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Junior research group “Time policy II – how can social policy help to manage critical phases over the life course?”

Current Project

Project Management

Kai-Uwe Müller

Project Period

November 1, 2020 - October 31, 2022

Funded by

Bundesministerium für Arbeit und Soziales (BMAS), gefördert im Rahmen des Interdisziplinären Fördernetzwerks Sozialpolitikforschung (FIS)

The research group is concerned with time policy as one element of social policy. Time policy allows individuals and households to cope with time conflicts during critical phases in their employment biographies. Time policy includes measures and benefits that enable employees to use their time resources according to their preferences, irrespective of their income. We identify critical phases in work biographies and analyze individuals’ and households’ decisions and other factors that influence time arrangements. Preferences are distinguished from restrictions and other factors beyond the scope of social policy. A particular focus is put on welfare state policies that fulfill time policy functions. We analyze existing policies as well as various reform options.

The research group follows a multi-disciplinary approach. This is mirrored by two PhD students, one with a background in economics and one with a background in sociology. The common element is a quantitative empirical approach based on various representative micro data sets. In addition, qualitative methods may be used where quantitative data is not available. Theoretical and methodical strengths of both disciplines are combined: based on micro-econometric methods we analyze causal effects of different time policies on time-use decisions. First, we exploit quasi-experimental variation with modern evaluation methods to identify causal effects of existing policies. Second, we analyze the empirical relationships and mechanisms of interest on the basis of structural behavioral models.

Empirical research projects on time conflicts and time policies are defined in the following four subject areas:

  1. time conflicts of parents with small children;
  2. working time flexibility over the life course;
  3. gainful employment and care work – private care and care time regulations;
  4. flexible transitions into old-age pension.

DIW Team


Kai-Uwe Müller
Kai-Uwe Müller

Head of the FIS Junior Research Group Time Policy in the Public Economics Department