Attitudes to Welfare Deservingness
Edited by Wim van Oorschot, Femke Roosma, Bart Meuleman and Tim Reeskens
Chapter 15: Leap of Faith or Judgment of Deservingness? Generalized Trust, Trust in Immigrants and Support for the Welfare State
In several chapters in this book it is demonstrated that views about deservingness affect support for the welfare state. Citizens seem to have the capacity to judge deservingness by applying multiple criteria to individual situations and to broad groups, and to draw conclusions about policy accordingly. This chapter, however, puts the deservingness storyline to the test by contrasting it with the view that it is more generalized trust in, and perceptions of, ‘most people’ that really structure support for the welfare state. From this viewpoint, judging deservingness is difficult and time consuming, and citizens do not always have the necessary information. They might therefore rely on generalized heuristics and shortcuts and decide whether to take a ‘leap of faith’ and trust recipients to conform to norms for deservingness. Therefore, it may not be perceptions and attitudes concerning specific groups that matter, but instead deeper, stable inclinations to trust and think well of people in general.
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