In pursuit of resilience - three policy briefs for rethinking taxation, labour and social policy after the pandemic

Bonn, 10.12.2020. Hereby presenting three publications, ZOE-Institute starts its new series of "Transformation Policy Briefs". Tailored for politicians and decisionmakers they bring together ambitious and transformative ideas for future-fit social and economic policies. The policy briefs provide a starting point for discussion on how politics can contribute simultaneously to more economic, social and ecological resilience in Europe and its member states.

COVID-19 still has Europe firmly in its grip and it is already evident that economic policy will be different after the crisis. Europe will have to struggle with higher national debts, higher unemployment and increasing corporate concentration. At the same time, the European Green Deal calls for a fundamental rethinking of economic policy. Systemic changes are needed to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss while ensuring that Europe grows closer together socially.

In Transformation Policy Brief #1 “Freedays for future“, Anders Heyden summarises how a reduction of working time, in the form of a better division of labour, can help to combat the adverse effects of economic crises on unemployment. The WTR has the potential to deliver a “triple dividend”, namely a reduction in unemployment, less environmental degradation and a better quality of life. This policy brief summarises existing research and examines the environmental case for a reduction of working time. It also portrays key challenges and discussion points. Moreover, the idea was taken up in the recently published policy database “Sustainable Prosperity – made in Europe“.

In addition, Katharina Bohnenberger and Martin Fritz show in the Transformation Policy Brief #2 “Making Social Welfare Resilient” how politics can make entire social security systems more resilient in the face of declining growth rates and ecological crises. Referring to research on “sustainable welfare”, they identify four main strategies to reduce the dependence of welfare systems on economic growth and to increase their resilience in an environmentally sustainable way.

An increase in unemployment and declining growth rates are a problem for the long-term financing of national budgets. Dirk Löhr and Oliver Richters therefore provide an overview of the concept of “land value taxation“, the advantages of which consist not only of additional public revenues. Depending on its design, it can also pay a social dividend, through its potential to relax housing markets, lower land prices and create tighter patterns of settlement. Referring to the UK, the proposal was recently elaborated in-depth within the ZOE report “Building a resilient economy“.

These publications should not be regarded as ready-made solutions. Rather, they form a source of inspiration which encourages people to think off the beaten track. We invite you to join us in this debate. Please write to us or register here for our newsletter.

Click to find further information and links to download the documents:

Transformation Policy Brief #1
> Freedays for future

Transformation Policy Brief #2
> Making Social Welfare Resilient

Transformation Policy Brief #3
> Land value taxation