Values and Social Policy in Comparative Perspective
Edited by Wim van Oorschot, Michael Opiekla and Birgit Pfau-Effinger
Chapter 13: Popular Deservingness Perceptions and Conditionality of Solidarity in Europe
13. Popular deservingness perceptions and conditionality of solidarity in Europe Wim van Oorschot INTRODUCTION In all welfare states social protection is unequally divided, that is, it is more easily accessible, more generous, longer lasting, and/or less subjected to reciprocal obligations for some groups than for other groups. For instance, elderly people and disabled people can usually rely more strongly on less stigmatizing beneﬁts than unemployed people; widows are usually better protected by national beneﬁt schemes than divorced women; core workers can mostly rely on more generous and comprehensive social insurance schemes than peripheral workers, etc. Such diﬀerential treatment may reﬂect various considerations of policy-makers. These may be economic (less protection for less productive groups (Holliday, 2000)), political (better protection for groups with stronger lobbies (Baldwin, 1990)), or cultural (better protection for ‘our kind of’ people, or for ‘well-behaving’ people (Deacon, 2002)). Obviously, policy-makers who ration welfare rights and obligations act in an economic, political, and cultural context. By now, a large academic literature exists on the economic and political factors aﬀecting welfare policy-making (Barr, 1992; Pierson, 2001), but the analysis of cultural inﬂuences has only recently been given more attention. Here we aim at contributing to an understanding of the popular cultural context of welfare rationing by examining European public perceptions of the relative deservingness of needy groups and variations in conditionality among Europeans. We examined public deservingness perceptions by analysing the degree to which the citizens of European welfare states show diﬀerent...
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