To provide a wider evidence base that can enhance EU policy aiming to achieve this goal, the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) has embarked on a multi-year cross-national research project to study different aspects of fairness.
The research topics addressed include: the distribution of income across and within EU Member States as well as the fairness related impact of tax and social benefits systems; the dynamics of social mobility across and within generations; the drivers of inequalities and fairness perceptions; and the determinants of civic and social behaviours.
The project on Fairness is part of the activities of the Competence Centre on Composite Indicators and Scoreboards.
This online Roundtable discuss the findings of the work on loneliness so far, collect emerging effective actions, and contribute to the discussion at EU level.
This Community of Fairness webinar brings together researchers and policymakers to explore the wide-ranging economic and social consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic for working women globally.
This JRC Community of Practice on Fairness event contributed to this discussion and fostered an informed dialogue and knowledge sharing on interventions to reduce loneliness among youth.
Latest policy briefs on Fairness
Each policy brief has been reviewed by the editorial board, a proofreader and at least two reviewers.
- Editorial board: Francesco Berlingieri, Zsuzsa Blaskó, Sylke Schnepf.
- Proofreaders: Sarah Moore and Steve Whitehouse.
- There is a controversial debate on the employment impact of reductions in working time. This debate dates back to the early days of the trade union movement.
- Although standard economic models suggest that a reduction of working time at full salary should reduce overall employment, some support the idea that work can be redistributed and hence that a shorter work week could lead to higher employment.
- An empirical analysis of the reforms of usual working hours that took place in EU Member States since the late 1990 shows that the fall in hours worked did not result in any changes in employment (i.e. there was neither an increase nor a decrease in employment).
- Young people’s levels of loneliness are increasing and this has important short- and long-term consequences for their current and future well-being and career prospects.
- Across 23 European countries, 13% of adolescents feel lonely in school. This varies from 7% to 26% between countries.
- The school environment can account for 22% of the total variation in loneliness in 15-year-olds, indicating that schools have an important role to play in mitigating students’ loneliness.
- Loneliness levels are higher in schools that do not have a cooperative environment. Children in urban schools and schools where there is a higher proportion of students who do not have basic reading skills are also lonelier.
- The most significant factor for predicting loneliness is adolescents’ experiences in school. Being bullied significantly increases students’ risk of feeling lonely. Unsupportive teachers and repeating school years are also associated with higher levels of loneliness.
- At a family level, parental support can significantly help combat adolescents’ loneliness. First generation immigrants and girls have a higher risk of being lonely in school.
- Older adults are particularly vulnerable to loneliness because they are more likely to experience life transitions and disruptive life events that exposes them to a higher risk of feeling lonely.
- Loneliness in later life becomes particular relevant in our ageing society and deserves the attention of policy makers. It not only affects individual well-being but it might trigger adverse consequences at societal level, including reduction in social cohesion and community trust and ultimately economic growth.
- The incidence of loneliness among Europeans aged 50+ is relatively higher in Southern and Eastern Europe (between 31 and 46%), than in Western and Northern European countries (between 10 and 30%). A similar pattern emerges when considering the incidence of severe loneliness across EU Member States.
- Social distancing and shutdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic have exacerbated feelings of loneliness among people, including older adults. The percentage of older Europeans who reports feeling more lonely after the outbreak of COVID-19 than before ranges from 20 to 60%, depending on the country.
- Among the main risk factors for loneliness, a person's living arrangements and financial wealth play a prominent role. Moreover, in later stages of life, loneliness represents a major risk factor for physical and mental illness. However, there are important variations across countries that remain hidden when performing an analysis at EU level.
- Although many loneliness interventions targeted at older individuals already exist, a more collaborative effort is needed to identify best practices and develop better targeted interventions that also account for cross-country differences across EU.
The first four years of Fairness project activities
The Community aims to foster an informed dialogue and knowledge sharing on the multidimensional aspects of fairness thereby bridging the gap between academics and policy makers. The Fairness CoP regularly organises events on fairness relevant topics.
The poll shows most Europeans think life is generally fair, but have concerns over justice, political decisions and income inequality. This survey was conducted through face-to-face interviews between 2 and 11 December 2017. A total of 28,031 people were interviewed in 28 EU countries.
To disseminate the findings of the multi-year research project, the JRC publishes a series of science for policy briefs and working papers on various aspects of fairness.