Merita Mesiäislehto

Merita Mesiäislehto.

Title: Research Manager
Tel. +358 29 524 7170
E-mail: [email protected]


  • Comparative welfare state research
  • Social and economic inequalities
  • Minimum income protection
  • Vulnerable groups in the labour market
  • Gender and family policies
  • Care work
  • Social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic

Primary duties

  • Research in ongoing projects
  • Expert duties


  • 2022, Adjunct Professor (docent) in Social Policy, University of Helsinki
  • 2018, Doctor of Social Sciences (Social Policy), University of Turku
  • 2008, Master in Social Sciences (Social Policy), University of Turku

Professional background

  • PhD researcher, 2016-2017, University of Turku
  • 2015, Visiting scholar, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • 2009-2015, Doctoral Candidate and University teacher positions, University of Turku

Language skills

  • Finnish (native)
  • Swedish (good)
  • English (fluent)
  • German (fluent)
  • Spanish (fluent)

Current projects

Past projects

Selected publications

PhD thesis

Jokela, Merita (2018) The layers of inequality in paid domestic labour: a global study on domestic workers and precarious work. University of Turku.

Articles in refereed journals

  • Elomäki, A. & Mesiäislehto, M. (2022) The COVID-19 crisis and gender equality in Finland. Finnish Journal of Social Research 15.
  • Kärkkäinen S, Mesiäislehto M, Sirniö O, Karvonen S, Kauppinen T. The role of social transfers in mitigating families with children from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Int J Social Welfare, 1– 17.  
  • Mesiäislehto, Merita, Moisio, Pasi & Ilmakunnas, Ilari (2022) Do Red-Flagged Clients Exit Social Assistance Earlier than Others? The Case of the Finnish Social Assistance System. Social Policy & Society  
  • Tervola, Jussi, Mesiäislehto, Merita & Ollonqvist, Joonas (2022) Smaller net or just fewer to catch? Disentangling the causes for the varying sizes of minimum income schemes. International Journal of Social Welfare
  • Mesiäislehto, Merita, Kivipelto, Minna & Ylikännö, Minna (2022) Social assistance beneficiaries’ access to social services in a digitalised social assistance system. Sozialer Fortschritt 71(6/7)
  • Mesiäislehto, Merita, Jauhiainen, Signe, Korpela, Tuija and Tuori, Sami. "Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on employment and social benefit receipt in Finland" Zeitschrift für Sozialreform, vol. 68, no. 1, 2022, pp. 7-27.  
  • Mesiäislehto, Merita, Näre, Lena & Wide, Elisabeth (2022) Kotitaloustyön poliittinen talous ja moninaisen eriarvoisuuden muodot. Poliittinen talous, 10.  
  • Hakovirta, Mia & Mesiäislehto, Merita (2021) Lone mothers and child support receipt in 21 European countries. Journal of International and Comparative Social Policy. 
  • Mesiäislehto, Merita, Kivipelto, Mia & Hiilamo, Heikki (2021) Social workers’ perceptions on clients’ service needs and social work practices during the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Comparative Social Work, 16(2), 9-35.
  • Hakovirta, Mia, Skinner Christine, Hiilamo, Heikki & Jokela, Merita (2020) Child poverty, child maintenance payments and interactions with social assistance benefits among lone parent families: a comparative analysis. Journal of Social Policy 49(1): 19-39
  • Hakovirta, Mia & Jokela, Merita (2019) Contribution of child maintenance on lone mothers’ income in five welfare states. Journal of European Social Policy 29(2): 257-272
  • Cuesta, Laura, Hakovirta, Mia & Jokela, Merita (2018) The antipoverty effectiveness of child support: Empirical evidence for Latin American countries. Social Policy & Administration 52(6):1233-1251
  • Jokela, Merita (2019) Patterns of Precarious Employment in a Female-Dominated Sector in Five Welfare States—The Case of Paid Domestic Labor Sector. Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State & Society, Volume 26, Issue 1, Spring 2019: 30–58
  • Blofield, Merike & Jokela, Merita (2018) Paid domestic work and the struggles of care workers in Latin America. Current Sociology 66(4): 531–546
  • Jokela, Merita (2017) The role of domestic employment policies in shaping precarious work. Social Policy & Administration 51(2):286-307
  • Jokela, Merita (2015) Macro-level determinants of paid domestic labour prevalence: A cross-national analysis of 74 countries. Social Policy and Society 14(3): 385-405

Working papers and project reports 

Book chapters

  • Marchetti, Sabrina & Mesiäislehto, Merita (forthcoming) Migrants in Europe’s Domestic and Care Sector: The Institutional Response. In: Mignon Duffy, Amy Armenia, Kim Price-Glynn. From Crisis to Catastrophe: Care, Covid, and Pathways to Change. Rutgers University Press.
  • Van Gerven, Minna, Malava, Tuuli, Mesiäislehto, Merita & Saikku, Peppi (2022). Different pathways to employment (POLKU). In: Linda Hantrais (ed.) How to Manage International Multidisciplinary Research Projects. Elgar Online. Pp. 150-161.
  • Jokela, Merita (2020) Examining the role of institutions in shaping migrant reproductive labour. In: Aart-Jan Riekhoff and Nicol Savinetti (eds): Shaping and Re-Shaping the Boundaries of Working Life. Tampere University Press
  • Kivipelto, Minna, Jokela, Merita, Blomgren, Sanna & Perlinski, Marek (2020) Social sustainability and the organization of social work from the perspective of Finnish adult social work practitioners. In: Hänninen, Sakari, Lehtelä, Kirsi-Maria and Saikkonen Paula (eds): The Relational Nordic Welfare State: Between Utopia and Ideology. Edward Elgar Publishing

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