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How Welfare States Shape the Democratic Public

How Welfare States Shape the Democratic Public

Policy Feedback, Participation, Voting, and Attitudes

Globalization and Welfare series

Edited by Staffan Kumlin and Isabelle Stadelmann-Steffen

Staffan Kumlin and Isabelle Stadelmann-Steffen bring together political scientists and sociologists from different and frequently separated research communities to examine policy feedback in European welfare states. In doing so, they offer a rich menu of different methodological approaches. The book demonstrates how long-term policy legacies and short-term policy change affect the public, but also shows that such processes are contingent on individual characteristics and political context.

Chapter 6: Labour market policies and party preferences of fixed-term workers

Paul Marx and Georg Picot

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


Most advanced welfare states have seen a rise in so-called non-standard employment, that is, dependent work other than permanent full-time jobs, which are well integrated into social insurance (e.g. Kalleberg, 2000). One important type of non-standard work is temporary forms of employment, in particular fixed-term contracts. This development has spurred considerable interest among welfare state scholars who mostly stressed the exclusion of non-standard workers from stable jobs and adequate social protection (e.g. Davidsson and Naczyk, 2009; Emmenegger et al., 2012). It also has brought up a debate about the political implications of this labour market transformation. It has been argued that non-standard workers are not represented by social democratic parties (Rueda, 2005) and that their economic grievances may lead to political alienation or radicalization (King and Rueda, 2008). While others have contested that individual labour market status itself is strong enough a factor to guide political preferences(Emmenegger, 2009; H‰usermann and Schwander, 2012), empirical studies have found some evidence for this effect (Burgoon and Dekker, 2010; Marx and Picot, 2013; Lindvall and Rueda, 2012).

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