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Department of Socioeconomics: Research Profile

Distinctive strengths

The Department is unique at the WU with regard to the breadth of disciplines assembled under its roof. This diversity enhances our ability to address complex real world problems. We can draw on a very extensive range of approaches, theories and research methods, sustain most encompassing international research networks, and have access to an exceptionally wide range of channels for disseminating our research findings and policy recommendations. The Department hosts several internationally visible scholars and islands of excellence at the research-group and institute level.

Major research areas and projects

One major research area integrating all parts of the Department is global transformations and sustainability. Within this field, several clusters of excellence can be distinguished including, in particular, sustainable resource use, consequences of demographic and human capital change, sustainable work, responsible innovation, sustainability-related value- and culture-change, and (multi-level) governance for sustainable development. In 2017, researchers were engaged in nearly 60 third-party funded projects, a third of which were new projects. These projects cover a broad range of policy problems and policy fields such as energy policy, transportation policy, labour market and social policy, regional and urban development.

Sustainable Work Initiative

The Department´s research agenda on “sustainable work” was launched in 2015. This important research area spans a wide range of dimensions which due to its internal diversity the Department is exceptionally well placed to cover and integrate. Across disciplines, an important question is how work is defined (employment, volunteer / community work, subsistence / domestic work etc.). Sociological, historical, macro economic, labour economic, behavioural economic, as well as management approaches explore the relationship between work and wellbeing. Furthermore we investigate the employment and environmental policy nexus. The Department of Socioeconomics works to bring these dimensions together and become a leader on the topic.