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"Political Integration of Immigrants: A study of Participation and Representation in Norwegian Local Politics"

Schedule: 2007-2009

This project is a study of political participation and political representation of non-western immigrants in Norway. Previous Norwegian research in this area suggest that, in some cases at least, immigrants are more successfully integrated in the political sphere than in other parts of society, say, the labor- or housing markets. Thus, by looking at Norwegian local politics, we could get new insights into the issue of integration more generally. The project forms a part of a larger European research network on "the political representation of migrants and ethnic minorities". Our main goal is to explain differences in political participation and representation between immigrants and ethnic Norwegians, as well as between different ethnic groups of immigrants. Our point of departure is the theory of social capital, and the hypothesis that membership in civil organizations will foster political participation. The data is related to two sets of Norwegian municipal council elections; those in 2003 and 2007. We use both quantitative and qualitative data. Statistics Norway (SSB) collects a probability sample of data on political participation from the election registers. The IT-company ErgoEphorma provides data on candidates for Norwegian municipal elections in 2003 and 2007, which includes information on immigrant background, gender, age, political party, election results, and a number of other variables. We also conduct a survey of all candidates with a non-western immigrant background from the two elections, by use of a postal survey questionnaire. Finally, we conduct comparative studies of selected Norwegian municipalities, using several data-sources, with the aim of explaining variations in the success immigrant candidates.

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

A comparative analysis of the impact of efforts to improve the labour market prospects of youth with weak labour market attachment in The Nordic cou...

Schedule: 2014-2016
Employer: Arbeids- og sosialdepartementet


Illustration photo:


Project Background

A main ambition of labour market programs is that young people with impaired work capacity and weak labour market attachment are given the opportunity to get a foothold in the labour market. Research shows that periods outside employment or education at a young age can have long-term consequences.

Project Purpose

The purpose of this project was to map and systematize scientific research in the Nordic countries dealing with the effects of measures intended to insert/maintain vulnerable young people into the labour market. Our target group is young people between 15 and 30 years.

In the comparative analysis we include Germany, the UK and the Netherlands in addition to the five Nordic countries. These are countries that are similar to a greater or lesser extent in terms of culture, history, institutions and labour market functioning. Similarities, and contrasts between measures, countries and over time can contribute to a better understanding of their impact across the region.

Based on the literature collected we construct a data set which is in turn used to carry out a meta-analysis. A meta-analysis is a statistical tool used to summarize many different and sometimes contradictory results and is intended to provide more solid evidence of what is reliable, durable and robust research results relative to what can be obtained from individual studies.

Project Results

All in all, the meta-analysis comprises approximately 425 effect estimates from 44 different research projects. Our conclusions confirm that training and wage subsidies give rise to more positive effect than work practice and public employment measures. It is also worth noting that the estimates tend to be more positive over time, which may indicate that a learning process occurs such that the measures are gradually becoming more efficient.

However, there is a large variation in the reported estimates, from clearly positive to definitely negative, which may indicate that there is indeed a significant variation in how well programs work for the target group they are designed for. In other words, there is no silver bullet. What is clear is that there are numerous examples of measures that seem to have had a positive impact, and that properly designed measures have the potential to help young people into work or further education.

Researchers: Inés Hardoy, Kristine von Simson (i permisjon), Tao Zhang, Knut Røed, Caroline Hall, Brian Krogh Graversen

A Comparative Study of Gender Attitudes

Schedule: 2003-2007

Johannes Bergh’s Ph.D.-project is a study of attitudes toward gender equality and gender relations in a comparative perspective. It has two overreaching research questions: 1) what explains variation in gender attitudes at the individual level and between countries? 2) What is the effect of gender attitudes on voting? The analyses in this project consist, for the most part, of statistical analyses of survey data. Bergh uses a wide variety of data for that purpose, such as the Norwegian Citizenship Survey of 2000; the American National Election Studies, and General Social Surveys; the World Values Surveys; as well as some of the European surveys known as "Eurobarometers”. Bergh has written two papers, as part of this project. Both are intended for publication: “Gender Attitudes and Modernization Processes”. This paper aims to explain variation in gender attitudes by use of two competing hypotheses drawn from the literature on “modernization”. The first of these explain gender attitudes by structural factors such as education and female labor participation, the other argues that the degree of value-change in postindustrial societies can account for variation in gender attitudes. The structural explanation is better able to explain gender attitudes in all 19 countries in the analysis. A hypothesis that values have a stronger effect in countries with higher levels of development finds no support. “Explaining the Gender Gap”. Most Western democratic societies have seen a gender gap in voting in the last 10-20 years, in the sense that women are overrepresented among voters on the political left, while men are in the majority on the right. A substantial research tradition within political science has tried to explain this phenomenon, but has not succeeded in finding explanations that are valid across countries. By combining several explanations from the literature, Bergh outlines a model that is able to fully explain the gender gap in different countries. He tests the model in three countries: the United States, the Netherlands, and Norway. A large part of the gender gap in the US and Norway is explained by men and women’s differing degree of “feminist consciousness”.

Researchers: Johannes Bergh

A process evaluation of the Karin model pilot, a coordinated approach to victims of domestic violence

Schedule: 2014-2019
Employer: Justis- og beredskapsdepartementet

This is a process evaluation of a pilot project at Stovner police station in Oslo aiming at more coordinated services toward victims of violence in close relations. A Norwegian version of the Swedish so called Karin-model will consist of police personnel including domestic violence analysts and investigators as well as social service personnel. The overall aim is to offer better, more holistic and coordinated services to adult female and male victims of interpersonal violence. The study will be based on survey data and qualitative interviews.

It is one of nine projects in The Domestic Violence Research Program which is a five year program at Norwegian Social Research – NOVA at Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, financed by the Ministry of Justice and Public Security. For more information about the Research Program, see here.  

Researchers: Anja Bredal

A viable welfare state. Equality and stability

Schedule: 2005-2008

The project analyses the relationship between income inequality and the sustainability of the welfare state. On the one hand, welfare spending increases equality, but on the other hand the level of equality also affects the support for the welfare state.

The project has both a theoretical and an empirical part. In the empirical part we use internationally comaprable data. The project analyses the relationship between income inequality and the sustainability of the welfare state. On the one hand, welfare spending increases equality, but on the other hand the level of equality also affects the support for the welfare state.

The project has both a theoretical and an empirical part. In the empirical part we use internationally comaprable data. The project is a joint project with the Frisch center, Department of Economics at the University of Oslo and Yale University.

Researchers: Erlend Opstad, Kjersti Misje Østbakken, Kalle Moene, Erling Barth

Between equality and efficiency: Work incentives, social redistribution and gender equality in the reformed pension system

Schedule: 2015-2017
Employer: Arbeids- og administrasjonsdepartementet , NFR/EVAPEN

The aim of the project is to conduct and empirical investigation of the implications of the reformed pension system for benefit adequacy, social redistribution and gender equality while taking account also of the incentive structure provided by the new system of pension accrual.

The project is carried out in collaboration between Institute for social research (ISF) and Statistics Norway (SSB). The project is organised in three modules: The first module (A) comprises studies of the incentive structure created by the new system of pension accrual as well as its possible effects on labour supply using available up-to-date register data for the adult Norwegian population (FD-trygd). In the second module (B) we use the dynamic micro-simulation model (MOSART) developed by Statistics Norway to gain new insights into the distributive implications of the reformed system in a diachronic lifetime perspective. The sub-studies of the this module include analyses of the intra-cohort distribution of pension benefits, the impact of family sensitive benefit components on the distribution of household disposable income, and how the redistribution life-time income achieved by the pension system is modified by social inequalities in life-expectancy. The third module (C) uses in depth qualitative interviews and web-based surveys to study the way individuals and couples relate to the new system of pension accrual both in terms of its perceived fairness, its expected adequacy, and its motivational effect on labour supply. We focus in particular on the mixture of what we call 'family sensitive benefit components' in the reformed system: credits for child rearing, bequest of pension rights between married spouses, and differentiation of minimum benefits between singles and couples.

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,

Changing familes and the gender revolution (FAMGEN)

Schedule: 2015-2018
Employer: Arbeids- og sosialdepartementet

The point of departure for the project is three profound changes sweeping across modern societies: women surpassing men in higher education, growing female labour force participation and more involved men in the family. This gender revolution influences the family formation process and is moving at different paces across countries, which calls for comparative research on the interplay between gender roles and the family formation process.

The project has a strong international profile and we apply an analytical approach where the family formation process involves different components: (A) union formation, (B) couple specialization, and (C) childbearing. This novel approach takes into account that the family formation process contains several components that influence each other: who enters unions and who partner with whom influence couple specialization and the relative economic position of men and women, which in turn influence childbearing, which may very well in return influence couple specialization. Union formation patterns are also expected to influence childbearing directly. We argue that it is necessary to include the union formation process in analyses of couple specialization and childbearing because it determines the socioeconomic correlates of selection into unions, as well as how socioeconomic characteristics affect choice of union.  While several theoretical frameworks have been developed to understand the interplay of new gender roles and family behaviour at the societal level, there is need for more theories to better understand the mechanisms at the individual level.

Register data will be used for the in-depth analyses of Norway, while survey data will be used for the comparative analyses.

Researchers: Ragni Hege Kitterød, Rannveig Vittersø Kaldager, Trude Lappegård, Kenneth Aarskaug Wiik, Lars Dommermuth, Rønsen Marit