The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered unprecedented changes in the Swiss labour market which are expected to have significant effects on the Swiss welfare system. It is therefore crucial to explore the capacity of social policies to support vulnerable groups in times of crisis and prevent the deepening of inequalities. This project aims to understand to what extent social policies (including ad hoc programmes adopted since March 2020) have been able to buffer the socioeconomic effects of the pandemic and of the containment measures. It relies on a longitudinal and fully integrated mixed-method approach that will be carried out by an interdisciplinary research team (including sociology, economics, demography, social policy analysis and competencies in mixed-method). Our ambition is to support evidence-based decisions by identifying (1) which target groups were particularly impacted by the crisis and how this is reflected in social benefits and employment trajectories; and (2) what best practices could be identified to promote resilient social policies in the context of future crises. Based on a close collaboration with federal and local administrations and relevant stakeholders in the field of social policy, the project pursues the following three core objectives: I. Document social policies at the local level; II. Monitor the mid-term effects of the pandemic on individual trajectories; and III. Compare local practices and dynamics.
To achieve both its scientific and practical goals and align research agendas with social policies at the federal and local levels, the project will benefit from the support of a mixed Advisory board including policy-makers at the federal and local level and academic experts. Together, they will provide complementary competencies and perspectives about social policies, in terms of position in the multi-level governance system, linguistic areas, disciplines and methods.
Composition of the Advisory board:
- Conférence suisse des institutions d'action sociale (CSIAS)
- Initiative des villes pour la politique sociale
- Office fédéral des assurances sociales (OFAS)
- Office fédéral de la statistique (OFS)
- Prof. Michelle Beyeler (School of Social Work, Bern University of Applied Sciences)
- Prof. Spartaco Greppi (Competence Centre for Labor, Welfare and Social Research, University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland)
- Prof. Verena Keller (School of Social Work and Health Lausanne, University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland)
- Prof. Peter Streckeisen (Institute of Diversity and Social Integration, School of Social Work, Zürich University of Applied Sciences)