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. Professor Ebbinghaus was Head of the Department of Social Policy and Intervention (DSPI), University of Oxford, from October 2017 until December 2020.

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. Professor Ebbinghaus was OxPo Fellow at CEE Sciences Po Paris in September 2021. Since November 2021 Professor Ebbinghaus is member of the European Commission’s High-Level Group on High-Level Group on the future of social protection and of the welfare state in the EU.

Professor Ebbinghaus is co-PI of the @DSPI_Oxford Supertracker, a directory of Covid-19 policy response trackers:

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” at University of Mannheim. Among many publications, the project led to an edited volume: Bernhard Ebbinghaus & Elias Naumann (eds.) Welfare State Reforms Seen from Below: Comparing Public Attitudes and Organized Interests in Britain and Germany. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018 (hardcover); Springer Online (e-book).

He also led together with Prof. Dr. J. Timo Weishaupt (Uni Göttingen) the DFG Project on “Crisis Corporatism or Corporatism in Crisis” at MZES. Publication: Ebbinghaus, Bernhard and J. Timo Weishaupt (eds.) (2021) The Role of Social Partners in Managing Europe’s Great Recession: Crisis Corporatism or Corporatism in Crisis? Abingdon: Routledge (hardcover)/(e-book).

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.


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

Current projects

Download full Publication List (PDF)


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

Current students