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Labour Institute for Economic Research

Address :
Pitkänsillanranta 3 A (6th floor)
00530   Helsinki

Finland

Contact person :
Seija Ilmakunnas, Director
Phone: +358 92535 7330
Fax: +358 92535 7332
Email:Seija.Ilmakunnas@labour.fi
Website:http://www.labour.fi/

Short description

LAST UPDATE MARCH 2015

The Labour Institute for Economic Research is an independent and non-profit research organisation founded in 1971. The institute carries out economic research, monitors economic development and publishes macroeconomic forecasts. The aim is to contribute to the economic debate and to provide information for economic policy decision-making in Finland.

The history of the Labour Institute for Economic Research dates back to the year 1951, when the People's Market Research Institute was established by the Union of Consumer Co-operatives. It was the first research institute of the Finnish labour movement. The task of the institute was to study consumption and living costs, agricultural subsidies and prices, cyclical fluctuations of the economy and economic competition.

The disintegration of the Finnish labour movement and the break-up of trade unions during the 1950s and the 1960s meant a quiet time for the institute. The reintegration of the trade unions took place at the end of the 1960s. It led to a new emphasis on the functions of the institute, which was reorganised by the Union of Consumer Co-operatives (KK) and the newly founded Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK).

The new research institute set up in 1971 was called the Labour Institute for Economic Research. It was separated from the Union of Consumer Co-operatives in 1974. Since then the Labour Institute for Economic Research has been an independent body supported by the association of member organisations. The research interests of the institute shifted from market research to macroeconomic issues, which nevertheless are considered interesting to the trade union movement.

The next important change took place in 1993, when funding was expanded by new members joining the association. It now includes all Finnish central trade union confederations, which is a guarantee for the non-political character of the institute, which it used to have in the past.

Today the Labour Institute for Economic Research is an established and renowned research institute. Its research results, economic forecasts and economic policy comments are widely referred to in the media. The permanent staff of the institute consists of around 16 people, of which 11 are researchers with a permanent position (this number includes the director, research director and three research coordinators). Most of the research staff has a doctoral degree in economics. Publishing in academic journals and presenting research results at scientific conferences is part of the cooperation with the international research community. Commenting on economic trends and participation in the economic policy debate in the media are also an important part of the work.

Nearly half of the institute's funding comes from an association whose members are the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK), the Finnish Confederation of Salaried Employees (STTK), the Confederation of Unions for Academic Professionals in Finland (Akava) and their member unions. The balance of the budget is derived from government subsidies and research contracts, which are drawn up principally with ministries, public and private funds and the Academy of Finland.

The institute carries out continuous monitoring and analysis of business cycles and economic trends with the main focus on the Finnish economy. A detailed short-term economic forecast with a horizon of 1½-2 years is published each April and October (including the web version in English). The main emphasis is on the economic situation of wage earners and salaried employees.

Areas of expertise and competencies

The main emphasis is on empirical research based on theoretical approaches. The main fields of research are the following:

1) Labour market issues: labour supply and demand, labour mobility, wage formation and wage differentials, unemployment and efficiency of the labour market. Research coordinator: Ms Merja Kauhanen, PhD

2) Public economics: welfare, inequality and economic exclusion, effects of taxation and public spending on the household sector, evaluation of public institutions and organisation of market structure in the production of public services. Research coordinator: Mr Ilpo Suoniemi, Msc

3) Macroeconomic issues and economic policy: business cycles, monetary and fiscal policies, monetary integration, macroeconomics of employment and unemployment. Research coordinator: Mr Eero Lehto

The research director is Ms Reija Lilja, PhD

Work programme, strategic plan, projects

The work programme is only in Finnish.

Publications, language, newsletter

The institute has three research publication series which are all available on the website.. Final reports on comprehensive research projects are published in the studies. Reports –series is devoted to the publications of more concise or policy oriented projects. Results of ongoing research projects are published in the working papers, and most of them in English.

The institute also publishes a quarterly review "Talous & Yhteiskunta" (Economy & Society) in Finnish. It includes articles written by the institute's own researchers as well as by experts from other organisations. The review aims to promote interest and information in the results of economic research in society.

Macroeconomic forecasts in English are available on the following website as well as figures about economic data.

A newsletter (in Finnish) is available on the website on a regular basis.

Other networks the institute is participating in

Most research projects are carried out together with researchers from other research institutes and universities and the informal forms of cooperation are accordingly are diverse.

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