Max Koch

Max Koch


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Personal profile


An ongoing theme of my research has been the ways in which political and economic restructuring are reflected in welfare and employment relations as well as in structures of social inequality. More recently, I started to combine these research interests with issues of ecological sustainability, particularly climate change, sustainable welfare and degrowth/postgrowth societies. I also carry out research into promoting synergy across environmental and social policies.


Ongoing projects: 

Postgrowth Welfare Systems, funded by Lund University’s Research Programme for Excellence, focusing on Agenda 2030 and sustainable development. I coordinate the project and work together with Mine Islar (LUCSUS), Johanna Alkan Olsson (Centre for Environmental and Climate Research, CEC) and Alexander Paulsson (School of Economics and Management). The project will be concluded in July 2024.

Sustainable Welfare for a New Generation of Social Policy, Swedish Energy Agency (Energimyndigheten), Research programme “Människor, Energisystem och Samhälle" (MESAM): I coordinate the project and work together with Johanna Alkan Olsson (Centre for Environmental and Climate Research, CEC) and Jayeon Lindellee (SOCH). The project will be concluded in April 2023.


The New Urban Challenge? Models of Sustainable Welfare in Swedish Metropolitan Cities, FORMAS (Swedish Research Council): I am mainly responsible for the theoretical part and the quantitative comparative study. The project will be concluded in autumn 2022.


Recently finished research projects:

Sustainable European Welfare Societies: Assessing linkages between social and environmental policy, Research Council of Norway (coordinated by NOVA, Oslo; I am responsible for the mainly theoretical Work Package 1 (‘How does the meaning of social welfare change if we take requirements for environmental sustainability into account?’). The project concluded in spring 2019.

Sustainable Welfare and Eco-social Policies, FORTE (Forskningsrådet för Hälsa, Arbetsliv och Välfärd): I dedicated my research as guest professor at the University of Edinburgh to theoretical issues in sustainable welfare and discuss these as well as policy implications with UK colleagues. The project was concluded in July 2017. 

Degrowth, Pufendorf Institute for Advanced Studies: Coordinated by Ekaterina Chertkovskaya and Alexander Paulsson, School of Economics and Management, Lund University (2015-2016).

Connecting Social Policy and Urban Planning for a Low Carbon Future, Australian Research Council (coordinated by the University of Queensland; 2016-2018).

Sustainable Welfare, Pufendorf Institute for Advanced Studies: I coordinated an interdisciplinary research network that brought together ecological sustainability and social welfare researchers (2014-2015).

Combating Poverty in Europe (COPE): FP7 programme of the European Union (coordinated by Oldenburg University);  (2012-2015).

Attitudes towards Climate Change and Social Policies - a Comparative View, GESIS– Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, Cologne (2013).


My teaching subjects include political economy, social inequality, labour market and welfare regimes, comparative social policy and ecological sustainability issues. I have taught these subjects in Germany, the UK and Sweden.

I am the Course Director for the course Social Policy in Europe, 15 credits; I teach on the masters programme Welfare Policies and Management. I am also a member of the steering committee of this programme.


I have been a Visiting Scholar / Guest Professor at Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Glasgow University, Programa de Economía del Trabajo (Santiago de Chile), Lund University (prior to my current employment), GESIS - Leibniz Institute of the Social Sciences in Cologne, University of Edinburgh and at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies in Potsdam.

I am the author / co-editor of the following books:

2017 Postgrowth and Wellbeing: Challanges to Sustainable Welfare, London: Palgrave Macmillan (with Milena Buchs).

2016 Sustainability and the Political Economy of Welfare, Routledge Studies in Ecological Economics, London: Routledge (co-edited with Oksana Mont).

2013 Non-Standard Employment in Europe: Paradigms, Prevalence and Policy Responses, Work and Welfare in Europe Series, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan (co-edited with Martin Fritz).

2012 Capitalism and Climate Change - Theoretical discussion, Historical Development and Policy Responses, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

2011 Diversity, Standardization and Social Transformation: Gender, Ethnicity and Inequality in Europe, Aldershot: Ashgate (co-edited with Lesley McMillan and Bram Peper).

2006 Roads to Post-Fordism. Labour Markets and Social Structures in Europe, Aldershot: Ashgate .

2003 Arbeitsmärkte und Sozialstrukturen in Europa. Wege zum Postfordismus in den Niederlanden, Schweden, Spanien, Großbritannien und Deutschland, Wiesbaden: Westdeutscher Verlag.

1998 Unternehmen Transformation. Sozialstruktur und gesellschaftlicher Wandel in Chile, Berliner Lateinamerikaforschungen Band 9, Frankfurt/Main: Vervuert.

1994 Vom Strukturwandel einer Klassengesellschaft. Theoretische Diskussion und empirische Analyse, Münster: Westfälisches Dampfboot (second edition 1998).

UKÄ subject classification

  • Social Sciences


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