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New Dynamics for Europe: Reaping the Benefits of Socio-ecological Transition

The European Union has demonstrated a tremendous success story of unification and implementation of a joint currency for 330 million people. Nevertheless, in the last years, the European project has shown the need for a consistent, longer-term strategy, a vision that again sparks enthusiasm and support for this project.

For the last four years WWWforEurope has worked on such a strategic approach in close communication with policy makers, the research community and stakeholders – the results of this research work and the policy conclusions are to be presented and discussed at a panel discussion with high-ranking experts on Tuesday, March 8th, 2016, at the House of the European Union in Vienna.

undefinedDownload the press release 2015-03-07 in German


Leading researchers urge Europe to change towards an optimistic, ambitious strategy based on its own strengths

Researchers from 34 research institutions across Europe are gathering in Brussels to present recommendations to EU policy-makers today and tomorrow. They call on political leaders to end low-cost strategies to compete with emerging economies and advocate for a shift towards “high-road competitiveness”, based on innovation and skills, socio-ecological ambition, excellent institutions and policies that boost employment. Success should be measured by wellbeing, thus substituting GDP as main benchmark of progress. Wellbeing is defined by three strategic goals: economic dynamics, social inclusiveness and environmental sustainability. The goals are measured by beyond-GDP indicators.

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From individual policy lines towards a strategic European Approach

One of the focus points of this year's European Forum Alpbach is the relevance of economic growth. Taking up this discussion, a press conference with the title "Restarting growth in Europe urgently required But differently this time" takes place in the Pressezentrum of Alpbach the 3rd of September, 2015, at 10:30 a.m.

At this press conference the first tentative conclusions of the "Welfare, Wealth and Work for Europe" project funded within in the 7th EU Framework Programme to investigate options for and feasibility of a new socially balanced and ecologically sustainable growth path for Europe are communicated by Karl Aiginger (project coordinator, WIFO) together with Mathilde Mesnard (OECD) and Gunilla Almgren (UEAPME).

The press conference is moderated and summarised by Franz Fischler, who has been actively involved in the project from the beginning as member of the WWWforEurope Policy Board. This project suggests new innovative game-changing measures for economic policy with the intention to restructure the future of the European economy.

undefinedDownload the press release 2015-09-03 in English


Welfare, Wealth and Work for Europe: a new socioecological growth path for Europe

At a Feedback Conference in Vienna on the 5th and 6th of May 2015, WWWforEurope project partners informed important national and European stakeholders as well as representatives from the European Commission and academia of the progress made and discussed with them preliminary results of the project. The project is currently in its final stage and so far comprises over a hundred scientific contributions. Based on this extensive research, it is possible to arrive at some preliminary policy conclusions.

Furthermore, the WWWforEurope Best Paper Award was conferred on Marlene Karl, the Best Paper Award for Young Researchers was received by Stefanie Gerold and Matthias Nocker.

Speakers at the press conference were OECD Chief Economist and Head of the Economics Department Catherine L. Mann, WWWforEurope coordinator and director of WIFO Karl Aiginger as well as WWWforEurope and WIFO researcher Thomas Leoni.

undefinedDownload the press release 2015-05-06 in English

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WWWforEurope: The high road to a better future

Press release in English and German.

"There is a genuine European model for economy and society and we have to develop it further", European Commissioner Marianne Thyssen emphasised in her keynote at today's stakeholder conference "Social and Environmental Progress: Europe in a Long-Run Perspective" in Brussels. At this conference researchers from the European wide FP7 project WWWforEurope presented the results of their work to representatives from European and international institutions, social partners, academia and NGOs.

Karl Aiginger, director of the Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO) and co-ordinator of this ground-breaking project, put the results in a nutshell, "The only chance for Europe in the globalised world is to go for a high-road strategy, based on quality, innovation and skills."

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EU Commissioner László Andor Holds Lecture at the Vienna University for Economics and Business: “A Basic European Unemployment Insurance”

Press release in English and German.

European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor, will be visiting the Campus of the Vienna University for Economics and Business for a lecture on September 29th, 2014. Following an invitation by the University Department for Economics and the Austrian Institute of Economic Research, László Andor will speak about his concept of a European unemployment insurance.

undefinedDownload press release 2014-09-26 in English

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Karl Aiginger: Economic policy needs to become more international and strategic

Press release in German.

On the occasion of the annual meeting of Europe’s leading economic research institutes, Karl Aiginger, director of the Austrian Institute of Economic Research outlined a stronger international and strategic orientation of economic policy, to overcome the challenges of the next decades.

Different elements of economic policy have to be combined and harmonised with each other more and more to make use of synergies and lower costs. Industrial policy is increasingly turning into education and innovation policy and should therefore incorporate societal goals and be oriented towards long-term goals. Moreover, Aiginger notes, the percentage of problems which can only be solved globally has grown, and economic interventions in each region will impact other countries.

undefinedDownload press release 2014-06-19 in German


Europe has the chance to create an exemplary economic model

Press release in English and German.

On the occasion of the INET conference in Toronto, organised by the Institute of New Economic Thinking, to which economists from across the globe had been invited to present thoughts on the future of economic and social development, Karl Aiginger, director of the Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO), has outlined elements of a vision for the future development of the European economic and social model.

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Brain drain to the USA: Attractivity of academic careers compared by countries - Austria in European mid-range

Press release in German.

Young, talented scientists are, as many studies show, highly mobile and often work at foreign research institutions. This high mobility, however, often has only one direction: towards the prestigious universities of the USA. This brain drain is disadvantageous for European research activities, proven by the results of different university rankings. Because research-based innovations are gaining in importance, innovation power of companies and the ability of the European economy to contribute to a solution to climate change and resource shortage will suffer in the medium-term. WWWforEurope Working Paper No. 36, "Career choices in academia", by Jürgen Janger and Klaus Nowotny demonstrates the reasons for this one-sided mobilty.

undefinedDownload press release 2013-11-06 in German


Nobel laureate Kenneth J. Arrow visits WIFO

Press release in English and German.

On October 22nd, 2013, Nobel laureate Kenneth J. Arrow will hold a lecture in Vienna by invitation of the Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO). The economist Kenneth J. Arrow has always delved more broadly and deeply into fundamental problems of society than most of his colleagues. Along with questions of efficiency, social and ecological issues continue to be special concerns for him. In his Viennese lecture on the topic of "Knowledge, Belief and the Economic System", Arrows will highlight the consequences of economic insecurity on economic policy.

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Competitiveness is Not (Only) a Matter of Wage Levels

Press release in English and German.

The concept of competitiveness is often interpreted narrowly in the sense of low wage costs, while social and environmental expenditures tend to be regarded as a burden. Yet, if appropriately designed and implemented, ambitious social and ecological standards may actually raise an economy's productive and innovative capacity. The WWWforEurope research paper "Competitiveness under New Perspectives" by Karl Aiginger, Susanne Bärenthaler-Sieber and Johanna Vogel therefore defines competitiveness as the capability of an economy to generate income, employment, social cohesion and environmental excellence.

undefinedDownload press release 2013-09-17 in English

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International jury presents WWWforEurope Best Paper Award to Frank W. Geels

Press release in English and German.

The WWWforEurope Best Paper Award for research papers on the theoretical and empirical foundations for dynamic, socially inclusive and ecologically sustainable growth in Europe has been awarded to Frank W. Geels, University of Manchester. Frank W. Geels has received the prize for his research on the effects of the financial crisis on the sustainability of growth in Europe, titled "The Impact of the Financial-economic Crisis on Sustainability Transitions: Financial Investment, Governance and Public Discourse".

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undefinedDownload Frank W. Geels' research paper


European economic policy needs a triple change of strategy

A recommendation for changes to the EU's strategy on economic policy - press release in German

One week before the EU summit on June 27th and 28th in Paris, directors of leading economic research institutes in the USA, EU, Asia, and Australia discussed the consequences of the crisis and the slow recovery for economic policy. Karl Aiginger, director of the Austrian Institute for Economic Research (WIFO) and coordinator of the WWWforEurope project, calls for a triple strategy change of European policy, political strategies in high income countries and in Southern Europe.


undefinedDownload press release 2013-06-24



What consolidation policies in Europe need and lack: strategy, industrial rebuild, innovation, union-support

A European policy brief on development options for peripheral countries - press release in English and German

The consolidation strategies implemented in Greece, Spain and Portugal seem to have failed. Four years after the financial crisis, these countries run budget deficits that average six per cent of GDP. Public debt has risen from 75 to 118 per cent. Growth rates have turned negative and unemployment rates – in particular among the young - are soaring. This calls for an urgent strategy shift.

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undefinedDownload policy brief no. 2



Crisis resolution anchored in a long term vision: restoring stability and reshaping growth in Europe

A European policy brief on governance reforms to solve the crisis and beyond - press release in English and German

A temporary, but extensive debt redemption fund; the possibility for the European Stability Mechanism to recapitalise banks; higher and binding priority for growth and employment in the use of EUfunds and national budgets; a regime of automatic transfers such as a Eurozone-wide unemployment insurance; a European “Social Pact” to compensate for the restrictive bias of current governance: These are some of the policy recommendations developed in a policy brief co-written by the London-based think tank Policy Network and the Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO).

undefinedDownload press release 2012-11-09
undefinedDownload policy brief no. 1



Welfare, Wealth and Work – Towards a New Growth Path for Europe

A European research consortium is working on the analytical foundations for a socio-ecological transition - press release in English

Europe needs a new strategy beyond fiscal austerity, high unemployment and strained biophysical limits. A European consortium is laying the analytical foundations for such a strategy with a research project entitled WWWforEurope – Welfare, Wealth and Work for Europe.

undefinedDownload press release 2012-06-29