Migrant Workers or Working Women? Comparing Labour Supply Policies in Post-War Europe

Forthcoming in Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis (access article)


Why did some European countries choose migrant labour to expand their labour force in the decades that followed World War II, while others opted for measures to expand female employment via welfare expansion? The paper argues that gender norms and left power resources were important structuring factors in these choices. Female employment required a substantial expansion of state intervention (e.g childcare; paid maternity leave). Meanwhile, migrant recruitment required minimal public investments, at least in the short term, and preserved traditional gender roles. Using the contrasting cases of Sweden and Switzerland, I argue that the combination of a weak left (labour unions and social-democratic parties) and conservative gender norms fostered the massive expansion of foreign labour and a late development of female labour force participation in Switzerland. In contrast, more progressive gender norms and a strong labour movement put an early end to guest worker programs in Sweden, and paved the way for policies to promote female labour force participation.

Keywords: labour migration; female employment; Sweden; Switzerland; comparative public policy

I am hiring two PhD researchers

The Institute of Public Administration of the Faculty Governance and Global Affairs – Leiden University invites applications for

PhD positions with a particular focus on the relationship between social protection and immigration control (Vidi-Project “The Borders of Equality”) (2 positions of 1.0 FTE)
Vacancy number 18-332

Project description
The PhD candidates will work in the project “Borders of Equality: welfare states and immigration policies in comparative and historical perspective”. This project is funded by a large-scale research grant (Vidi) from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research awarded to Dr Alexandre Afonso (Principal Investigator). The project analyses the relationship between the evolution of welfare states and labour migration policies in Western Europe between 1870 and now.

The project addresses the following questions: do countries with larger welfare states also enforce stricter immigration policies? When do governments enforce stricter migration policies but provide equal access to welfare for migrants (closure with equality), and when do they enforce liberal immigration policies but restrict their rights to welfare (openness with segmentation)? The project adopts a comparative and historical approach, using both qualitative and quantitative research methods. It draws on longitudinal case studies going back to the late 19th century and the origins of both welfare states and migration control. It combines this with a quantitative analysis of policies across OECD countries, and focusses on different policy levels (countries and welfare programmes). More information on the project can be found at

Each PhD student will seek to answer one of two distinct research questions
1) Do different types of welfare states generate different incentives for governments to restrict immigration? (PhD candidate 1).
2) Why are some welfare programmes (pensions, social assistance, unemployment, health) more closed or more open to immigrants? (PhD candidate 2).
This project will be based in the Institute of Public Administration in the center of The Hague (Wijnhaven).

Key responsibilities

  • Conduct original research and complete a PhD-thesis in the thematic framework of the wider project;
  • Contribute to data collection and analysis for the wider project team, in particular: analyse archives and other written sources; build datasets, and conduct interviews in 4 countries (United Kingdom; Germany; France; Sweden);
  • Participate in national and international academic research networks;
  • Present research results at national and international conferences;
  • Publish in international academic journals, both individually and together with the colleagues from the Vidi-project team;
  • Actively disseminate research findings to key stakeholders and the public via seminars, blogs, vulgarization articles and social media;
  • Perform a limited set of teaching and supervision tasks within the Institute of Public Administration.

Selection criteria

  • Candidates must hold a Master or equivalent degree in public administration, political science, economics, sociology, history or another relevant field in the social sciences (candidates who will complete their degree before October 2018 will also be considered);
  • We particularly encourage applications from candidates with a substantive interest (and research experience) in comparative political economy, public policy, immigration and the welfare state;
  • Excellent qualitative and/or quantitative methodological skills;
  • An excellent command of spoken and written English (command of the Dutch language is not a prerequisite for applying); fluency in French, German and/or Swedish is a plus;
  • Capacity and willingness to collaborate in a motivated research team.

Our Faculty/Institute
The Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs offers academic education in the field of Public Administration, Safety and Security, and International Relations, as well as in-depth post-academic programmes for professionals. In addition, the Faculty is also home to the Leiden University College. For more information, see

The Institute of Public Administration is one of the largest and oldest institutes of academic research and teaching in the field of public administration and public policy in the Netherlands. The institute combines a solid international academic reputation with a central positioning among the international, national, regional and local governance institutions of The Hague. The Institute of Public Administration has consistently received high ratings in peer reviews of both its teaching and research programs. The Institute offers a Dutch-language Bachelor program with two tracks, a Dutch-language Master Program in Public Sector Management, and English-language Master programs in ‘Public Administration’. The Institute of Public Administration is located in the center of The Hague. Information about the Institute can be found at Information about Dr Alexandre Afonso and the Borders of Equality project is available at

Terms and conditions
These are 4-year fixed-term positions. We offer a fixed-term post for a period of one year with an extension of 3 years after positive evaluation of capabilities and compatibility. Ultimately the appointment must lead to the completion of a PhD thesis. The gross salary ranges from €2,266 per month in the first year up to €2,897 in year 4 (Pay Scale P in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities).

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3 %), training and career development and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. For international spouses we have set up a dual career programme. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. More at

All our PhD candidates are embedded in the graduate school of the Netherlands Institute of Government ( The graduate school offers a combination of courses and tutorials, which aim at increasing disciplinary knowledge and methodology. The project in which the positions are embedded can also fund further methodological training.

Leiden University is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups.

The PhD theses will be supervised by Dr Alexandre Afonso in collaboration with Professor Olaf van Vliet. If you have any enquiries about the position or the application procedure, please contact Dr. Alexandre Afonso at email

Applications should include

  • A motivation letter indicating a preference for one of the two research questions.
  • A CV;
  • A grade report;
  • 2 writing samples in English (MA thesis, term paper or publication);
  • The names and email addresses of two referees (who may be contacted during the selection process).

Applications must be received no later than 15 September 2018 and can be sent by email to our Personnel Department at with vacancy number in the subject.




Which leagues are the main suppliers of players at the World Cup?



The graph above represents a network of countries qualified for the World Cup 2018 and football leagues where players play. To draw it, I have used the official list of the 738 players qualified, and used it to draw a two-mode network where the countries they play for are the source, and the leagues where they play are the targets. Nodes are sized by the total number of players playing in each league, and each arrow indicates the number of players from each country playing in each league (you can click to get a bigger version). Not that many surprises here: The English premier League is the largest supplier with 124 players (almost 17 percent of all players!), followed by the Spanish Liga (81), the Bundesliga (67) and the Serie A (58, in spite of the fact that Italy is not qualified).


The party systems of 12 European countries in 2018, in one chart.


Data from the Chapel Hill Expert Survey 2018 has just been released. I have made the graph above using the data and using the usual two axes: left-right on the economy, and liberal/authoritarian.

Welfare States and the Birth of Immigration Control

How has the emergence and transformation of welfare states influenced immigration policies? Assuming that there is a trade-off between social rights and openness, has the expansion of welfare states over time led to a greater need for governments to control access via immigration control or restrictions on migrant rights? The transition from minimal state and open borders in the period 1870-1914 to the take-off in social spending and restrictive immigration policy in the period that followed points in this direction. However, can the causal link between these two policy domains be proven empirically? In this talk given at the LIMS seminar at Leiden University on March 14, 2018, I present some data and hypotheses on this connection.

Flipping the Classroom in Political Science Research Methods

Today we have the first post in a series on building a flipped course by Natascha van der Zwan and Alexandre Afonso. Both are assistant professors at the Institute of Public Administration at Leiden University, the Netherlands. 709 more words

via Flipping the Research Methods Classroom, Part 1 — Active Learning in Political Science ©

Share of people who think that jobs should be reserved for men when jobs are scarce.



From the European Social Survey 2010. Hungary, the only country where a majority of people think that jobs should be reserved for men.