Professor Bernhard Ebbinghaus

Dr Bernhard Ebbinghaus is Professor of Social Policy at the Department of Social Policy and Intervention and Senior Research Fellow, Green Templeton College at University of Oxford. In addition, he is currently Associate Member of Nuffield College, University of Oxford, as well as visting Mercator Fellow at the Collaborative Research Centre (SFB 884) Political Economy of Reform and MZES External Fellow, University of Mannheim. Since October 2017 Professor Ebbinghaus has been Head of Department of Social Policy and Intervention.

Previously, he was Professor of Sociology at the University of Mannheim, Germany (2004-2016). At Mannheim, he served as Director of the Mannheim Centre for European Social Research (MZES), Co-director of the Graduate School of Economic and Social Sciences (GESS) and Board Member of the Collaborative Research Centre (SFB 884) “Political Economy of Reform”. Professor Ebbinghaus co-directs the SFB-project on “Welfare State Reforms from Below: Linking Individual Attitudes and Organized Interests in Europe”, and the DFG Project on “Crisis Corporatism or Corporatism in Crisis” at MZES. 

Professor Ebbinghaus holds a PhD in social and political sciences (1993) from the European University Institute, Florence, Italy and was awarded a Habilitation in sociology (2003) from the University of Cologne, Germany. He was Lecturer (1992-1996) at University of Mannheim and Senior Researcher (1997-2003) at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne. He has been a visiting scholar at Harvard University and Hertie School of Governance Berlin; and guest professor at University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Jena, and University of Luxembourg.


You can contact Professor Ebbinghaus' PA, Miss Jade Schneiders, on 01865 280321 (Tuesday-Thursday) or by email.

Professor Ebbinghaus’s research focuses on advanced welfare states in Europe and overseas facing reform pressures due to ongoing globalization, demographic ageing and socio-economic changes. Current projects analyse cross-national differences in welfare state regimes; their capacities to reform social policies and institutional changes; the effects of social policies on individuals, households and society; and changing attitudes of citizens towards social policies and the reform positions of organized interests. For more information see

Professor Ebbinghaus is particularly interested in supervising Master and DPhil students who intend to study any of the following research themes:

  • comparison of welfare state regimes in Europe and beyond
  • reform processes of and institutional change in welfare states
  • survey analysis of public attitudes on welfare state reform issues
  • the role of organized interests (such as unions, employers) in social policy reforms
  • employment systems and labour market policies, e.g. un/non-employment
  • minimum income and social inclusion policies to fight poverty
  • transitions from work to retirement, retirement age policies, and active ageing
  • institutional changes of the public-private pension mix and its governance
  • the impact of employment flexibilization and non-employment over the life-course
  • the impact of home ownership and housing policies

For more information see

  • Bernhard Ebbinghaus & Elias Naumann (eds.) (2018) Welfare State Reforms Seen from Below: Comparing Public Attitudes and Organized Interests in Britain and Germany. London: Palgrave Macmillan (hardcover); Springer Online (e-book).
  • Christopher Buss, Bernhard Ebbinghaus & Elias Naumann (2017) “Making Deservingness of the Unemployed Conditional: Changes in Public Support for the Conditionality of Unemployment Benefits” Chapter 9, in: W. van Oorschot, F. Roosma, B. Meuleman & T. Reeskens, eds. The Social Legitimacy of Targeted Welfare: Attitudes to Welfare Deservingness. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, 167-185.
  • Bernhard Ebbinghaus (2017) “The Role of Trade Unions in Pension Policy-making and Private Pension Governance in Europe.” Chapter 8, in: D. Natali, eds. The New Pension Mix in Europe. Brussels: Peter Lang.
  • Ebbinghaus, Bernhard (2016) "Institutional Change in Advanced Democracies", S. Maisel et al ed.,Oxford Bibliographies in Political Science. New York: Oxford University Press
  • Ebbinghaus, Bernhard & Jonas Radl (2015) "Pushed out prematurely? Comparing objectively forced exits and subjective assessments of involuntary retirement across Europe", Research in Social Stratification and Mobility September: 41 115-130. URL:
  • Ebbinghaus, Bernhard (2015) "The Privatization and Marketization of Pensions in Europe: A Double Transformation Facing the Crisis", European Policy Analysis 1: 1 56-73. URL:
  • Ebbinghaus, Bernhard & Dirk Hofäcker (2013) "Reversing Early Retirement in Advanced Welfare Economies: A Paradigm Shift to Overcome Push and Pull Factors", Comparative Population Studies (CPoS) 38: 4 807-840
  • Ebbinghaus, Bernhard & Noel Whiteside (2012) "Shifting responsibilities in Western European pension systems: What future for social models?", Global Social Policy 12: 3 266-282
  • Ebbinghaus, Bernhard (2012) "Europe’s Transformations Towards a Renewed Pension System", G. Bonoli and D. Natali ed.,The Politics of the New Welfare State. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 182-205
  • Ebbinghaus, Bernhard ed., (2011) The Varieties of Pension Governance: Pension Privatization in Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press
  • Ebbinghaus, Bernhard, Claudia Göbel & Sebastian Koos (2011) "Social capital, ‘Ghent’ and workplace contexts matter: Comparing union membership in Europe", European Journal of Industrial Relations 17: 2 
  • Ebbinghaus, Bernhard (2011) "The role of trade unions in European pension reforms: From ‘old’ to ‘new’ politics?", European Journal of Industrial Relations 17: 4 315-331
  • Ebbinghaus, Bernhard & Tobias Wiß (2011) "Taming pension fund capitalism in Europe: collective and state regulation in times of crisis", Transfer: The European Review of Labour and Research 17: 1 15-28
  • Ebbinghaus, Bernhard (2006) Reforming Early Retirement in Europe, Japan and the USA. Oxford: Oxford University Press
  • Ebbinghaus, Bernhard (2005) "When Less is More: Selection Problems in Large-N and Small-N Cross-national Comparisons", International Sociology 20: 2 133-152
  • Ebbinghaus, Bernhard and Bernhard Kittel (2005) "European Rigidity Versus American Flexibility? The Institutional Adaptability of Collective Bargaining", Work and Occupations 32: 2 163-195
  • Ebbinghaus, Bernhard and Philip Manow ed., (2001) Comparing Welfare Capitalism. Social Policy and Political Economy in Europe, Japan and the USA. London, New York: Routledge
  • Ebbinghaus, Bernhard and Jelle Visser (2000) Trade Unions in Western Europe since 1945. London: Macmillan/Palgrave
  • Download full Publication List (PDF)


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