Fairness, personal responsibility, and the welfare state

Funding agency: NORFACE (EU) 

Project number: 462-14-033

Amount: Euro 250’000 (Austrian Part)

Project duration: Jan. 2015 - Dec.2018

Austrian Project team:
Univ.-Prof. Dr. Jean-Robert Tyran
Dr. Axel Sonntag
Dr. Peter Bednarik

Other teamleaders:
Norway : Alexander Cappelen (NHH Bergen), Stein Kuhnle (U Bergen), Sigrid Suetens (U Tilburg)

Short description:

The aim of the research project ”Fairness, personal responsibility and the welfare state” is to analyze how fairness considerations, in particular with respect to personal responsibility, affect the support and effectiveness of welfare policies. The European welfare states are faced with important challenges, in particular related to financial strains on the welfare system, changing migration flows and increasing inequality. Partly as a response to these challenges, there is an increasing focus on personal responsibility. The proposed research project provides new knowledge about how the welfare states can meet these challenges and how concerns for personal responsibility can be integrated in the design of welfare schemes in a way that is perceived as fair. 

Four research teams from Norway, the Netherlands, and Austria, will take a cross-disciplinary perspective on fairness and use an innovative combination of methods, including administrative register data, surveys, as well as field and laboratory experiments. 

This project is part of a major transnational research programme on the topic of Welfare State Futures. This highly topical programme makes use of a variety of approaches, enables and encourages multi-disciplinarity and offers a fruitful basis for developing of a European perspective on the futures of the welfare state.