Francesco Laruffa


Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Aktuelles Projekt:

(Working) Title: “More and Better Jobs”? A capability perspective of the German case.

Maybe the biggest challenge for Europe is the development of its social dimension. One of the key elements in this process is the achievement of the Lisbon Strategy objective “more and better jobs”. This research will test if this objective has been achieved in Germany, with a special attention to the quality of employment. There are three reasons for choosing Germany as a case to study employment quality. In Germany employment growth occurs together with widening inequalities and increasing in-work poverty so that it is fair to question the quality of the jobs created. Furthermore, Germany is the best example of both a “coordinated market economy” and a “conservative welfare state” which makes it an interesting case to study from a theoretical viewpoint. Finally, Germany has become a model to follow for the whole Europe so that it is important to understand how successful Germany actually is.

Indeed, the recent employment growth in Germany has been led by an expansion of atypical work. This is not negative per se because employment growth reduces unemployment and inactivity which have negative consequences on individuals’ wellbeing and  social inclusion. Furthermore, atypical jobs may be “good jobs” because e.g. part-time jobs have advantages such as more free time and the possibility to balance work and private life. However, it seems that in Germany atypical jobs are often “bad jobs”. This is the result of a political choice and not the inevitable consequence of structural changes as the literature on dualization shows.

This research aims at assessing the consequences of dualization for the outsiders’ inclusion in society contributing at the political debate over dualism in Europe.

In particular, the project addresses three main research questions: 1) What is the quality of the last employment growth in Germany? ; 2) From a social inclusion perspective, is having a “bad job” better than having no job at all? ; 3) Under which institutional conditions could atypical work lead to more social inclusion? In order to answer these questions the capability approach will be used to define a good job and to assess the deprivation of people having bad jobs. Furthermore, the literature on flexicurity will be reviewed taking a capability perspective in order to understand if the capability approach can help to think alternatively to welfare state and labour market reforms. Instead of reducing activation policies to welfare-to-work and to “work-first” policies, the capability approach stresses the need of a “life-first” strategy. From this viewpoint, the objective of a social inclusion policy cannot be the (re)integration of the labour market at any cost, at least if the quality of employment is not considered.



Since October 2013

PhD student at the Berlin Graduate School of Social Sciences, Berlin, Germany

Internship at the Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB), Berlin, Germany.


Double Master Degree in Economics of Institutions, University of Turin (Turin, Italy) and Université Paris XII (Paris, France), 110/110 cum laude


Advanced Master in Public Policy and Social Change at the Collegio Carlo Alberto, Moncalieri, Italy.


Studienkolleg zu Berlin, Fellowship of Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes and of Gemeinnützige Hertie Stiftung, Berlin, Germany;


Master 2, Université Paris XII, Paris, France.


Bachelor in Economics at the University of Turin, Turin, Italy, 107/110.


Erasmus at the Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen.

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