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Research within the FSIO covers four areas: old-age insurance / occupational benefit plans; disability / invalidity; family, generations and society; basics and future development of the social security system.

1. Old-age insurance / occupational benefit plans

Demographic change and a rapidly changing labour market bring new challenges for the Swiss old-age provision system. The FSIO research and evaluation section has been brought in to help with the existing and planned reforms of the old-age pension. One of the focuses of this work is tracking retirement trends and monitoring the social and economic circumstances of old-age pension recipients. The research also studies reforms undertaken in OECD countries with a view to identifying possible ways to ensure the long-term survival of the Swiss basic old-age provision system. The impact of amendments to the Federal Law on Old-Age Insurance (AHV) and the Federal Law on Occupational Pensions (BVG) are systematically subject to ex-ante and ex-post evaluations, which may highlight areas where changes could be made. Several projects have already made thorough assessments of the implementation and effectiveness of the first BVG Revision.

2. Disability / invalidity

Until 2005 the number of people claiming invalidity insurance benefits had been rising steeply for many years, resulting in higher costs for the invalidity insurance system (IV). In the first multiannual invalidity insurance research programme (FoP-IV), both the exogenous and endogenous factors behind this trend were analysed in detail, and the impact of legal regulations was evaluated. The findings are set out in a summary report released in 2010.
The 4th and 5th Revisions of the Federal Law on Invalidity Insurance focused on the principle of "rehabilitation before a pension". The measures contained in these reforms are the subject of the second multiannual invalidity research programme (FoP2-IV), which will run from 2010 until 2015. Key topics for the research and evaluation projects include – in addition to the above-mentioned integration measures – the clarification process, benefits to support the independence of disabled people, and measures for identifying, treating and supporting children with development disorders or adolescents and young adults with greater risk potential. In addition, cooperation with IV partners (in particular unemployment insurance, social security, employers, treating physicians) will be analysed, especially the various aspects of inter-institutional cooperation.
The findings of the second research programme will be compiled in a summary report upon completion of the programme, and further policy-related conclusions will be drawn.

3. Family, generations and society

This broad-ranging area touches on many different aspects of social policy. Research includes an examination of society-wide, economic and demographic issues as well as the evaluation of the impact that social policy measures have had. This work helps clarify certain aspects of family policy, such as child, youth and generational issues, which in turn generates evidence-based findings that can be used to inform political debate. For example, family policy research looks at the sustainability of the provision of child care funding. One study conducted a full-cost analysis of the costs of daycare facilities in two Swiss cantons. Other studies have focused on generational policy issues and intergenerational relations, while one project on the subject of «Youth and Violence» investigated the feasibility of conducting a national survey of self-reported violence.

4. Prospects and future development of the social security system

In a broader context, social insurance is an integral part of social security and is of considerable importance for the national economy. Consequently, the FSIO deals with issues which extend beyond the specific field of social insurance. Such issues include the social and economic situation of various population groups, and the review of various forms and alternatives within social security. For example, a study investigated the organisation and delivery of social security benefits at federal, cantonal and municipal level and the interplay between them. Reviews are also carried out on the situation in other European countries.

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2. Disability / invalidity