Better data - better policies?

At the same time socioeconomic reporting should contribute to society’s self-enlightenment and to policy advice. However, the latter function of independent scientific observation does not mean to give recommendations and to control political measures. ‘Better data’ do not automatically translate into ‘better policies’. Scientific reporting is not able to offer safe knowledge at short notice as would be necessary for rationally founded political programs. Nevertheless, the findings of reporting can indicate a demand for political interventions, i.e. to identify problems and challenges for policy making and thereby to influence the political agenda. In order to be utilised in such a fashion the research network has to pick up on discourses and programmatic principles from the political realm and relate its findings to political questions.

Socioeconomic reporting needs normative valuation standards for a complex system of economic and social targets. As evaluation standards need to be scientifically useful and accepted, it belongs to the tasks of the research association to critically discuss the European Union’s objectives for the ‘modernisation and improvement of the European social model’ and existing strategies of sustainability. The regulating idea hereby is social participation/social inclusion in its different forms: through work, through social relations, through political and social rights as well as through education and culture. The reporting should answer the question whether society in transformation is ‘taking everyone along’ or whether groups fall by the wayside.