DOI: 10.1177/13882627231214546 ISSN: 1388-2627

Peaks and gaps in eco-social policy and sustainable welfare: A systematic literature map of the research landscape

Katharina Bohnenberger
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
  • Public Administration
  • Sociology and Political Science

The social impacts of the climate crisis and the need for societal transformation to achieve climate goals require integrated research and design of environmental policy and social security. The article analyses the current state of research on eco-social policy and sustainable welfare. Based on a systematic literature review covering more than 1000 publications, the article identifies 20 research topics. Strong research progress has been made on social compensation for climate policies; economic inequality in the climate crisis; energy use patterns in housing, mobility, and nutrition; political conditions for eco-social policy; and varieties in eco-social country regimes. Future research activities should focus on the five bottlenecks detected in the emerging research topics: the reduction in the environmental burden through a change in demand structures by the welfare state; growth-independence of social security; support for socio-ecological transformations by altered financing of welfare states; eco-social insurance and institutions; and ecological mainstreaming in the domains of social security. Discussing the explanatory factors for past research activity and sketching the elements of sustainable welfare states, the article concludes with the historical importance of including ecological concerns in social security.

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