The Social Legitimacy of Targeted Welfare
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The Social Legitimacy of Targeted Welfare

Attitudes to Welfare Deservingness

Edited by Wim van Oorschot, Femke Roosma, Bart Meuleman and Tim Reeskens

This book addresses new perspectives on the perceived popular deservingness of target groups of social services and benefits, offering new insights and analysis to this quickly developing field of welfare attitudes research. It provides an up-to-date state of the art in terms of concepts, theories, research methods and data. The book offers a multi-disciplinary view on deservingness attitudes, with contributions from sociology, political science, media studies and social psychology. It links up with central welfare state debates about the allocation of collective resources between groups with particular needs, and wider categories of need.
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Chapter 3: The Relative Importance of Welfare Deservingness Criteria

Tim Reeskens and Tom van der Meer


The reason why particular target groups are perceived by the general public as more deserving of welfare provision than other groups can often be understood from how people apply the five CARIN deservingness criteria. For instance, as explained in Chapter 1 of this volume, using the CARIN criteria, we can explain why the general public usually perceives the elderly as the most deserving of welfare support, whereas immigrants are regarded as the most undeserving group. In literature about welfare deservingness – with reference to the criteria – a ‘universal’ rank order of deservingness is suggested to exist, however, as shown in Chapter 2 in this volume, this idea may be subject to criticism. Apart from the issue of the rank order of deservingness, another important question that has not been addressed in detail in the literature to date concerns whether each of the five CARIN criteria plays an equal role in people’s deservingness opinions, or whether in some circumstances, some criteria carry more weight than others.

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