Future Lab Schleswig-Holstein – Scientific coordination

Period: December 2018 – December 2020

Funding: Federal State of Schleswig-Holstein
Project manager: Prof. Dr Michael Opielka
Project staff: Sophie Peter, M.Sc.; Kathrin Ehmann, M.Sc., M.Res.; TBA

Subcontractors: Dr Bruno Kaltenborn (Wipol, Potsdam); Dr Stefan Bach and Prof. Dr Peter Haan (German Institute for Economic Research – DIW, Berlin); Prof. Dr Alexander Spermann (Bonn)
Publications: in preparation

In cooperation with renowned research partners, the ISÖ adopted the scientific coordination of the “Future Lab Schleswig-Holstein”. The project is geared towards developing a vision for the future and sustainability of the German social security system by means of a scientifically guided public discourse. In pursuit of this goal, the role of a basic income, in particular, is to be examined.

To start with, first the federal state government’s requirements and ideas, as expressed in their tender, shall be named: The increasing digitalisation will change the environment of work. While forecasts on the effects of digitalisation vary, it is safe to assume that greater flexibility during the performance of work, increasingly fast-changing requirements for qualifications, and a potentially degressive demand for human labour will require a re-thinking of core areas of the social security systems and the labour market. The question arises how sufficient social protection for the people in Germany can be ensured in the future. Another challenge for social security systems is demographic change. The fertility rate is in decline, the population is getting older. This means that an increasing number of pensioners faces a decreasing number of employed people, who contribute to the social security systems. Some sectors suffer a shortage of skilled workers.

In the coalition agreement of the 19th legislative period of the state parliament of Schleswig-Holstein, the ruling parties agreed to establish a “Zukunftslabor” [Future lab] together with the stakeholders from labour market policy and from science. Within the framework of this project, the feasibility of new social security models, as e.g. a citizens’ income, a basic income, or the further development of the existing social security systems, should be discussed and assessed. The results are intended to stimulate or supplement the federal political debate. Meanwhile, an interministerial working group (IMAG) has been established. It is composed of the Head of the Chancellery Office, the Secretaries of State at the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Education, Science and Cultural Affairs, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Transport, Employment, Technology and Tourism, as well as the Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Youth, Family and Senior Citizens, who is taking the lead. Moreover, an advisory council has been established. It is composed of representatives of employers and employee associations, the state working group of charities, the health insurance and pension scheme providers, the Federal Employment Agency, the municipal state associations of Schleswig-Holstein, and the political parties represented in Schleswig-Holstein. Supported by scientific expertise, the advisory council’s role is to openly discuss the altered conditions of a society under digitalisation and demographic change, along with the resulting challenges for the social security systems. Regarding these issues, the advisory council takes a consultative and supportive role and gives recommendations based on mutual agreement.

The contract entails

  1. the analysis of the status of existing social security systems against the background of demographic change and ongoing digitalisation, as well as a prognosis for the effects on the social security systems,
  2. the presentation of various alternative models and of the possibilities for further development of the existing social security systems,
  3. the processing and evaluation of experiences on a federal and EU-level.

The realisation of this contract will be carried out by means of written reports, comments, presentations and the participation in discussions, partly due to individual requirements set by the IMAG and the advisory council. The requirements and their realisation will have to be coordinated. Events are to be moderated, prepared and followed up. The entire project is to be documented.