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Welfare Attitudes in a Changing Europe

Research project The project aims to set up a comprehensive research programme on citizens’ attitudes towards welfare policies across European countries. Our research will focus on the interactions between individual welfare attitudes and behaviour, institutional contexts and structural variables.

The project aims to set up a comprehensive research programme on citizens’ attitudes towards welfare policies across European countries. Our research will focus on the interactions between individual welfare attitudes and behaviour, institutional contexts and structural variables. The project is expected to provide essential input to the interdisciplinary field of comparative studies of welfare state attitudes and to offer critical insights for the public legitimacy of welfare state reform. The project is mainly, but by no means exclusively, based on data from a new module for the European Social Survey 2008, Welfare Attitudes in a Changing Europe.

Project overview

Project period

2009-01-01 2011-12-31

Funding

Finansår , 2009, 2010, 2011

huvudman: Stefan Svallfors, finansiar: FAS, y2009: 1018, y2010: 1018, y2011: 1018,

Research subject

Sociology

Project description

The project aims to set up a comprehensive research programme on citizens’ attitudes towards welfare policies across European countries. Our research will focus on the interactions between individual welfare attitudes and behaviour, institutional contexts and structural variables. The project is expected to provide essential input to the interdisciplinary field of comparative studies of welfare state attitudes and to offer critical insights for the public legitimacy of welfare state reform. The project is mainly, but by no means exclusively, based on data from a new module for the European Social Survey 2008, Welfare Attitudes in a Changing Europe.

The main dependent variables in our conceptual model are welfare attitudes, composed of orientations towards (a) welfare state scope and responsibilities; (b) collective financing; (c) different models of welfare; (d) service delivery; and (e) the target groups and receivers of welfare. Another set of dependent variables concerns evaluations of the welfare state, for example in terms of (a) the task performance of the welfare state; (b) the economic consequences of welfare policies; and (c) the moral and social consequences of welfare policies. The model explains these welfare attitudes as a function of a set of predispositions including interpersonal and institutional trust, risk and threat perceptions, beliefs about welfare policies, social values, and personal experiences.

At the individual level, these predispositions, in turn, are expected to vary as a function of the risks and resources individuals and groups are differentially exposed to and endowed with. At the country level, the predispositions are expected to vary mainly as a function of (a) institutional settings; (b) the composition and power resources of different claimant groups and political actors; (c) the prevailing discourse on social policy matters in different countries.