Workshop - Digitalization, Automation and the Future of the Welfare State

Donnerstag, 23. Januar 2020
– Freitag, 24. Januar 2020

University of Konstanz, Room Y 213

EXC "The Politics of Inequality"

This workshop addresses the implications of rapid technological change in the world of work for welfare state politics and policies. Rapid technological change in the form of digitalization and automation has potentially large-scale consequences for the future of democratic welfare states, which are little understood so far. Although there is a growing literature, mostly in the field of labour market economics, on the labour market implications of technological change, there is so far very little research on the implication of these processes of labour market transformation on the welfare state. Several questions are of interest here and will be addressed in the workshop:

(1) On the level of perceptions: How is technological change perceived by those affected by it? Is it regarded as a threat or rather as an opportunity? How do these perceptions shape people’s attitudes and expectations regarding potential policy responses to technological change?

(2) On the level of participation: To what extent does rapid technological change contribute to the emergence of a new cleavage between the winners and losers of technological change? And to what extent does this potentially new cleavage correlate with other established cleavages?

(3) On the level of policies: How to policy-makers react to rapid technological change? Do policymakers promote compensatory policies to buffer the negative side effects of technological change or do they expand social investment policies such as education and lifelong learning? Or do they develop entirely new policies such as universal basic income schemes?

The workshop will bring together international scholars from different European and US institutions. The goal of the workshop is to publish contributions in the form of an edited volume with a prestigious English-language publisher or as a special issue for a peer-reviewed journal. The workshop is a follow-up to a similar event hosted and financed by the university of Bremen in January 2019.

Participation by invitation only.