About IEAS Thematic Research Projects
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  • Publish Date:2015/09/02
    Modify Date:2024/03/26

Social Development and Policy in the US and Europe

Project Coordinator: Chi-Tsun Chiu
Research Members: Rueyling Tzeng, Min-Hsiung Huang, Chern Chen, Wen-Ling Huang, Chi-Tsun Chiu, Huijing Wu
I. History and Major Objectives
Public policy, as a branch of Social Science, is a highly integrated and cross-disciplinary subject, and its scope is both deep and broad. Its theoretical development is highly relevant to the progress of the public sectors in all nations and deeply woven into all aspects of the society. Since the establishment of this Thematic Research Project in June 1998, the research focus has been on subjects related to “Gender Equality in North America and Europe,” with a concentration on the protection of employment rights and equality. Major issues of discussion include: ethical conduct in relation to gender issues; sexual harassment in the workplace; gender equality in terms of equal pay for equal work; equal pay for work of equivalent value; and social security. In addition to team-based research projects focusing on gender equality in North America and Europe, researchers have published their individual works in monographs and academic papers. The research remains in line with national legislative developments gender equality in employment and prohibitions on discrimination in employment. Collaborating with colleagues from different research fields in Academia Sinica, we have selected important social issues and public policies of North America and Europe for research, and research findings were presented in keynote speeches, published in academic papers, and discussed with scholars from abroad and in academic symposiums. This research group, which consists of research fellows from Political Science, Law, Sociology, History, and Demography, recognizes the necessity of multi-disciplinary integration to resolve major public policy problems. One of the major contributions of this research group has been to study the experience of Western countries and thereby provide practical applications and references for policy decision makers in Taiwan. The results of the research are informative for policy making.
Following the suggestions provided by the Review Committee in 2008, we have expanded the focus of the Thematic Research Project to include issues of social development and its relation with social policy. Therefore, we changed the title to “Social Development and Policy in the US and Europe”. In the near future, we will explore new research topics and directions, such as, family and demography, gender and ethnic relations, public governance, and historical memories and transitional justice. Research members include Rueyling Tzeng, Min-Hsiung Huang, Chern Chen, Wen-Ling Huang, Chi-Tsun Chiu and Huijing Wu.
II. Researchers and Their Specialties
  • Rueyling Tzeng (Sociology): Economic Sociology, Sociology of Organization, Migration of Highly Skilled Professionals
  • Min-Hsiung Huang (Sociology): Social Stratification and Sociology of Education
  • Chern Chen (History): Modern History of Germany, Transitional Justice, Military History
  • Wen-Ling Huang (History): American History, Women’s Voluntary Association in the US, Afro-American Woman Study
  • Chi-Tsun Chiu (Sociology): Healthy Life Expectancy, Health Disparities, Mortality
  • Huijing Wu (Sociology): Aging and the Life Course, Gender, Demography, Family Studies, Quantitative research methods, Cross-national comparative study
III. Research Publications

Between 2008 and 2016, the 11 researchers collectively published a total of 96 academic papers in reputable journals (indexed in SSCI, TSSCI, THCI Core, AHCI, and Scopus), in addition to four books, 20 monographs, 99 conference articles, and one compilation. Also, 66 research projects were conducted. Four international conferences were held to discuss structural changes to family and society in the US and Europe, as well as four national conferences on influential US Supreme Court rulings in 2007-2009, European and American constitutionalism and reforms, and family and health from global perspective. 24 scholars from Taiwan and abroad were invited to give keynote speeches on public policy issues (labor law, female employment, gender equality, workplace relations, COP21, immigrants on Obamacare, and the history of POW camp after WWII), public governance, demography, and immigration.

IV. Research Highlights
1. Multidiscipline Integration
The main purpose of this research project is to take an in-depth look at gender equality in the US and Europe by integrating the findings of foreign and Taiwanese researchers from different disciplines, and to analyze the latest trends in the fields of Law, Sociology, History, Public Policy, and Demography. Furthermore, the project will provide points of reference for Taiwanese policymakers on issues related to gender equality.
2. Research Scope
After the establishment of Taiwan’s Gender Equality Act in the Workplace in 2002, employers in all sectors have paid more attention to the issue of gender equality. While most past studies were limited to a single discipline, our researchers have adopted an interdisciplinary approach. As opposed to other studies that are focused on gender equality in Taiwan, our research cover gender equality in the US and Europe. The results of our research would provide references for policymakers in Taiwan. The collective efforts of our research team will elevate our Institute to become a leader in the field of gender equality studies.
3. Academic Resources
Although the most advanced research on gender equality is undertaken in the US, the research is mostly conducted within a single discipline, unlike our innovative and unique interdisciplinary approach. In years, our Institute continued to purchase related publications, journals, and monographs to keep up with our American counterparts. These archives enable our researchers to conduct robust studies using existing resources, bolstering our efforts to become the leading center of gender equality studies in Asia.
4. Research Agenda
Borrowing from empirical studies in the US and Europe, our researchers consider Taiwan’s social demography: population aging, interracial marriage, immigration, and changes in family structure.
5. Future Research Directions
The focus of this research project is on broadening local perceptions by deepening the understanding of other cultures outside of Taiwan, and thereby providing references and interpretations of Taiwan’s social phenomenon and institutional constructions for future researchers. In addition to pursuing fundamental research, policies related to gender equality and public governance in European and American societies are examined to provide references for Taiwan. In order to fulfill the purpose that led to the establishment of this Institute, and the research interests of the researchers, four main subjects are brought into focus in this project: family and gender research, public governance, ethnic relations, and historical memories and transitional justice.
(1) Family and gender studies
  • Systematically breaks down and analyzes long-term care systems, employment discrimination and sexual harassment, family change, immigration policies, the effect of family structure on the scholastic performance of children, and issues related to policies on female rights and social status in Europe and America.
  • Examines the central ideas of gender equality, and explores the processes, concepts, and similarities and differences within US state laws on welfare programs and family policies. Aside from systemically breaking down and analyzing the effects of policy changes on female rights and social status in different eras, this research elaborates on issues related to the health and welfare of American children, and scrutinizes the evolution and development of children’s health insurance policies. The results and findings can be used as a reference for future legislation and amendments on related issues in Taiwan.
  • Borrowing theories and empirical studies from European and American Studies, this project seeks to develop policies to address the challenges of a rapidly aging population in Taiwan. It will focus on policies related to women and marriage, childbearing, and employment, and evaluate the effectiveness of such policies.
  • Gender differences in the use of after-school tutoring in mathematics and science using data from the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS).
(2) Ethnic relations
  • A trend analysis of racial differences in cognitive ability.
  • Comparison of public opinions toward foreign workers in the US and EU countries. Most nations have loose regulations governing white-collar (highly educated) immigrants, and even seek to entice them with favorable policies in order to build up the nation’s economic competitiveness, while at the same time applying tight controls over blue-collar (less educated) immigrants. Immigrant policy have thus established classism to distinguish between “good” and “bad” immigrants, even though both are needed in the host countries. This research will use a data set covering US and EU countries to determine whether such distinctions also exist at the level of individual citizens.
  • Adopting a historical perspective, this research will: discuss the activities of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History during the years 1915-1952 in contributing to the self-esteem and self-identification of the black community, and its contributions toward Afro-American history; research the roles of white philanthropists Julius Rosenwald and Edwin E. Embree, who are affiliated with the Julius Rosenwald Fund to the black self-help movement and activities; explore the real aims of these two philanthropists; discuss whether another form of racial inequity arises out of their ideas of social control.
(3) Public governance
  • Explores how imminent demographic changes such as globalization, aging populations, and low birth rates affect the European and American civil service system on the subjects of gender equality and reform, and establishes practical theories on reform. This research also looks into the growing trend of electronic government (E-government).
  • Studies sexual equality by analyzing the difficulties and obstacles facing public administrations. By combining new theories and public service philosophy, this research determines what is lacking in modern public administrations in relation to the concept and value of sexual equality. As a result, the results describe a course of action for future government action on the reform of sexual equality. This is closely related to the concept of gender mainstreaming proposed by the Taiwanese government.
  • Examines the development of European and American countries on the subject of administrative reform; analyzes from multiple angles the difficulties and obstacles, combining new theories and public service philosophy; determines the inadequacy of new public administrations; and establishes a course of action for future governments on the organization and operation of administrative bodies.
  • Besides the classic issue of fundamental theories of freedom of expression, comparative studies regarding conflicts between the freedom of expression and the right of personality in Europe, Germany, and the US will be conducted, especially with respect to subjects of allusive speech, crime-facilitating speech, hate speech, and the right to be forgotten.
  • Looks into constitutional protection of “public interests”, which includes the theoretical justification of the public interest, the extension of constitutional public interests, and the normative criteria for determining the priority between public interests and individual rights.
  • Studies the effects of educational systems and policies on the academic performance of children and equality of educational opportunities.
(4) Historical memory and transitional justice
  • This project analyzes historical observation and categorizes historical experiences in reference to modern German history and transitional justice, with a particular focus on specific social classes under the totalitarian regimes of Hitler and East Germany. The aim is to explore issues related to military history, historical memory, and collective behaviors relevant to human rights and transitional justice.
  • The project discusses the above questions from a historical perspective, investigating whether the experience of transitional justice in Germany can provide democratic countries with a speculative mode for facing their own historical experiences, memories, facts and injustices. Also of interest is the possibility of, and orientation from which, transitional justice might be practiced in the future.