The Politics of Fiscal Welfare Markets


Dr. Susanne Fuchs, HWK


Dr. Clémence Ledoux, Maîtresse de Conférences, University of Nantes and HWK Fellow


  •  Dr. Birgit Apitzsch, Institut für Soziologie, University of Duisbourg, Germany
  •  Prof. Dr. Ingo Bode, University of Kassel, Germany
  •  Prof. Dr. Jane Gingrich, University of Oxford, Magdalen College
  •  Prof. Dr. Karin Gottschall, University of Bremen
  •  Dr. Zenia Hellgren, University of Barcelona, Spain
  •  Dr. Stephan Köppe, University College Dublin, Ireland
  •  Prof. Dr. Frank Nullmeier, Bremen University, Germany
  •  Prof. Dr. Karen Shire, University of Duisbourg, Germany
  •  Ass. Prof. Dr. Franca van Hooren, University of Amsterdam


2016 – 2018

Statement of Problem

Welfare markets - defined as a socially oriented regulation of markets - can take different forms, depending on political choices and the allocation of power between providers, public authorities and users. This Study Group focuses on particular welfare markets, fiscal welfare markets, which are created and regulated by fiscal policies. The Study Group intends to unravel the politics of such welfare markets.

Fiscal welfare market policies may have the same budgetary effect as direct and visible spending, by diminishing the public budget available. Yet they do not evolve through the same policy process as social welfare, they do not create the same perceptions for the citizens, and they can change the logic of social welfare allowances.

How are these policies developed and how are they changing? In recent years, criticism of fiscal welfare policies has grown in Europe among academics and state officers. The study group will examine how intermediate actors, like the media and other stakeholders are answering to tax breaks developments. While the role of interest groups and mass publics is now better known, it is important to question the dynamics of policy action, the multilevel dimension of agency strategies and also to scrutinize the interactions between work regulation and the development of welfare markets.

If “invisibility” as long been considered as a characteristic of fiscal welfare market policies, recent debates in different European countries on tax breaks in general or specific policies increasingly invite to a discussion on the political effects of changes from invisibility to more visible and criticized fiscal welfare market policies.


The Study Group will hold regular meetings and closed-door conferences in the next two years. The outcomes will include several journal articles and a journal special issue.


Ledoux, C. (2021), De nouveaux marchés de services aux personnes en perte d'autonomie se développent en Europe. Le Monde, 04 juin 2021.

Ledoux, C., Shire, K., van Hooren, F. (eds.; 2021), The Dynamics of Welfare Markets. Private Pensions and Domestic/Care Services in Europe. Palgrave Macmillan Cham.