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Current Projects

Multiple burdens under COVID-19: home office and domestic work

Projectduration: April 6, 2020 - July 31, 2020

The exit restrictions imposed in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic offer a unique opportunity to investigate the effect of home office arrangements on the distribution of unpaid work in households. Home office is often described as a mechanism that makes it easier for women to combine childcare and work. It has not yet been possible to systematically investigate whether and to what extent this is the case in Austria. An online survey collects relevant among Viennese participants. It examines how home offices affect the distribution of unpaid work in households and what proportion of unpaid work in households with children under 15 is performed by mothers, albeit a second parent is at home due to home office, unemployment or short-time work.

(in Cooperation with: Arbeiterkammer Wien; Frauenabteilung).

Blog: Gender specific effects of covid-19

Contact and Project leader: Katharina Mader


Franziska Disslbacher, M.Sc.
Judith Derndorfer, M.Sc.
Vanessa Lechinger, M.Sc.
Eva Six. M.Sc.

Gendered Economic Relations in Evolution

Projectduration: October 1, 2019 - September 30,2022

“Gendered Economic Relations in Evolution” is a research project comprising five individual papers to be published in high-quality scientific journals. The overall idea of the project is to analyze how changes in legal and institutional frameworks have influenced the role of gender in the economy. The project thus studies how different dimensions of men and women’s economic roles have evolved in response to changing social norms, legal frameworks, and cultural practices. Each of the five papers in the project use the most modern econometric techniques applied to recently collected microdata to analyze their respective questions. The main hypothesis in each paper is, broadly speaking, that changes in a law or social/cultural institution contributed to forming new archetypes of what it means to be a man or a woman in today’s economy.

The geographical context of the papers is almost exclusively western countries (Austria, Canada, and the USA). However, one paper in the project takes a more global approach, asking if the employment outcomes of female workers are better when they work in globalized versus mainly domestic firms in over 100 different countries. The paper thus asks if globalization provides new opportunities for women at work. A second paper in the project studies whether same-sex couples in the United States changed how they divide their labor (that is, how the couple distributes paid work and unpaid household- and care-work) upon having received the right to marry, file their taxes jointly, or make claims for alimony payments upon the dissolution of the union. In other words, did these new rights change the way that the couples organized their economic lives? A third paper also studies the economics of sexual orientation, analyzing whether the pay gap faced by gay men and lesbians has changed over the last 15 years, a time in which public acceptance of these individuals has grown tremendously.

The fourth paper analyzes the extent to which women’s increasing levels of education has translated into access to more wealth and decision-making power in their households. Education is often considered to be a critical gateway to economic autonomy and prosperity, but to what extent has this been true inside individual households? Has women’s education changed the way that couples divide their resources and decision-making power? Finally, the last paper studies if a basic income grant implemented in Canada in the 1970s, in which participants were given a basic payment each month regardless of their outside income, affected couples’ fertility decisions. The main question here is whether access to more financial security via this basic income grant emboldened couples to get pregnant and have a child.

Contact: Ass.Prof. Alyssa Schneebaum, PhD


Transitioning buildings to full reliance on renewable energy and assuring inclusive and affordable housing.

Duration: April 1st, 2018 – March 31, 2020

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) focus on policies to promote social, economic, and ecological sustainability. Within this framework, the New Urban Agenda, based on the 11th SDG, acknowledges access to housing as a basic service to be provided to all citizens (UN, 2016). Simultaneously, in line with the 7th SDG on affordable and clean energy, it underlines the importance of reducing air pollution and commits authorities in cities and municipalities to increase the share of renewable energy. Considering the role of buildings in Austria´s gross energy consumption (close to 30% - Statistic Austria 2016) efficiency, sufficiency and consistency measures, including comprehensive retrofitting campaigns, energy efficient (re-)construction and a shift to renewable heating systems are indispensable. Only this combination will allow reaching the goals of the Paris Agreement (and the 13th SDG). At the same time, the reduction of inequality according to the 10th SDG includes the promotion of "appropriate legislation, policies and action in this regard" (UN, 2016), which adds an additional dimension to "transitioning buildings research" which thus has to aim for inclusive and affordable housing, too.

The project focuses on transitioning buildings to full reliance on renewable energy, while assuring inclusive and affordable housing. It combines (1) techno-economic modelling of decarbonisation scenarios with (2) an analysis of possible effects on real estate prices and aspects of social inclusion, and (3) transdisciplinary research on policy options to implement social innovations. The active engagement of stakeholders and municipalities will ensure the targeting of policy makers and academia. Thus, the key objective of this project is to develop and to analyse pathways towards full decarbonisation and assuring inclusive and affordable housing for the Austrian housing sector by effective policy interventions.

The project is being carried out under the direction of the Vienna University of Technology (TU Wien) in cooperation with the Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU Wien) and the Climate Alliance Austria (CAA).

Contact: Dr. Koen Smet; Daniel Grabner, MSc; Katharina Litschauer, MSc