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Projects (Welfare )

Women with immigrant background in the labour market

Schedule: February 2015-september 2015
Employer: Norges forskningsråd

Project Background

Women with immigrant background face several challenges in the transition to the labor market. It is therefore important to gather knowledge about the factors that constrain or promote their labor market participation.

This report focuses on existing research from Norway and the Nordic region and looks at the measures and efforts to include women with immigrant background in the labor market. Furthermore the report analyzes whether the existing efforts and measures work. The report concludes by presenting several recommendations for further research.

Further information:

Researchers: Julia Orupabo, Ida Drange

Between Income Maintenance and Activation: the legitimacy, implementation and outcomes of social security policies (TREfF-2)

Schedule: April 2016-march 2019
Employer: Norges forskningsråd


Treff-2 is a strategic project (ISP) aiming to develop and to stimulate a solid environment for social security research in Norway. The project is based on research conducted in the Treff-project (ISP 2010-2015). Its basic tenet is that in modern welfare states there is a tension between the concerns related to income security provision and those related to incentives and activation.

The balance between these concerns is disturbed by new political impulses and external demographic and economic shocks. The Norwegian welfare state has experienced both: international impulses and political trends are towards more activation, often in the form of sanctions and conditionality, while the oil price plummets, unemployment rises and Norway experiences record-high inflow of asylum seekers. In such an environment, the social security policy will have to be adapted.

Project Module A

Treff-2 comprises two major research modules; Module A is on politics and legitimacy, i.e., studies of polical support and motivation for changes and the relationship between public opinion and politics.

Project Module B

Module B is on implementation and outcomes, i.e., studies of how politics affect case-workers practice and the clients’ responses to these practices. Both projects employ qualitative and quantitative data, based on surveys and administrative registers. Both modules also explicitly endorse comparative dimensions.

Project Organization

Treff-2 is a collaboration between Institute for Social Research (ISF) and Center for the Study of Professions (SPS) at the Oslo and Akershus College of Applied Sciences. I addition the project involves collaboration with different departments and centres at the University in Oslo, such as Department of Economics, ESOP, Department of Political Science and Department of Sociology.

See also:

Researchers: Anne Skevik Grødem, Lars Inge Terum, Harald Dale-Olsen, Erling Barth, Gaute Torsvik, Andreas Eriksen, Talieh Sadeghi, Staffan Kumlin, Anders Molander, Henning Finseraas, Axel West Pedersen, Susana Vilhena, Pål Schøne, Øystein Marianssønn Hernæs, Inés Hardoy, Aksel Hatland, Kalle Moene, Anniken Hagelund,

Immigration and the Political Sustainability of the Welfare State

Schedule: October 2014-December 2016
Employer: Forskningsrådet

Main Purpose

The main aim of the project is to improve our understanding of the impact of immigration on the political sustainability of the welfare state.

Part one

In one part of the project we examine the political sustainability by exploring the relationship between voters' anti-immigrant sentiments and their welfare state preferences.

Part two

In the second part of the project we examine the political sustainability by exploring the impact of immigration on voting and the generosity of the welfare state.

More information and a list of publications can be found in Prosjektbanken (the Norwegian Research Council).

Researchers: Henning Finseraas, Axel West Pedersen, Magnus Bergli Rasmussen, Ann-Helén Bay, Andreas Kotsadam

Temporary employment and groups with a weak attachment to the labour market

Schedule: July 2016-Desember 2017
Employer: Arbeids- og sosialdepartementet

The purpose of the project is to map, analyze and find effects of temporary employment, with a special focus on whether the new general access to employ temporary workers from July 1. 2015 has given better job opportunities for groups with a weak attachment to the labour market.

We will map the extent and analyze the effects of temporary employment for individuals.

Further, we will investigate what characterizes firms who employ temporary workers and whether this has changed with the change in regulation. 

1+1 project

Schedule: 2016-2020
Employer: Norges forskningsråd

The purpose of the «1+1 project» is to investigate what happens to students’ abilities in mathematics if an additional teacher is used to providing them with small group instruction in mathematics. The project is aimed at students in lower elementary school.

The project will take place in ten large municipalities, geographically spread across the country. The participating municipalities are: Asker, Bærum, Bodø, Drammen, Sandefjord, Sarpsborg, Stavanger, Trondheim, Tromsø and Ålesund. All together the project includes 160 schools from the participating municipalities.

To investigate whether small group instruction in mathematics improves students’ abilities in mathematics, a randomized controlled trial will be carried out where the schools are separated into two groups of equal size – a treatment group and a comparison group. The schools in the treatment group will receive resources to hire an additional teacher, qualified to teach mathematics, while the schools in the comparison group continue as before. It is important that the schools are randomly assigned to the two groups so that the additional teacher is the only difference between the two groups.

By comparing students’ ability in mathematics at the beginning and end of each school year, we will be able to investigate the effect of small group instruction in mathematics on student’ learning. The project will continue for four school years (2016-2020) and will provide new knowledge on the effect of increasing teacher density in a Norwegian context.

See also:

The 1+1 project webpage

Education to work transitions: the role of work capacity, skills and health

Schedule: 2015-2019
Employer: Forskningsrådet

The potentially long lasting harmful consequences of unemployment and inactivity early in life, both for those affected by it and to the environment, are well documented. Youth in Europe have been particularly affected by the recent economic crisis (OECD 2010). Young people with reduced working capacity are particularly vulnerable. Youth unemployment and NEET (Not in Employment, Education, or Training) indicators are part of the new Scoreboard of key employment and social indicators which identify the major employment and social imbalances within the EU. Reducing school drop-out, enhancing labour market participation among those receiving disability benefits and encouraging labour market attachment among low skilled youth are three of twelve main skills challenges for Norway according to OECD Skills Strategy Diagnostic Report for Norway (2014). In this project we aim to investigate these concerns.

Key questions in the project are: How does the transition between education and employment vary with physical and psychological health problems? How important is health and skills for explaining the relationship between not completing secondary school and later outcomes? Are young people in secondary school dropping out “too soon”, or is it beneficial for some to drop out when business cycles are favourable? How serious is it for later outcomes to be NEET at a young age, and how do outcomes vary with late completion of upper secondary school versus other training or work related experiences? Does the “Youth guarantee” for those with reduced work capacity help in the transition to education or work?

Social background, educational, vocational and benefit careers to persons with reduced working

Schedule: 2015-2017
Employer: Arbeids- og sosialdepartementet

The project has two main purposes. The first goal is to identify factors that may help to explain why some people are registered with reduced work ability, as well as identifying potential factors as well as success factors later in life. The second is to examine differences in the prediction value of different data sources. We will examine how far we can get using variables available in the administrative registers data for predicting the probability of being registered with reduced work capacity and how they fare in the recent labor market. We distinguish between data from NAV and data from other administrative sources typically provided by SSB. We will examine the differences in explanatory power between the various registers.

People with reduced work capacity is a very heterogeneous group. We focus on younger people, aged 18 to 29 years old, who are registered with reduced working capacity. This group is particularly interesting for several reasons: 1) circumstances and opportunities in the labor market varies enormously with age so that the data sources may have a lot to say for the predictions; 2) the importance of high quality and effective efforts targeted at youth is high on the political agenda in all countries, and 3) social and economic exclusion early in life predicts exclusion in adult age. By increasing the understanding of what determines who is registered with reduced work capacity at a relative young age, we will also help to increase the understanding of what can reduce exclusion amongst older people.

Researchers: Inés Hardoy, Sara Cools

Governing and Experiencing Citizenship in Multicultural Scandinavia

Schedule: 2015-2019
Employer: Norges forskningsråd

What are the relationships between policies and laws on citizenship and experiences of belonging, recognition and sense of community? The Governing and Experiencing Citizenship in Multicultural Scandinavia (GOVCIT) project will shed new light on relationships between citizenship and integration.

We do this through studying top-down policies and bottom-up lived experiences. The Scandinavian countries have undergone major cultural and social changes due to migration. Considering the homogeneity of the region, the

discrepancy in current citizenship regulation is remarkable. Requirements for citizenship acquisition differ: Norway is positioned in between liberal Sweden and restrictive Denmark. But both Sweden and Denmark permit dual citizenship, while Norway does not. Citizenship in Scandinavia has become eroded, as most substantial rights are attached to permanent residency, not to citizenship. Social cohesion at community level is an explicit aim for citizenship policy.

These macro-level paradoxes inform our study. We will learn more about these through document analysis and interviews with politicians and civil servants. At the individual level we recognize that identity cannot be legislated. Lived experiences are affected not by the letter of the law, but by practices, interpretations and negotiations. We are interested in the experiences of immigrants and descendants, as citizens or prospective citizens, which we will learn about through a Scandinavian survey. In Norway we also use ethnographic methods to capture lived experiences of people living in a diverse society. We are interested in the lived experiences of people both with and without an immigrant background, living in urban areas with diverse populations, and in scarcely populated areas far away from Oslo. 

Belonging, community and integration are key issues in ongoing public debates, to which the GOVICT project will contribute through a focus on the interface of governing and experiencing citizenship.

The project is headed by PRIO, in cooperation with Institute for Social Research, Department of Sociology and Human Geography at The University of Oslo, Malmö Institute for Studies of Migration, Diversity and Welfare (MIM) and Department of Political Science at Aarhus University.

More information about the project is available at PRIO’s web pages:  

Researchers: Marta Bivand Erdal, Arnfinn H. Midtbøen, Grete Brochmann, Pieter Bevelander, Per Mouritsen

Family policies: Fathers’ quota, sharing of parental leave among mothers and fathers and cash-for-childcare.

Schedule: 2015-2016
Employer: Barne-, likestillings- og inkluderingsdepartementet

Project Purpose

The purpose of the project was to review existing research on paternity leave, effects of mothers' and fathers’ sharing of parental leave and the use of cash-for-childcare. Every year a large amount of money is transferred to parents of young children through these schemes. The design of the schemes affects parents' adaptation at the intersection of labour force participation and childcare.

Project Results

The Ministry for Children, Equality and Social Inclusion wanted a review of existing research on family policy transmission schemes. The project has reviewed the existing research on the impacts of the various family policy schemes and assessed the strengths and limitations of research from Norway and other Nordic countries, published in 2010-2015. Knowledge gaps and unanswered research questions were also identified. 

Explaining social patterns in sicknes absence: the influence of values, attitudes and norms

Schedule: 2015-2017
Employer: NFR via Nova

Reducing sickness absence (SA), in particular long-term SA, is high on the political agenda, and by extension, finding the causes or mechanisms that lead to SA. Working conditions, family situation, and health status are core determinants of SA. However, findings on the effects of different factors are far from conclusive. There remains a large "unexplained" element for SA. Despite recognition in the scientific literature that values, attitudes and norms likely contribute to variations in SA, empirical research on this topic is still relatively scarce. The project aims to fill this knowledge gap by studying the influence of values, attitudes and norms on SA, more particularly, their role in creating social patterns in SA. The project will utilize large-scale longitudinal survey data in combination with longitudinal register data, enabling us to apply a multidimensional and dynamic approach to the study of the interaction between values and attitudes with health, work and family factors in relation to SA in different social groups. The project is also innovative in that we will conduct a vignette study among employees and employers with a survey experiment that will help us to analyze potential differences in norms concerning men and women's use of SA.

Key research questions will be 1) to what extent attitudes towards SA vary across gender, age, socioeconomic position and place of residence, 2) which individual attitudes and values predict subsequent SA and to what extent this impact differs across social groups, 3) to what extent values and attitudes can help explain differences in the use of SA across social groups, alongside other explanatory variables such as health status, work situation and family situation 4) to what extent individuals' values and attitudes moderate the relationship between health status, work situation and family situation, and SA, and 5) to what extent we find different norms for the use of SA for men and for women.

Researchers: Harald Dale-Olsen, Tale Hellevik, Marijke Veenstra, Niklas Jacobsson, Kjersti Misje Østbakken, Arne Mastekaasa

Interactions between national and labour market based pensions in Norway: pension outcomes and policy processes

Schedule: 01.09.2014-31.12.2017
Employer: Norges forskningsråd

Project Participants

Fafo and the Institute for Social Research are carrying out the project, and it is led by Fafo.

Project Background

There is considerable research and debate on the reform of the old age pension in the National Insurance Scheme in Norway, but less is known about the related changes in the contractual pension scheme (AFP) and the consequences of the new regulations for occupational pension schemes in the private sector.

Researching the overall pension system and the interaction between its different parts is crucial in order to understand changes in the underlying logic of the overall system and the strategic manoeuvres of various key actors, as well as its impact on the distribution of individual total pension levels and the resulting effect on extended work careers.

The project will therefore focus on the overall pension system and the interplay between various schemes.

Project Aim

The overall ambition is to map out and model the full impact of the 2011 pension reform, to improve understanding of the policy processes shaping various parts of the reform, and to place these findings in a broader European context.

See also:

Researchers: Jon M. Hippe, Tove Midtsundstad, Anne Skevik Grødem, Anniken Hagelund, Christine Trampusch, Olli Kangas

The Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV) as a learning organization

Schedule: December 2014-March 2015
Employer: Arbeids- og sosialdepartementet

The project has two aims:

1) To acquire knowledge about institutional measures in NAV that aim to promote learning and increase competence, and to sum up research-based knowledge that discusses how these measures can develop NAV as a learning organization. This part of the project shall draw on recent Norwegian research on Nav.

2) Propose measures that will improve organizational learning in NAV. This part of the project will take as a starting point the strengths and weaknesses identified by research. Strengths and weaknesses in the existing organization will be discussed in the light of organizational measures and initiatives promoted within the organization, and in relation to the interplay between NAV and educational and research institutions.


Researchers: Ann-Helén Bay, Anne Skevik Grødem, Lars-Inge Terum, Knut Fossestøl

Gender Segregation in the Labour Market

Schedule: 2014-2018
Employer: Norges forskningsråd

Project background

This research project will investigate the ways in which women and men are unequally placed in the labour market. We will study the mechanisms that contribute to different educational choices among boys and girls, and what happens in the transition from education to work. Once men and women have entered the labour market, there are processes at play that contribute further to gender gaps in career development and wages. We will study how different welfare state arrangements affect these developments through comparing Norway with other countries.

Project structure

The research project consists of four main parts.

1) International comparisons across several countries, in order to investigate how different institutional contexts affect the extent to which men and women are  unequally distributed in the labour market.

2) Comparisons of female career patterns in the United States and Norway, with particular focus on access to top positions, recruitment policies and decision making within the household.

3) Boys' and girls' educational choices and performance, attitudes towards female- or male typical study programs, and consequences for labour market entry in Norway.

4) Mechanisms that channel men and women into different positions within the Norwegian labour market over the life course.

We will be using different kinds of data sources. Some questions will be answered by using available large scale survey data, some by using data from Norwegian public registries that follow the population over many years, and some by collecting new data through case studies and questionnaires.

The project team consists of researchers from the Institute for Social Research in collaboration with the University of Oslo and the Oslo and Akershus College of Applied Sciences. For the international comparisons we will collaborate with researchers at Boston University, Wellesley College, UC San Diego and the University of Basel.

Further project information and list of publications can be found in Prosjektbanken.

This project is connected to CORE - Center for Research on Gender Equality.

Further information (in Norwegian):

Researchers: Liza Reisel, Pål Schøne, Erling Barth, Mari Teigen, Anne Lise Ellingsæter, Inés Hardoy, Kjersti Misje Østbakken, Sigtona Halrynjo, Ragni Hege Kitterød, Kristinn Hegna, Christian Imdorf, Mary Blair-Loy, Claudia Olivetti, Sari Pekkala Kerr

Understanding the gender gap in sickness absence

Schedule: 2013-2016
Employer: NFR

In this project, we investigate three possible mechanisms behind the gender gap in sickness absence in Norway; (1) The importance of having children, (2) Investments in health and (3) Statistical discrimination.

            The first part of the project will give an overview of patterns in sickness absence over the lifecycle with an emphasis on the importance of having children in the family. We will also use instrumental variables methods to evaluate the causal impact of children on sickness absence.

            The second part of the project investigates the apparent paradox that women have higher sickness absence rates, but live longer than men. A possible explanation may be that women to a larger degree and at an earlier stage visit a doctor or in other ways take better care of their health. Another explanation is that there are biological differences between men and women in type of illness and how fast they recover. We wish to investigate the importance of differences in behavior by comparing behavior after illnesses that biologically affects men and women in the same way.

            The third part of the project investigates whether high female absence rates overall makes the threshold to be absent lower for the individual woman. One reason for this is that the employer may expect the woman to have higher sickness absence than a man, so that sickness absence will not serve as the same negative signal to the employer for women. The (career-) cost of staying home when ill can therefore be lower for women.

Researchers: Marte Strøm

Institutional Change in Democratic Society

Schedule: 2012-2015
Employer: NFR

A joint project by Department of Sociology and Human Geography, University of Oslo, Institute for Social Research, and Fafo Institute for Labour and Social Research.

How are modern societies constituted? Dominant in sociological theory are either abstract “top down” perspectives, or arbitrary labels such as “risk society” or “post-modern society”. The present project chooses instead a bottom up approach in order to describe how large social formations are linked together. Thereby the focus on institutions becomes crucial. In order to avoid excessive generality, three limitations are made: (i) Mechanisms and patterns of institutional change are highlighted, (ii) a limited set of institutions are studied, (iii) democracy is regarded as constitutive in all parts of modern society. Empirically, the emphasis is put on societies of the Scandinavian type, but with clear comparative ambitions. Being societies where the state is simultaneously strong and liberal makes these societies a special case in relationship to basic assumptions in the international literature.

The project falls in three parts: Part A discusses normative theory of democracy, and theory of institutional change. Part B engages with changes in the public sphere. Part C concerns institutional change in working life and the welfare state, and what characterizes Scandinavia, in comparison with Continental Europe and the Anglo-American world.

CORE - Centre for Research on Gender Equality

Schedule: 2013-
Employer: Barne-, likestillings- og inkluderingsdepartementet


CORE – Centre for Research on Gender Equality, at Institute for Social Research, conducts interdisciplinary research on gender equality, with particular emphasis on working life. The research centre aims to produce research of both high academic quality, and social and political relevance.

CORE was established in 2013 and is funded by the Ministry of Children and Equality. Mari Teigen is Research Director at CORE.

Visit the webpage for CORE – Centre for Research on Gender Equality for more information.

Support for the Affluent Welfare State

Schedule: 2012-2015
Employer: Norges forskningsråd

The study's primary objective is to study the joint impact of the national and local contexts (public and private affluence, inequality, ethnic heterogeneity, and the public sphere) on attitudes and behaviour related to the welfare state.

This is achieved through the following secondary objectives:

  • analyze how context affects formation/definition of interests, perceptions of fairness/reciprocity, and social capital/trust.
  • study causal links between these aspects, and gauge their significance for support for welfare policies, taxation, and redistribution.
  • examine also contextual aspects of the public sphere (agenda-setting and framing), employing survey experiments to analyze how public sphere and exogenous context jointly interact in affecting individuals

We will analyze the attitudes and behavior on which the modern welfare state rests. Such support is studied broadly, including how people define their economic interests, how they perceive the fairness of procedures and outcomes, and whether they trust and interact with fellow citizens in civil society.

The overriding question is how orientations are affected by local and national context. We will analyze the effects of local variation in Norway, but also compare a large number of European countries with each other. Four groups of contextual factors are considered:

(1) public and private affluence
 (2) the level and structure of economic inequality
 (3) variations in ethnic heterogeneity, and
 (4) variations in the mass mediated public sphere.

We will jointly consider several groups of contextual factors, analyzing how they work in combination by uniting studies of national and local contexts under one framework. Finally, we will also systematically include the public sphere as a source of contextual variation, focusing on how agenda-setting and framing at the elite level affect citizens in combination with external conditions.

In order to do so we will conduct a citizen survey in  Norwegian municipalities with a panel design (waves in 2013-15) and a stratified sample. This survey measures all key concepts and can be matched with unique contextual data.

The design allows separation for of self-selection processes from genuine contextual causal impact. It also allows analysis of dynamic contextual changes.

Moreover, we will study election campaigns in eight countries asking how important issues of the welfare state have been framed in the public sphere by political actors. The impact of such variation is studied in randomized experiments in Norway, Sweden and Germany. This allows studies of how "agenda-setting" and "framing" interact with contextual conditions



Kumlin, Staffan. 2014. "Policy Feedback in Political Context: Unemployment Benefits, Election Campaigns,and Democratic Satisfaction", in Kumlin, STaffan and STabdelmann-Steffem, Isabelle. How Welfare States Shape the Democratic Public: Policy Feedback, Participation, Voting, and Attitudes. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.

Kumlin, Staffan. 2014. “Informed Performance Evaluation of the Welfare State? Experimental and Real-world Findings", in Kumlin, Staffan and Stadelmann-Steffen, Isabelle. How Welfare States Shape the Democratic Public: Policy Feedback, Participation, Voting, and Attitudes. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.

Kumlin, Staffan and Stadelmann-Steffen, Isabelle. 2014. “Citizens, Policy Feedback, and European Welfare States”, in Kumlin, Staffan and Stadelmann-Steffen, Isabelle. How Welfare States Shape the Democratic Public: Policy Feedback, Participation, Voting, and Attitudes. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.

Kumlin, Staffan and Stadelmann-Steffen, Isabelle. 2014. “How Welfare States Shape the Democratic Public: Borrowing Strength Across Research Communities”, in Kumlin, Staffan and Stadelmann-Steffen, Isabelle. How Welfare States Shape the Democratic Public: Policy Feedback, Participation, Voting, and Attitudes. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.

Wollebæk, Dag, Steen-Johnsen, Kari and Enjorlas, Bernand. 2013. “Rallying Without Fear. Political Consequences of Terror in a High Trust Society”, in Sinclar, Samuel J. and Antonius, Daniel. The Political Consequences of Terror. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. 

Wallmann Lundåsen, Susanne and Wollebæk, Dag. 2013 “Diversity and Community Trust in Swedish Local Communities” Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties. 23(3):299-321


Ødegård, Guro, Loga, Jill, Steen-Johnsen, Kari and Ravneberg, Bodil (eds). 2014. Fellesskap og Forskjellighet. Integrasjon og Nettverksbygging i Flerkulturelle Lokalsamfun. Oslo: Abstrakt Forlag 

Kumlin, Staffan and Stadelmann-Steffen, Isabelle (eds) 2014. How Welfare States Shape the Democratic Public: Policy Feedback, Participation, Voting, and Attitudes. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing. 

Johansson, Bengt, Kumlin, Staffan, Naurin, Elin and Wängerud, Lena. 2014. Det Politiska Spelet: Medborgare, Medier och Politiker  i den Representative Demokratin. Lund: Studentlitteratur

Trägårdh, Lars, Wallman Lundåsen, Susanne, Wollebæk, Dag and Svedberg, Lars. 2013. Den Svala Svenska Tilliten. Förutsättningar och Utmaningar. Stockholm: SNS förlag