Economy and Social Protection

China’s rapid economic transformation has had a significant impact on the world economy and has changed global political relationships. In China, economic growth has been accompanied by rapid social and demographic changes, by changes of economic and financial governance, of social protection systems and by political reform. In contrast with this rapid modernisation the countries of the European Union experience slow economic growth and political tension, and the pressure to contain social spending. Thus, China and Europe are at very different stages. Yet they are also connected by a global economy. It is fascinating to analyse and compare changes and challenges in these two regions and to examine how they influence each other. In the section economy and social protection scholars of the welfare state, political economies, population change and migration from the University of Southampton will work with international experts to examine themes like ageing societies, migration, employment, inequality and labour market policies. We will start our work with a conference in November 2015, entitled ‘The evolution social protection: China and Europe compared’ where we will focus in particular on labour market and pension policies.

Theme Leads


Traute Meyer

Professor Traute Meyer is Professor of Social Policy within Social Sciences: Sociology, Social Policy & Criminology at the University of Southampton.

Her work contributes to comparative welfare state research in Europe, and it explores in particular the role of private agents as social policy players in European pension regimes. Traute was involved in two six-country comparative projects. She was the scientific co-ordinator (with P. Bridgen) of “Private Pensions and Social Inclusion in Europe” (January 2003-October 2005; EU, FP5), and principal investigator for the British part of “Formal and informal work in Europe” (11/02-09/05; EU, FP5). Until October 2008 (10/06-09/08) Traute was team leader of the research project “The reconstruction of British and German pension regimes”(with P. Bridgen, Southampton and B. Riedmüller, Berlin). The project was a part of the research initiative“Sustainable welfare and sustainable growth – towards a new social settlement in Germany and the United Kingdom?”, funded by the Anglo-German Foundation. The results have been published by Oxford University Press in June 2011.

Traute has been a co-investigator (with J. Clasen, P-I, and A Smith, University of Edinburgh) in the ESRC funded research project: “Welfare markets and personal risk management in England and Scotland”, October 2009-November 2011.

Since October 2012 she has been co-investigator in a project on European migration and social rights: “Free movement, pension costs: the projected pension outcomes of European Union migrants to Britain in comparative perspective”, which is part of the ESRC-funded Centre for Population Change (with P. Bridgen, 2011-13).

Since January 2007 Traute has been one of the editors of the Journal of European Social Policy and she is a board member of the Network for European Social Policy Analysis (ESPAnet).


Research Fellowship – Professor Traute Meyer


Professor Traute Meyer

Dr Emmanouil Mentzakis Equity and efficiency preferences of health policy makers in China – a stated preference analysis – Paolucci, Francesco, Mentzakis, Emmanouil, Defechereux, Thierry and Niessen, Louis W.

Dr Johan Nordensvard How social can Chinese hydropower dams be – Nordensvard, Johan and Urban, Frauke

Dr Johan Nordensvard  Firm-level technology transfer and technology cooperation for wind energy between Europe, China and India: From North–South to South–North cooperation? – Urban, Frauke, Zhou, Yuan, Nordensvard, Johan and Narain, Ankita

Performing identities: women in rural-urban migration in contemporary China – Zhang, Nana
GeoforumVolume:54Page Range:17-27doi:1016/j.geoforum.2014.03.006

Home divided, home reconstructed: children in rural–urban migration in contemporary China – Zhang, Nana
Children’s GeographiesPage Range:1-17doi:1080/14733285.2013.848600

Rural women migrant returnees in contemporary China – Zhang, Nana
Journal of Peasant StudiesVolume:40, (1)Page Range:171-188doi:1080/03066150.2012.749867

The impact of guanxi networks on the employment relations of rural migrant women in contemporary China – Zhang, Nana
Industrial Relations JournalVolume:42, (6)Page Range:580-595doi:1111/j.1468-2338.2011.00642.x

Social networks and women’s rural-urban migration in contemporary China – Zhang, Nana
Labour, Capital and SocietyVolume:39, (2)Page Range:105-122

Rural-urban child migration in China: another childhood – Zhang, Nana
Published:2015Published by:
Basingstoke, GB

Women migrants in China: bargaining against patriarchy – Zhang, Nana
Published:2014Published by:
Abingdon, GBSeries:
ASAA Women in Asia SeriesPages:
240ppPublication status


The evolution of social protection: China and Europe compared

59996 A3 Landscape Poster[1]

A conference supported by the Confucius Institute and the University of Southampton, School of Social Sciences

26-27 November 2015

Avenue Campus, Parkes Building (65), room 2141

Professor Derek McGee – keynote speaker at International Symposium on State Governance and Policy, Xiamen University


Prof. Traute Meyer – Presented a paper on “Free Movement? The impact of migration on the pensions of European migrants” at the Social Policy Conference, Xiamen University, Fujian, China, 5 April, 2014

*Note: paper is not about China, but the conference is organised by Chinese university and location is in China


Dr Nana Zhang – – Presented a paper on ‘Children in rural-urban migration in China’ at the Social Policy Conference, Xiamen University, Fujian, China, 5 April, 2014


Dr Emmanouil Mentzakis gave a public lecture on Informal an formal care provision at CUEB

Staff & PHD Students

Dr Nana Zhang  

Dr Nana Zhang is Lecturer in Sociology within Social Sciences at the University of Southampton.

She joined the Department from the University of Warwick to take up the post of Lecturer in Sociology. Prior to this she held an ESRC Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in the Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick (2009-10) and a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship in the Department of Sociology, University of Warwick (2010-12).

Her research interests are labour and migration, gender, development, children and childhoods, human trafficking, with a reference to China. She is currently working on two monographs: one on women in rural-urban migration in China (Routledge) and one on rural migrant children in China (Palgrave-Macmillian).

Xinhao Lin (Visiting student)

Xinhao LIN is a Ph.D. student in Zhejiang University (China) on her 6-months’ exchange program to the University of Southampton, supervised by Professor Jane Falkingham and Dr Athina Vlachantoni. Her research interests include anti-poverty policy, social pension system and Chinese family planning policy. Her current Ph.D. research is about ‘Policy Optimum Design and Intergeneration Equality: Anti-poverty and Base-line Fairness in Rural-Urban China’.