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 9: Making Deservingness of the Unemployed Conditional: Changes in Public Support for the Conditionality of Unemployment Benefits

Christopher Buß, Bernhard Ebbinghaus and Elias Naumann


Stricter conditions for the unemployed to receive benefits have been on the political agenda for more than two decades ever since the ‘activation turn’. Although the welfare state has persisted due to its high popularity (Brooks and Manza, 2007), there have been inroads in public opinion on making benefits more conditional, in particular for the long-term unemployed. Indeed, previous research suggests that the population generally supports conditions attached to social benefits (Houtman, 1997; Larsen, 2008): social rights are granted to the needy not without obligations (Marshall, 1950). Attributions of (un)deservingness are of particular relevance in individual attitudes towards social policy.

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