Research at SOFI is focused on four major areas where social institutions shape individual living conditions and life chances – institutions related to labour markets, welfare states, families, and gender. Our work is characterized by theoretically informed empirical analyses of questions having scientific as well as practical importance. Both economists and sociologists strive for international recognitions and competitiveness in their own disciplines. We submit our research to major journals and participate in leading international research networks within their disciplines.

In our research, comparative analysis across advanced industrial societies has long been an integral feature. While the study of a single country across time can be helpful in assessing the impact of institutional factors, comparisons between countries tend to be much more useful by taking a larger institutional variation into account. We have invested heavily in the creation of large longitudinal data bases, some of which offer internationally unique research opportunities.

Through reorganisation of the Institute for Labour Market Research (which was founded in 1966 and was a part of Stockholm University), the Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI) was founded on January 1st, 1972 as an independent entity and was thereafter incorporated into Stockholm University on July 1st, 1981, and into the Faculty of Social Sciences on July 1st, 1994. It has always been located at Stockholm University. It has grown from around 20 persons at the start to about 70 in 2008.

Following the statutes, research has focused on the labour market and social issues. Academically, researchers belong to economics and sociology (with only few exceptions over time). Sociologists are informally divided into two research groups, one working on level of living issues and one on social policy. The economists are mainly labour economists. The institute’s six professorships are directed towards labour market issues, level of living and social policy.

SOFI has close ties with the economics and sociology departments at Stockholm University. SOFI researchers teach at these departments and, in particular, the professors offer graduate courses in their specialties. SOFI also recruits students from the departments’ graduate programs. These graduate students get office space at SOFI and are thus integrated into the daily research environment at the institute where they also have their thesis advisors. Since 1986, over 60 doctoral theses have been produced at the institute. SOFI also hosts a separate undergraduate program in industrial relations (AKPA). AKPA's home page