The Future of the Welfare State

The Future of the Welfare State

Social Policy Attitudes and Social Capital in Europe

Edited by Heikki Ervasti, Jørgen Goul Andersen, Torben Fridberg and Kristen Ringdal

At a time when welfare states in Europe are coming under increasing pressure from both growing demand and, in some countries, severe financial austerity measures, the attitudes of ordinary people and European social cohesion are much debated. Using data from the European Social Survey, these empirical analyses examine welfare state attitudes and draw conclusions for the future. Theoretically the book is linked to analyses of altering social risks, policy challenges, policy changes and policy performance of the European welfare states. The analyses in the book explore a variety of individual and macro-level determinants of welfare policy attitudes ranging from socio-economic factors to religiosity, but a special emphasis is laid on solidarity, social cohesion and social capital among European nations.

Chapter 3: The Impact of Perceived and Actual Unemployment Benefit Generosity and Unemployment Rates on the Employment Security of Workers

Heejung Chung and Wim van Oorschot

Subjects: politics and public policy, european politics and policy, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, welfare states


Heejung Chung and Wim van Oorschot INTRODUCTION Employment security is becoming an increasingly important policy goal in Europe. In the European Commission’s communication on flexicurity, emphasis is given to the move from job security towards employment security (CEC, 2007). Individuals’ perception of employment insecurity is important for various reasons. First, for the successful implementation of flexicurity policies it is important that individuals feel secure. This is due to the fact that individuals who do not feel secure may also be reluctant to accept increased flexibility in the labour market or changes to social security systems. Second, job and employment insecurity has been shown to have dire consequences for one’s mental and physical health as well as well-being (Ashford et al., 1989; Clark et al., 2010; Ferrie, 2001; Hellgren et al., 1999; Näswall and De Witte, 2003; Sverke and Hellgren, 2002). This could then eventually impact labour market performance, not only for individuals and companies, but for society overall. For these reasons, it is important to understand which individuals under which conditions are more susceptible to job and employment insecurities. Although there have been studies concerning the job insecurity of individuals, to date there has been little investigation concerning the employment security of individuals, due to data limitations. For this reason, it is also unclear exactly which individuals perceive their employment status to be insecure, and whether various national policies, especially flexicurity institutions, impact individuals’ perception of security. Of the various institutions, unemployment benefit schemes have been seen to have...

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