About the Institute of Social Economy

Institute of Social Economy - Instytut Gospodarstwa Społecznego (IGS)

The Institute of Social Economy was established in 1920. The head of the Institute until 1941 was the famous sociologist Ludwik Krzywicki. The main idea behind the establishment of the Institute was the need to recognize the social problems of contemporary Poland and the development of the theory and practice of social policy. 

In the interwar years, the Institute dealt with i.a. issues of the living conditions of the population, social security, the functioning of local governments and the phenomenon of unemployment in the city and in the countryside. One of the methods used to study social reality was the diary studies.

As a result of the competition announced by the Institute in 1933, “Diaries of the Unemployed”, “Diaries of Peasants” (1935-1936) and “Diaries of Emigrants” (1939) were published. The employees of the Institute used diaries as sociological material, which was the basis for many valuable analyses. The Institute presented the concept of active social policy towards social issues.

After World War II, in 1957, the Institute was reactivated and referred to traditional research threads. In the initial period, research was undertaken on local unemployment, employment, as well as working conditions, living conditions, employee self-government, professional work of women and families, and broadly understood social security. 

In the years 1963-1968, the Institute conducted the first in Poland representative survey of the needs of the elderly and the needs of the family in connection with the growing professional activity of women.

Since 1990, the Institute has been conducting research in the field of:

• living conditions of families, taking into account spatial differences,
• labour market issues in the EU,
• unemployment and poverty,
• the situation of older people in various contexts,
• social assistance,
• the level of meeting social and medical needs in local communities.

Referring to the tradition of pre-war research, the Institute still organizes diaries competitions.
So far, competitions have been held for “Diaries of Emigrants”, “Diaries of Poles in Lithuania”, “Diaries of Poles in the East” (Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan), “Diaries of a new generation of Polish peasants”, “Diaries of the Unemployed”, “Diaries from the time of the Covid-19 pandemic” and “Inflation Diaries”. As a result, over 30 volumes of diaries were published.
The Institute’s research interest is also the implementation of the tasks of the social policy system at the national, regional and local level, as well as the conditions for the functioning of social policy entities.
Research results and research experience are used by the employees of the Institute in the course of their didactic work. They enrich theoretical lectures with conclusions for practice.

The directors of the Institute of Social Economy were successively:

1920–1921 Włodzimierz Wakar, 1921–1939 (41) Ludwik Krzywicki, 1926–1939 Konstanty Krzeczkowski, 1926–1939 Tadeusz Szturm de Szterm, 1941–1944 Ludwik Landau, 1957–1964 Edward Strzelecki, 1965–1970 Adam Andrzejewski, 1972–1980 Mikołaj Latuch, 1980–1987
Adam Kurzynowski, 1987–1993 Irena Kostrowicka, 1993–1996 Witold Rakowski, 1997–2004 Adam Kurzynowski.

Since 2004, the Director of the Institute of Social Economy is Piotr Błędowski.