Areas of Expertise

Practice-oriented knowledge transfer and policy advice

The IZA research teams in Bonn explore how the world of work and labor markets are changing. They investigate how
to design an institutional framework that maintains employment and social cohesion. Our in-house research on the
future of work is currently divided into four areas of expertise:


  • Changing World of Work:
    Digitalization, globalization, and demographic change

We examine changes in working conditions, forms of employment, and employment opportunities that are induced by fundamental processes of change, such as digitalization, globalization and demographic change. This area focuses on the implications of these transformations for occupational skill profiles. It explores effective human resource management tools enabling employers to recruit, retain, organize and motivate their workforce amidst the changing world of work.

  • Workers of the Future:
    People in the changing world of work

We investigate how people fare in the changing world of work. The area studies how workers adapt to structural transformations, and how they acquire the skills and abilities that will be essential in the future. It also considers personal values that might make workers more discerning about their jobs and their employers, such as the pursuit of work-life balance. This area explores ways to secure a skilled workforce for the future.

  • Sustainable Labor Policies:
    Shaping the labor markets of the future and their institutions

We provide insight for shaping the labor markets of the future and their institutions. This area is concerned with regulatory frameworks and conditions that serve the balancing of interests of employers and employees, and avoid unemployment. It explores how to organize worker protection as boundaries of firms and national labor markets increasingly vanish. We evaluate instruments for the social protection of workers, focusing on those who need special support to cope with the changing world of work.

  • Work and Social Cohesion:
    Inequality and social mobility

We analyze the impact of the changing world of work on the distributions of wages, income, and wealth. We also examine consequences for social mobility and uncover pathways to greater equality to foster social cohesion. This area studies mechanisms of social mobility and the consequences of existing inequalities. It assesses interventions that aim at equal opportunity and access to the labor market, or at counteracting the polarization of the workforce.

Research Teams

Under the umbrella of IZA's core areas of expertise six IZA Research Teams address national and international aspects of labor policy. At current our teams focus on digitalization, skill formation, perspectives of personalized labor policies, institutional change and strategic policy challenges.

Recent Projects

In addition to our own research initiatives, we also work on projects funded by external institutions, such as government departments and international organizations.


Current research projects include:

Minimum wage in Germany

IZA analyzes the effects of the German minimum wage on employment and unemployment.


Expertises for Federal Labor Ministry

IZA delivers research reports and organizes dialogue on fundamental questions of the welfare state, the changing world of work, and social integration.


IZA World of Labor

Online knowledge base for labor policy

IZA World of Labor provides relevant and succinct information based on sound empirical evidence to help in formulating good policies and best practices. It provides expert know-how in an innovative structure, and a clear and accessible style.


Recent articles include:

US labor market trends

The difficulties of the US labor market lie behind the positive aggregates. Earnings inequality continues to rise  while labor force participation rates of people aged 20–54 have dropped.


Improvement in European labor force participation

Labor force participation rates have increased throughout Europe since the 1990s. This is primarily due to the upgrading of education levels across most countries and age groups