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The Amsterdam Institute for Advanced labour Studies–Hugo Sinzheimer institute (AIAS-HSI) is partner of the European research project BAWEU: Business and Welfare. Preferences and collective action in Europe. BAWEU is a project funded by the European Commission which aims to explore employers’ welfare preferences and their political actions, including interactions with trade unions and governments.


Although necessary in order for business to be effective in fostering its policy agenda, collective action among companies cannot be taken for granted and, at the same time, there is not much academic writing on the manner in which this cooperation occurs.Compared to the 1990s, the landscape of European business structure (and interests) is increasingly diversified around Europe and needs, preferences and profiles of companies are quite different. Deindustrialization and technological change reduce firms’ need for specific skilled workers, whilst the labour market is increasingly polarized/dualized between workers in highly productive (often export-oriented) and low productivity (often offering services for the internal market) industries. This increasingly complicated and heterogeneous economic environment makes it harder for companies to act collectively. Moreover, employer associations are hit worse by these economic changes than other actors, as companies are much more empowered to respond to these variations independently instead as through associational action.


BAWEU is a project funded by the European Commission, with two major research goals:

  1. To better understand business’ positions toward social policies and how they are changing in a post-industrial and global economy.
  2. To better understand how the role of employers’ associations is evolving in expressing and representing employers’ preferences.

The countries studied in the project are: Italy, the Slovak Republic, Germany, Denmark, Netherlands. They belong to different categories of labour market coordination, industrial relations and welfare states.

A mix-method approach will be employed in the project, composed by (i) a country-level survey on a sample of medium-large enterprises (with at least 250 workers) in the five countries in order to learn about the business’ preferences toward social policies; (ii) qualitative interviews to business associations and corporations both at national and EU institutional level; (iii) an analysis of the main documents produced by the main business associations, at the national level and at the EU institutional level. 

Project’s website

BAWEU’s central website, including documents and project’s deliverables: Baweu (



Dr. F.H. (Frank) Tros

Coordination and research

Acronym BAWEU
Title Business and Welfare. Preferences and collective action in Europe
Duration Sept 2020 - Sept 2022
Co-financing European Commission, DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion
Contractnr. VS/2020/0141
Partners University of Milano, Department of Social and Political Sciences, Italy
  University of Amsterdam, AIAS-HSI, The Netherlands
  University of Copenhagen, FAOS, Denmark
  Sant' Anna School of Advanced Studies, Institute of Law, Politics and Development, Italy
  Central European Labour Institute (CELSI), Slovakia 

This project is financed by the European Commission, Industrial Relations and Social Dialogue Programme.

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