Chapter 4: Welfare chauvinism across countries
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Using cross-national public opinion and macro-level data, Chapter 4 demonstrates that welfare chauvinism is widespread in the European public and that reciprocity is an important criterion for welfare access. The chapter also demonstrates that welfare chauvinism varies significantly across countries and that welfare chauvinism is not restricted to particular regions, such as Eastern European countries. It also appears that welfare chauvinism varies significantly across different socioeconomic status groups. Chapter 4 focuses particularly on education since studies have found higher education to be one of the strongest predictors of pro-migrant attitudes, also related to welfare provisions for migrants. While higher-educated individuals appear, on average, less welfare chauvinist than lower-educated individuals, this effect is not a universal one. Economic and cultural contexts in particular shape the education cleavage systematically across countries. For example, in national contexts with more precarious economies and authoritarian norms the education effect can disappear or even reverse. For such countries, the results can be explained by the higher-educated individuals tending to feel more economic anxiety and adapting more to societal norms than their lower-educated counterparts. The results point towards shifting the focus to institutions and those who shape them to understand growing polarisation and inequality in society.

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