WZB - Berlin Social Science Center

New Publication

A new book edited by Wolfgang Merkel and Sascha Kneip discusses the potential causes of the current “crisis of democracy.” Does this stem from a lack of participation by citizens, the absence of trust in the political elite, or does the real root of the problem lie with political institutions themselves? Among other topics, the researchers analyze the role of globalization and deregulation and demonstrate why challenges to democracy have morphed into phenomena of crisis.

Call for Nominations

The WZB is delighted to invite nominations for the seventh A.SK Social Science Award, one of the world’s largest prizes in the social sciences. Endowed with $200,000, the A.SK Award is conferred every two years on social science researchers whose work has significantly promoted political and economic reform. Previous recipients include Sir Anthony Atkinson, Martha C. Nussbaum, Transparency International, Paul Collier, Esther Duflo, and John Ruggie.

A small wooden figure stands on a platform in front of a crowd of similiar puppets, apparently making a speech to them.
RapidEye / iStock / Getty Images Plus

What are the international consequences of authoritarian rule? How do developments abroad affect dictatorships domestically? APIR, a new workshop series organized by WZB researchers, gets to grips with these questions.

Children from an immigrant background remain disadvantaged in the German educational system. Many studies ascribe this to the educational background of the parents and the socio-economical position of the family. Benjamin Schulz, researcher at the WZB and Sarah Carol (Cologne University) have now researched what role religiosity and membership in a religious community plays in Germany using data from the National Education Panel (NEPS). The findings point to a complex situation.

Dress shoes standing next to Rich and Poor
pick-uppath/iStock / Getty Images Plus

How to bring back social cohesion, asks WZB President Jutta Allmendinger in the Washington Post. Social interaction between different social circles — whether through discourse, clarification, affirmation, or examination of changing norms and values — is crucial for any democratic society to function. But people need also the security of the familiar, emphasizes Allmendinger.

New Study

It’s a well-known fact that becoming unemployed takes a toll on individuals’ health. There is also little doubt about the fact that families can cushion the blow of losing a job. This study is the first to investigate the concrete impact of this family support – be it emotional or financial – and the role played by the external welfare state.

WZB in the media

Wirtschaftswoche.de, 15 October
Der Tagesspiegel, 14 October
Süddeutsche Zeitung, 13 October

Media coverage


The WZB Berlin Social Science Center investigates fundamental societal issues. Our focus is on education and work, migration, democracy and autocracy, international politics and law. At the WZB researchers from various disciplines work together – mainly from sociology, political science, economics, law and psychology.