as the mother of social reform whereas other projects will study the effects of the crisis when it comes to wage and employment responses and European social values and social cohesion, among other things.

2. Migration, Mobility, and Growth

Before the euro the development in Europe was marked by convergence across countries. Now, the development seems to be marked by more divergence. One sub-project will look further into this current trend. Another sub-project will explore how Europe will restore growth and development.

3. The Future of the European Social Model

When promotion of the European Social Model became one of the main EU objectives, the national social models faced new challenges and constraints. One sub-project will focus on the national and European responses to the multilevel governance of the European labour markets.


The project is funded by the Research Council of Norway with NOK 24 million for a five-year period from December 2013 until November 2018.

International cooperation

Researchers from Dartmouth College, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies Geneva, Hans Böckler Stiftung Düsseldorf, Harvard University, Institute für Arbeitsmarkt und Berufsforschung Nürnberg, Institute of Economic Analysis in Barcelona, London School of Economics, University of Amsterdam, University of California at Berkeley, University of California at Irvine, University of Milan, University of Oxford, University of Warwick, Stockholm University and US Census.

Project description (PDF)


Published Oct. 16, 2013 8:38 AM - Last modified Jan. 8, 2019 2:32 PM


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