Presentation of results by the research association on November 13th, 2009

Open questions

From the discussions of the three panels, one can derive topics which should be investigated in the further course of Socioeconomic Reporting:

  • The concept of ‘participation’ is still not sufficiently defined. Its relation to Sen’s Capability Approach, its origins in political theory as well as its connectivity regarding existing approaches (e.g. dynamics of poverty) should be discussed more thoroughly. – From the perspective of the panellists the ecological implications of change have so far not sufficiently been taken into account.
  • Closely related with it is the question of how to measure welfare. Not only must the term participation be developed further for that purpose but questions of social and ecological sustainability also have to be systematically included.
  • Finally, the overrating of employment as regards to participation was viewed with a critical eye. To define participation only in terms of employment poses the risk of complete commodification whose consequences for individuals and society should be discussed more intensely. In the future, therefore, Socioeconomic Reporting will have to take chances and forms of participation beyond employment more into consideration.
  • The problem of how to evaluate discontinuities in labour participation seems not yet sufficiently solved. Here one would have to take subjective factors as well as institutional influences more into account.
  • Especially regarding the research concerned with the exclusion from gainful employment, there is a data problem because persons without registration times do not appear in official statistics. Moreover, official statistics are often not sufficiently adjusted to current questions. The requirements from research should be articulated more clearly.
  • When developing new indicators, the connectivity with existing indicators should be examined (e.g. Laeken-Indicators).
  • As the (non-)realisation of chances of participation cannot be explained in a merely quantitative manner, qualitative approaches generally should take a more prominent place in reporting.