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  H o m e






Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung (WZB)

:: Overview
:: Research
:: Practical information

Berlin WZB Berlin Potsdamer Platz
Berlin Mural Berlin Brandenburger Tor


Introducing WZB

The Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung (WZB) is one of the biggest social science research centers in Europe. It houses eight research groups and several working groups dedicated to “problem-centered basic research” (WZB: An Overview: 1). The WZB research unit affiliated with the Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality and Social Policy is called “Employment, Social Structure, and Welfare States,” which is directed by Professor Jens Alber. This unit consists of three sub-sections: one research group on “Inequality and Social Integration,” directed by Professor Alber, one research group on “Labor Market Policy and Employment,” directed by Professor Günther Schmid, and one working group on Public Health, directed by Professor Rolf Rosenbrock and PD Dr. Hagen Kühn.

WZB CourtyardThe research group on Inequality and Social Integration focuses on the impact of old and new types of social inequality, including social class, ethnicity, gender, and generation, on people’s objective living conditions, their life styles and subjective well-being, and on their perception of society and the democratic order. This research group studies quality of life developments in Germany and social conditions in 28 European countries. The purpose of this project is to find out to what extent there is a European social model and how it compares to the one in the U.S., and how recent restructuring of European welfare states has impacted upon objective living conditions and subjective problem perceptions of different social groups (Sources: Katherine Newman’s and Katrin Križ’ site visit 2003, and WZB: An Overview).

The research group on Labor Market Policy and Employment studies how labor market policy can contribute to solving structural problems, such as unemployment, that are produced by the transition from an industrial to an information society. This research group also examines the effectiveness and efficiency of labor market policy in terms of people’s employment careers, structural changes of work with regard to transitional processes between old and new kinds of employment, such as temporary jobs, multiple employment, part-time employment, etc., and the relationship between labor market and welfare states in reducing new risks of working life (WZB: An Overview: 4-5).

The working group on Public Health takes a multidisciplinary approach to studying health risks and health problems. It explores disease prevention and health promotion in companies and public organizations, interventions in life style and living conditions, changes in health care systems, and the way health-related institutions are regulated and funded in Germany (WZB: An Overview: 8).


The data at WZB’s Inequality and Social Integration unit is accessible to Inequality Fellows. If Inequality Fellows want to use it, they will need to email Christoph Albrecht, Deputy Managing Director, Inequality and Social Integration, at Albrecht@wz-berlin.de. The unit administers the so-called "Wohlfahrtssurvey" (welfare survey) in collaboration with the Zentrum für Umfragen, Methoden and Analysen.

Library access

Inequality Fellows will be given access to the WZB library and to interlibrary loan services.

Research seminars

WZB organizes lunches for groups of researchers, public lectures and discussions. The best way to get to know and get in touch with WZB researchers is through the WZB intranet.

(Sources: WZB: an Overview, and WZB's website, August 2005)


Research areas at a glance



Comparative and domestic institutional evolution

Jens Alber, Petra Böhnke, Jan Delhey, Roland Habich, Miriam Hartlapp, Christoph Hilbert, Petra Kaps, Hagen Kühn, Susanne Kümpers, Eckhard Priller, Günther Schmid, Hugh Mosely, Holger Schütz, Rolf Rosenbrock, Hildegard Theobald


Christian Brzinsky-Fay, Christoph Hilbert, Ralf Mytzek-Zühlke

Family structure

Karin Schulze Buschoff

Historical evolution of inequality

Jens Alber, Roland Habich, Frank Oschmiansky


Wolfgang Keck

Labor market inequality

Sebastian Brandl, Christian Brzinsky-Fay, Roland Habich, Miriam Hartlapp, Carroll Haak, Christoph Hilbert, Eckart Hildebrandt, Hugh Mosely, Ralf Mytzek-Zühlke, Michael Neugart, Frank Oschmiansky, Günther Schmid, Karin Schulze Buschoff

Political and civic participation

Jens Alber, Ulrich Kohler, Eckhard Priller

Racial/ethnic disparities and race relations

Urban poverty and spatial segregation

Petra Böhnke

Researchers at WZB

Research group on Inequality and Social Integration

Jens Alber
Research areas: comparison of living conditions in Europe; old and new forms of inequality in different European countries; impact of institutional conditions on social structure; international comparisons of the development and reduction in social policies and their dependence on institutional programs and fiscal interests of state elites, especially policies for the elderly and marginalization processes in European and U.S. social policies; historical conditions of democratic stability in Germany; development of voter participation in the U.S.; mobilization of xenophobic national sentiments in the context of German unification.

Petra Böhnke
Research areas: development of welfare; processes of exclusion and integration in unified Germany and in Europe; welfare survey; poverty and living standards in Europe

Jan Delhey Berlin Museums
Research areas: research on social change
and attitudes; analysis of social structure;
international comparisons of welfare and
quality of life; transformation processes in
Eastern Europe and EU enlargement;

Roland Habich
Research areas: objective living conditions and subjective well being in unified Germany; living conditions in Germany; historical development of German welfare state; labor market statistics

Wolfgang Keck
Research areas: intergenerational mobility; sociology of migration; social indicators; social capital

Ulrich Kohler
Research areas: social structure and party preference; party identification, voter intention, and voter behavior; attractiveness of green party to older voters

Eckhard Priller
Research areas: international and German perspective on third sector (civil society); social conditions of East and West German households during unification; democratic development; social indicators of socialist living conditions

Research group on Labor Market Policy and Employment

Günther Schmid Berlin Reichpietschufer
Research areas: member of European Employment Task Force, which studies employment-related policy changes in Europe and identifies reform measures; efficiency of German public employment service; ways towards full employment; urban employment dynamics in Berlin compared to other metropolitan areas; job rotation as a tool to integrate the unemployed; women and structural change; unemployment insurance and active labor market policy

Sebastian Brandl
Research areas: industrial relations and
new types of labor regulation; sustainable
development and social sustainability;
work and ecology; future of work

Christian Brzinsky-Fay
Research areas
: Data analyses using German Socio-Economic panel (GSOEP); school-to-work transitions; youth unemployment; continuing education; evaluation of active labor market policy; comparative analyses of continuing education in Europe

Carroll Haak
Research areas: causes of comparatively low participation rate of German companies with regard to continuing training at the workplace; labor markets for artists and writers

Miriam Hartlapp
Research areas: social policy and labor policy; governance in multiple level systems; implementation and compliance research; institutional theory; European integration

Christoph Hilbert
Research areas: quantitative analyses of incentive-based performance tests in regional employment services; principal agent-theory; connection between individual compensation and regional unemployment; comparisons of international analyses on qualification methods; regional and sector-specific analyses of qualification needs

Eckart Hildebrandt
Research areas: new technologies and creation of work; relationship between labor market policy and environmental policy; industrial relations and environmental policy

Petra Kaps
Research areas: municipal employment policy; labor market policy; social policy

Hugh MoselyBuilding in East Berlin
Research areas
: comparative and
interdisciplinary research on a wide range
of labor market topics, especially
implementation issues such as public
employment service reforms, working
time, and labor market regulation

Ralf Mytzek-Zühlke
Research areas
: assessment of employees’ qualification needs; continuing training and emigration of skilled labor in the IT and communication industries; development of labor needs in the IT and communication industries

Michael Neugart
Research areas: labor market economics; non-linear dynamics in economics; new political economics; agent based computational models; applied econometrics

Frank Oschmiansky
Research areas: empirical comparisons of regional labor market transitions; historical development of German labor market policy; German history in the 20th century; the extreme right

Karin Schulze BuschoffBerlin Leipziger Platz
Research areas: work time; family and
work; women’s working time;
part-time work

Holger Schütz
Research areas: international comparisons of
organization, practices and reforms of public administration; policy analysis from an institutionalist perspective; transformation of the public sector; European labor market and social policy

Working Group on Public Health

Rolf Rosenbrock
Research areas: economy and politics of health care and health services; socially rooted health inequalities; disease prevention and health promotion; work site health promotion; AIDS policy and politics, prevention and care; health insurance systems

Hagen Kühn
Research areas: sociology and economy of health and health systems; social policy, prevention and health promotion; cross-national research with a special focus on the U.S., sociology of ethics in public health

Susanne Kümpers
Research areas: integrated care and primary prevention in relation to inequality; international comparison and transfer of health policy

Hildegard TheobaldBerlin PM's Office
Research areas: cross-national research
on the welfare state (care for the elderly);
social services; sociology of professions;
gender inequality and social inequality

Michael T. Wright
Research areas: HIV/AIDS prevention;
evaluation of preventive measures; role of NGO’s in disease prevention; HIV risk among homosexual men

(Sources: Katherine Newman’s and Katrin Križ’ site visit 2003 and WZB website, August 2005)

Practical information

Berlin Checkpoint Charlie
Berlin Mural Berlin Soviet Memorial
Berlin Reichstag Berlin Tolerance Bears


Christoph Albrecht, Deputy Managing Director, Inequality and Social Integration, at Albrecht@wz-berlin.de, offered to help find accommodation for Inequality Fellows by putting an ad on the WZB-intranet. Frau Martina Sander-Blanck, Assistant to Professor Alber, at blanck@wz-berlin.,de, or Frau Nicola Fielk, nico@wz-berlin.de, Assistant to Dr. Georg Thurn, Research Policy and Coordination, may also be able to put an ad on the WZB-intranet.

WZB itself does not itself own apartments for guest researchers but may be able to help Inequality Fellows who visit WZB for several months find an apartment at the Internationales Begegnungszentrum (IZB). The cost of a furnished apartment at IBZ is about 500 euros per month, but WZB needs to know at least six months. Another option to find housing in Berlin is through a “Mitwohnzentrale.” Safe areas for students to live in are Prenzlauerberg, Mitte, Friedrichshain, and Kreuzberg (Source: Katherine Newman’s and Katrin Križ’ site visit, 2003).

Health insurance

The U.S. Department of State provides extensive information on health insurance for Americans traveling abroad.

Office space and computer access

Inequality Fellows will have their own office space, desk, PC and email address through the research unit they will be assigned to.


The academic year in Berlin starts in October. The summer term runs from the middle of April until the middle of July. Many researchers at WZB go on vacation starting in mid-July.


A monthly pass for subways, trams and busses cost between 50 to 60 euros in 2003. See http://www.berliner-verkehr.de/traffic.htm for information on transportation in Berlin, and Deutsche Bahn for train connections and fares in Germany. For a list of low-cost airlines operating in Europe, visit http://www.discountairfares.com/lcosteur.htm. To print out a location on a map, go to http://www.mappy.com./

Visa information

U.S. citizens do not need a visa if they stay in Germany as tourists for less than 90 days. For longer stays, visitors will need to obtain a residency permit upon arrival in Germany. For the latest visa-related information, see the website of the U.S. Department of State and the German Embassy in Washington, DC.

Practical information...>>




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