Project duration: 2017 10 03 – 2020 09 30
Project leader: dr. Jolanta Aidukaitė

This project aims to explore the challenges, problems and future prospects of the pension and family supports systems – the most important constituent parts of the welfare state – in the contemporary Lithuanian and Swedish societies. Special attention will be paid to developments in the last ten years – since 2007 up to now. During this period, countries have experienced economic and financial crisis, which in Lithuania and Sweden was felt in different years, and to different degrees, countries have also differed in policy measures implemented to overcome the crisis. This period is also characterized by new demographic challenges, which can have long-term consequences for the future of the welfare state systems.

More specifically, the research has the following objectives:
1. To critically review modern theories of the welfare state, the challenges to the welfare state in the Nordic and Baltic countries. To review the theoretical and empirical literature analysing Lithuanian and Swedish pension insurance and family support systems, revealing the peculiarities, traditions, contemporary issues, the influence of globalization and Europeanization, threats posed by migration.
2. To examine the similarities and differences between the Lithuanian and Swedish pension systems, highlighting the problems and their solutions; and the possibility to implement in Lithuania the Swedish notional defined contribution (NDC) pension system and its potential impact on poverty and inequality levels.
3. To compare the family support systems in Lithuania and Sweden, to highlight the essential differences and similarities; and to explore its impact on female participation in the labour market and gender equality.

The comparative analysis of the Lithuanian and Swedish welfare state systems will respond to a number of theoretical and empirical questions that are relevant to the contemporary welfare state studies: whether in reforming social policy, policy makers have to encourage private responsibilities or to increase the state’s obligations. Should the pensions system be reformed so as to increase the influence of the private pension funds? How should be the pay-as-you-go principle combined with the cumulative principle in reforming pension insurance? What kind of family policy measures are best suitable to solve the problems of child poverty and to ensure gender equality?

The primary data for this project will be collected with the help of semi-structured expert interviews (in Lithuania and Sweden) and a representative nation-wide survey in Lithuania and Sweden. The project will also utilize the national and international statistical sources, the EUROSTAT data and the MISSOC data on social protection in Europe.

The project will be carried at the Lithuanian Social Research Centre (LSTC) in cooperation with the Stockholm University Linnaeus Center on Social Policy and Family Dynamics in Europe (SpaDe).