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Matthias Diermeier/ Jan Felix Engler / Holger Schäfer IW-Trends No. 1 23. May 2023 Too Much or Too Little Reform?: Public Discussion of the Revised Unemployment Benefit

Under its new name, Citizens' Benefit (Bürgergeld), Germany’s reformed unemployment benefit was supposed to put basic benefits for job-seekers on a new footing and fulfil the political promise to "overcome" its controversial predecessor known, after its original sponsor’s final proposal, as ‘Hartz IV’.

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Public Discussion of the Revised Unemployment Benefit
Matthias Diermeier/ Jan Felix Engler / Holger Schäfer IW-Trends No. 1 23. May 2023

Too Much or Too Little Reform?: Public Discussion of the Revised Unemployment Benefit

German Economic Institute (IW) German Economic Institute (IW)

Under its new name, Citizens' Benefit (Bürgergeld), Germany’s reformed unemployment benefit was supposed to put basic benefits for job-seekers on a new footing and fulfil the political promise to "overcome" its controversial predecessor known, after its original sponsor’s final proposal, as ‘Hartz IV’.

However, the approach taken to key issues in draft legislation opened up various fault lines in society, in the coalition government and even among party supporters: the level of the standard benefits, the design of sanctions, the value of exempted assets and the appropriacy of housing costs. The eventual political compromise contained little of the originally promised reform. The survey of individuals conducted by the German Economic Institute (IW) throws light on both the disappointment among Green and (centre-left) SPD supporters at the limited scope of the reform and the dissatisfaction of supporters of the liberal FDP with the easing of eligibility conditions. Indeed, on key issues, the latter party was only surpassed by the right-wing AfD supporters in their criticism of the extent of the reform. In the end, only among Green and SPD supporters were there majorities in favour of the changes, and overall public approval of the new benefits remains extremely modest at around one-third. An additional analysis of posts on the social networking service Twitter reveals lively criticism of the Citizens' Benefit online. The most intense discussion concerned the potential negative impact of a higher level of benefit on incentives to work. While FDP politicians were restrained in their remarks, the welfare-chauvinist tweets from the ranks of the AfD found a considerable echo – though the party was unable to spark a wider discussion on the issue of migration.

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Public Discussion of the Revised Unemployment Benefit
Matthias Diermeier/ Jan Felix Engler / Holger Schäfer IW-Trends No. 1 23. May 2023

Too Much or Too Little Reform?: Public Discussion of the Revised Unemployment Benefit

German Economic Institute (IW) German Economic Institute (IW)

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Analysis of the working conditions of office workers
Andrea Hammermann / Oliver Stettes IW-Report No. 62 10. December 2023

Office work in transition: Analysis of the working conditions of office workers

Office work has changed considerably over time and reflects both technical progress and the zeitgeist of the decades.

IW

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Mareike Decker / Carolin Fulda / Maisun Lange IW-Trends No. 4 24. November 2023

Working with Long COVID: Impacts and Options for Work Arrangements

A SARS-CoV-2 infection can have long-term health consequences, a phenomenon commonly known as Long COVID, which often affect individuals of working age.

IW

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