Annual Report 2019

A strong focus on public authorities in Luxembourg

Societal Impact

For LISER, 2019 was a very rewarding year in terms of societal impact of research activities. Characteristic of LISER’s societal impact is a strong focus on public authorities in Luxembourg. Various modes of communication and dissemination have been used, such as policy briefs and reports, presentations for policy makers, small conferences with a variety of stakeholders, press conferences with journalists, and contributions to public magazines. Increasingly, we observe impact of research on policies abroad. It has demonstrated that these societal activities have shaped opinions of stakeholders and policy-making by public authorities on several topics, like parental leaves, minimum income schemes, immigration and integration, spatial developments, housing, and health. Some of these societal impact activities of each department or transversal research programme will be highlighted.

Intermediate Evaluation of the results of the reform of parental leave of 2016

Department Living Conditions

The project ‘Intermediate Evaluation of the results of the reform of parental leave of 2016’ was funded by the Ministry of Family Affairs, Integration and the Greater Region. The main objective of this project was to evaluate the effects of the new parental leave entered into force in December 2016 on the labour market, its effects on equal opportunities, and on the interest of the child.

Through the different presentations of its results (to the Deputy Chamber, in press conferences, presentation to the Minister Mrs. Corinne Cahen), this project was particularly successful in terms of factual contributions. In particular, the results enlightened society about mothers’ behaviour on the labour market after parental leave, the parental leave take-up behaviour of parents before and after the 2016 reform, and on the trends in parental leave take-up rate in the 12 months following birth.

Investigating the Mechanisms of Reliance to Social Assistance (IMeRSe)

Department Living Conditions

The IMeRSe project was funded by the CORE programme of the National Research Fund. The main objective of the project was to investigate the mechanism of reliance to social assistance in and, in particular, analysing the minimum guaranteed income scheme (RMG).

The project’s dissemination strategy not only included the dissemination of the results through newspapers, magazine articles, and media coverage to contribute with the society to understand the mechanism explaining welfare dependence, but also through the participation in several other projects and events. In particular, the results of the project helped the National Social Inclusion Office (ONIS) to have a better understanding of the social inclusion of RMG beneficiaries; the participation to the FNR Pairing scheme - whose aim was to bring together researchers and members of Parliaments-; and being part as national experts in several round tables (for example the one organised by EMIN – European Minimum Income Network – Caritas, or at the Participatory meeting for social inclusion organised by the Luxembourg Network for the Fight against Poverty and Social Exclusion).

A multiannual national action plan for the integration of foreigners (PAN Integration)

Department Labour Market

The Luxembourg government adopted in 2018 a multiannual national action plan for the integration of foreigners (PAN Integration, 2018). This long-term plan provides a strategic and sustainable framework for the implementation of the integration policy. Based on a contract with the Office Luxembourgeois de l'Accueil et de l'Intégration (OLAIFrom January 2020 onward, OLAI has been split into the Office national de l’Accueil (ONA) and the Departement of Integration which is part of the the Ministry of Family, Integration and the Greater Region.), LISER has defined and provided the government with a list of indicators classified by areas of competence (hosting of asylum seekers and integration of all non-Luxembourgish citizens) and by transversal areas (access to information, quality services to immigrants and; national and international coordination) to monitor and evaluate the implementation of this plan. With resources from the Ministry of Family, Integration and the Greater Region, LISER presented the European perspective of the integration policy in Luxembourg as well as the evolution of integration objectives over the past twenty years. In the same context and based on a set of few indicators, LISER carried out a broad assessment of the effectiveness of the integration policy in Luxembourg.

Spatial Development Observatory

Department Urban Development and Mobility

In 2019, the Spatial Development Observatory has produced a confidential report on the potential territorial impacts of spatial deconcentration of public administrations, written by Antoine Decoville and Valérie Feltgen. The objective was to feed the inter-ministerial discussions regarding the necessity to rebalance the spatial development dynamics from the capital city to second-tier cities via a relocation of some national institutions. The objective was twofold: to relieve the capital city from its over-concentration of jobs (and associated nuisances), and to help to create new development dynamics in second-tier cities.

The Observatory of Spatial Development also co-authored a report (together with the Department of Spatial Planning) on soil-artificialisation in Luxembourg. Finally, the Spatial Development Observatory has set up a database management system and incorporated all the indicators and variables produced and/or used within the framework of both the Spatial Development Observatory and the Housing Observatory. This will contribute in a very effective way to the improvement of territorial diagnoses and to a better exchange of information between the different Ministries.

Housing Observatory

Department Urban Development and Mobility

The Housing Observatory published four publications on the ‘land’ situation in Luxembourg. These publications provided different perspectives on this situation: the amount of land available for residential construction, the degree to which this land is concentrated in a few hands, the evolution of the price of residential land, and a description of the residential land consumption process (

These four reports were presented at the Housing Commission of the Chamber of Deputies and at dedicated press conference at the Ministry of Housing (February 28th 2019). They had quite a large media impact and have since framed the discussions on the strengthening of property taxes in the face of the country’s housing crisis (informing the proposal of measures going in this direction at the municipal level such as in Diekirch or Luxembourg City). In this context, the Housing Observatory was involved in discussions on the reform of the property tax driven by the Ministry of the Interior (through the validation of their proposed methodology to evaluate land values). These reports have also put the notion of public land acquisition on the agenda, coinciding with the launch of the Ministry of Housing’s special land acquisition fund.

The Housing Observatory was also heavily involved in working groups with other public institutions (STATEC, ECB, CSSF) and Ministries (Housing, Finance) to assess the likelihood of a house price bubble emerging in Luxembourg. Indeed, 2019 was the first full year of double-digit house price increases. Given its expertise on property prices, the Housing Observatory was a key scientific stakeholder in these discussions. The Housing Observatory presented its main findings on this issue to the Housing Commission of the Chamber of Deputies on October 17th 2019.

Contribution to oversight and evaluation of Scotland’s alcohol policy

Transversal programme Health and Health Systems

Scotland has been the first and thus far only country worldwide to implement Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) for alcohol – a novel, promising population-wide measure to reduce excessive alcohol consumption and associated harm. The policy, which entered into force in 2018, entails that all alcohol sold through licensed premises in Scotland, cannot be sold below a set MUP (i.e. 50p per unit of alcohol). Many countries across the world are eager to learn from the Scottish experience.

The Scottish Government has commissioned a comprehensive, independent evaluation of MUP, with a view to informing future legislation about its continuation or removal. To accompany the evaluation, a major governance process has been set up, in the form of the Monitoring and Evaluating Scotland’s Alcohol Strategy (MESAS) Governance Board. Based on his previous work in the area of public health policy impact evaluation, Professor Marc Suhrcke has acted as a member of the Governance Board, as well as of the “Economic Impact and Price Evaluation Advisory Group”. The Governance Board provides advice, expertise and secures assurance that will maximise the scientific quality, relevance and credibility of the suite of studies assessing the impact of MUP in Scotland.

Contribution to the World Health Organization’s 2019 Health Equity strategy and flagship report

Transversal programme Health and Health Systems

In 2019, the European branch of the WHO has developed and published its flagship publication “Healthy, prosperous lives for all: the European Health Equity Status Report”, which formed the basis of the Office’s Health Equity strategy. In preparation of the report, a team of LISER researchers was commissioned to provide background work for the report, on the estimation of the costs of health inequities. In addition, Professor Marc Suhrcke was appointed as a member of the WHO’s Scientific Advisory Expert Group for the report and the health equity strategy.

Analysis of immigrants’ integration policy in Luxembourg

Transversal programme Crossing Borders

A report ‘Integration policy in Luxembourg: putting into perspective and teaching of recent research’ has been written. This report, (1) defines an analytical framework for the policy of integration of Luxembourg, (2) puts Luxembourg's policy into perspective with that of its neighbours and the rest of Europe, and (3) provides a critical review of integration policy monitoring and evaluation methods.

ASTI/LISER organised conferences on “Living, Working and Deciding Together” from October 2019

Transversal programme Crossing Borders

Through 18 events on the general theme “Living, Working and Deciding Together,” ASTI and LISER aim to create a dialogue between researchers, decision-makers, actors in the field and the population. With the support of the FNR (PSP scheme), twelve interactive debates have been organised in the same format: (i) an academic expert specializing in the topic presents the state of the art of literature; (ii) a political actor or an actor in the field describes his/her vision and his/her difficulties in interacting with the scientific community; (iii) a debate with the audience. These 12 interactive debates are complemented by 4 press conferences during which statistics on immigration and border movements were communicated to the general public, as well as by a conference by Professor François Héran (Collège de France) and a workshop on the theme of the integration of immigrants in Luxembourg.

Policy brief series on Crossing Borders

Transversal programme Crossing Borders

In the Policy Brief series “Crossing Borders at a Glance,” LISER experts and visiting scholars summarize the best available evidence to clarify the size and nature of a migration-related issue. The series aim to help decision makers in Luxembourg and around the world to find ways to better manage cross-border mobility issues. Three policy briefs were published in 2019.