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 12: Deservingness in Social Assistance Administrative Practice: A Factorial Survey Approach

Marjolijn De Wilde


The interaction between public policy and public opinion is a recurrent issue in the study of welfare deservingness (De Swaan et al., 2000). However, very few studies link opinions about deservingness to the actual treatment of welfare claimants. Several studies provide insights into the treatment of claimants in relation to their characteristics, which determine their eligibility for benefits. These analyses are nevertheless mostly based on official registration data (Bargain, Immervoll and Viitamäki, 2012; Carpentier, Neels and Van den Bosch, 2014) that include static information, such as gender, age, nationality background, parenthood, housing situation, level of education and employment history. Important elements including attitude, motivation, mental health and addiction are seldom recorded officially, in spite of the fact that they align with the traditional CARIN deservingness criteria. Furthermore, registration data does not generally allow for analyses at the case manager level.

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