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Public opinion towards targeted labour market policies: A vignette study on the perceived deservingness of the unemployed

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Abstract

The issue of welfare targeting is back on the political agenda in European welfare states. Benefit recipients are subject to different rules, depending on age, family status and work. For instance, strict conditions and harsh sanctions apply, in particular, to young unemployed people. This article investigates public opinion towards welfare targeting in three policy areas – unemployment benefits, conditionality of benefits and sanctions – and utilizes a factorial vignette experiment presented within a representative German survey. The results suggest strong support for welfare targeting. Respondents are more likely to offer generous benefits and fewer obligations and sanctions to unemployed people who are elderly, have caring responsibilities, are of German ethnicity and have high job-seeking ambitions. The negative effect of foreign ethnicity is moderated by the ideological standpoint of the respondent, highlighting the mechanisms underlying welfare chauvinism. Accordingly, policy support strongly depends on the individual circumstances of the affected target group.

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... By consequence, unemployed persons are likely to see these measures as running against their personal interest. Existing empirical research has indeed shown that (past) experience of unemployment makes people more likely to oppose strict conditions for job acceptance and sanctions, even after controlling for one's ideological position (Buss, 2018;Carriero and Filandri, 2018;Fossati, 2018;Rossetti et al., 2021). A broader interpretation of self-interest theory does not only focus on the current situation, but also takes the perceived probability of experiencing a 'bad event' in the future (Rehm, 2016: 60). ...
... The content of popular stereotypes about the unemployed contains a mixture of control over their own predicament, failure to reciprocate and an ungrateful attitude (Meuleman et al., 2020). Hence, those who see the unemployed as undeserving are more likely to support demanding activation measures (Buss, 2018;Laenen and Meuleman, 2018). At the individual level, previous work has established a link between individuals' socio-economic position and perceptions whether people are personally responsible for becoming unemployed (Danckert, 2017). ...
... 4 These differences in support for obligations can be understood in terms of deservingness theory: people's evaluations about whether an unemployed person should receive benefits are contingent on the deservingness-related personal characteristics and conditions. Previous research (Buss, 2018;Larsen, 2008) shows that young unemployed people are considered to have control over their situation (they can more easily find a new job) and to have contributed less to the system than older unemployed workers. Single parents, on the other hand, are more likely to receive support and lenience because they are perceived to be more in need and to have less control over finding a new job (Buss, 2018). ...
Article
In recent decades, European welfare states have adopted demanding active labour market policies (ALMPs), aimed at increasing labour market participation through imposing stricter work-related obligations and benefit cuts in case of job offer rejection. This article investigates whether support for such demanding ALMPs is driven by risk perceptions of future unemployment and negative stereotypes about unemployed persons. Insights into the role of risk perceptions and stereotypes offer opportunities to gain a better understanding of the impact of structural variables. Drawing on data from the European Social Survey 2016 in 21 European countries, the analysis reveals that higher subjective risk of unemployment decreases support for these ALMPs substantially, whereas negative perceptions of the unemployed increase support. However, these factors play at the individual level only and do not explain country-level differences in support of demanding ALMPs. The notable cross-national variation in support of activation policies is found to be unrelated to economic factors and to the strictness of activation requirements for unemployment benefits.
... Examples of such demanding-measures include sanctioning for a lack of job search or broadening the definition of acceptable jobs (Eichhorst and Konle-Seidl 2008). However, the strictness of demanding ALMPs differs between target groups and some groups like older people are usually exempted from harsh sanctions and strict conditionality (Buss 2019;Larsen 2008;Petersen et al. 2011). At the same time, the growing demand for citizens to be productive members of a society increasingly applies to older individuals as well, as active ageing policies have become a central part of the policy agenda in response to the challenges of ageing populations. ...
... In line with previous research, we find public support for imposing sanctions on unemployed who do not adhere to job search requirements (Buss 2019;Fossati 2018;Larsen 2008). We show that support for sanctions varies with the institutional context and we find more support for demanding ALMPs in countries with stricter labour market policies. ...
... We show that unemployed persons in their 50s are punished less than younger unemployed. Our results in general confirm expectations derived from the deservingness argument, which suggests that older workers are perceived as more deserving of help and should be less punished for not accepting a job offer (Buss 2019) since they have usually already contributed to the social system (reciprocity), and have more difficulties in finding a new job (control) (Larsen 2008). Nevertheless, this paper also shows that the country context affects the willingness to punish old and young unemployed differently. ...
Article
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The public opinion literature has found that the age of the benefit recipient is an important determinant in the formation of welfare state attitudes. Older people are perceived as more deserving of help and also punished less for not accepting a job. We argue that such a preferential treatment of older people depends on the social and economic context. In this article, we examine public support for demanding active labour market policies in 21 European countries. Relying on a survey experiment varying the age of the unemployed person, our analysis confirms that older unemployed are punished less than younger unemployed for not accepting a job offer. However, this effect varies between countries and our evidence suggests that support for exempting older individuals from demanding active labour market policies disappears as societies age. Moreover, support for stricter sanctions in general is higher in countries with a higher unemployment rate and in countries that already have rather strict active labour market policies. These findings question the public’s role as a veto player in the reform process as it seems unlikely that public opinion will block attempts to further strengthen demanding active labour market policies.
... Since EP Thompson (1971) first introduced the notion of moral economy, the focus has been on the role played by self-interest and normative concerns in the context of the social acceptance of particular welfare measures and the distinction between who should and who should not be helped (Kohli, 1987;Taylor-Gooby et al., 2019). However, only a few studies investigate variation in support for welfare conditionality, i.e. the growing political emphasis on the introduction of work obligations for beneficiaries (Buss, 2018;Buss et al., 2017;Larsen, 2008b;Roosma and Jeene, 2017). Therefore, there is a lack of knowledge about the social legitimacy of such policies. ...
... Previous research points to a number of factors in the formation of opinions about deservingness. While early investigations focused on individual-level factors and explanations (Buss, 2018;Jeene et al., 2013;Van Oorschot, 2000), the field has now moved towards an understanding of deservingness opinions as embedded in the broader context in which people live (Laenen and Meuleman, 2017;Van Oorschot, 2006). Individual characteristics are generally considered either as indicators of self-interest (e.g. ...
... The coefficient for the pain domain is approximately twice the size of the coefficient reported in Table 2 when all vignettes were included. Previous research suggests that the deservingness criteria may be used also to analyse within group differences in perception (Buss, 2018;Larsen, 2008b;Roosma and Jeene, 2017). In this view, need and lack of control are clearly more visible in situations of pain than for CVD or depression. ...
Article
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This article contributes to classical debates about the role of self-interest and social norms in shaping the moral economy of work and welfare by incorporating economic inequalities in the analysis of opinions about welfare deservingness. The relationship between inequality and perceptions of work conditionality has received little attention in previous studies. This article addresses this issue by investigating the association between economic inequalities and perceived work limitations of disabled people experiencing various conditions related to health using vignettes from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. The results show that people living in areas with higher levels of wealth inequality, but not income inequality, were more likely to rate the vignettes as limited in the amount of work that individuals can do due to health problems. This finding casts doubts on the crucial role attributed to self-interest as the central mechanism linking economic inequality and solidaristic, pro-welfare attitudes.
... With regard to the German basic income support scheme, which is the relevant framework for this study, factorial surveys that experimentally modified characteristics and behaviour patterns of hypothetical unemployed individuals have provided insights into the relevant decision cues. Apart from the individual needoperationalised, for example, by children living in the household or the age of the welfare claimant -, control and reciprocity have been found to be important decisions heuristics for judgements about deservingness: respondents awarded significantly lower levels of benefits to unemployed individuals who were seen to be responsible for their situation and who made little effort to find employment again than to individuals who had lost their job as a result of their employer's bankruptcy and were actively looking for a new job (Hörstermann and Andreß, 2015;Buss, 2019). Deservingness criteria were also linked to judgements about the obligations of the unemployed (Buss, 2019): whether respondents considered unemployed persons to be obliged to move to another city for work, take any available job or participate in training courses was influenced by the factor of children living in the household (need) and the name of the claimants (identity). ...
... Apart from the individual needoperationalised, for example, by children living in the household or the age of the welfare claimant -, control and reciprocity have been found to be important decisions heuristics for judgements about deservingness: respondents awarded significantly lower levels of benefits to unemployed individuals who were seen to be responsible for their situation and who made little effort to find employment again than to individuals who had lost their job as a result of their employer's bankruptcy and were actively looking for a new job (Hörstermann and Andreß, 2015;Buss, 2019). Deservingness criteria were also linked to judgements about the obligations of the unemployed (Buss, 2019): whether respondents considered unemployed persons to be obliged to move to another city for work, take any available job or participate in training courses was influenced by the factor of children living in the household (need) and the name of the claimants (identity). Whether or not respondents agreed with sanctioning unemployed persons depended primarily on the behaviour of the unemployed and the reasons for unemployment (reciprocity, control). ...
... What has become clear, though, is that both professional and public judgements reflect normative principles institutionalised in current legislation. In factorial surveys, the individual behaviour of unemployed people constituted a delineating line between the more and less deserving unemployed: respondents awarded significantly more benefits to unemployed individuals who showed efforts to end their situation of unemployment (Hörstermann and Andreß, 2015;Buss, 2019). In a similar way, street-level judgements take the compliance with legal requirements and norms such as cooperation with the jobcentre into account and vary the intensity of 'demand' according to the fulfilling of reciprocity expectations. ...
Article
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This article examines how jobcentre advisors judge the individual deservingness of their clients and investigates what role these judgements play in translating activation policies into practice. The analysis draws on qualitative data gathered in a research project on back-to-work agreements that involved several German jobcentres. It is shown that advisors vary the intensity of ‘demand’ depending on whether benefit recipients fulfil reciprocity expectations and are deemed to have control over the unemployment situation. Whether or not they choose an enabling, supporting approach, and the extent to which they do so, depends on judgements about the client’s amenability to change and the presumed outcome of labour market policy instruments. Moreover, the analysis indicates that frontline workers use experiential cues such as appearance and self-presentation in the face-to-face encounters in order to interpret the client. The findings highlight the relevance of the normative dimension of frontline work.
... Real-world images of benefit claimants do not signal these criteria directly; instead we see 'characteristics that influence deservingness' (Buss, 2019), and these do not neatly map onto criteria. For example, the characteristic of older age has been argued to connote both greater reciprocity (older people are likely to have paid into the system for longer) and lower control (older unemployed people are likely to find it harder to get work) (Buss, 2019;van Oorschot and Roosma, 2017). ...
... Real-world images of benefit claimants do not signal these criteria directly; instead we see 'characteristics that influence deservingness' (Buss, 2019), and these do not neatly map onto criteria. For example, the characteristic of older age has been argued to connote both greater reciprocity (older people are likely to have paid into the system for longer) and lower control (older unemployed people are likely to find it harder to get work) (Buss, 2019;van Oorschot and Roosma, 2017). Characteristics can also be ambiguous in terms of the deservingness criteria they reflect; for example, efforts to find work can be taken to reflect control (Buss, 2019) or reciprocity (Reeskens and van der Meer, 2019). ...
... For example, the characteristic of older age has been argued to connote both greater reciprocity (older people are likely to have paid into the system for longer) and lower control (older unemployed people are likely to find it harder to get work) (Buss, 2019;van Oorschot and Roosma, 2017). Characteristics can also be ambiguous in terms of the deservingness criteria they reflect; for example, efforts to find work can be taken to reflect control (Buss, 2019) or reciprocity (Reeskens and van der Meer, 2019). In other words, while the logic of deservingness judgements can best be understood through the CARIN criteria, in practice these are communicated indirectly via characteristics. ...
Article
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While disability benefits make up the largest group of claimants in high-income countries, we know surprisingly little about which disabled people are seen as ‘deserving’ benefits, nor whether different people in different countries judge deservingness-related characteristics similarly. This is surprising given they are increasingly the focus of retrenchment, which often affirms the deservingness of ‘truly deserving’ disabled people while focusing cuts and demands on those ‘less deserving’. This article addresses this gap using two vignette-based factorial survey experiments: (i) the nine-country ‘Stigma in Global Context – Mental Health Study’ (SGC-MHS); (ii) a new YouGov survey in Norway/the UK, together with UK replication. I find a hierarchy of symptoms/impairments, from wheelchair use (perceived as most deserving), to schizophrenia and back pain, fibromyalgia, depression and finally asthma (least deserving). Direct manipulations of deservingness-related characteristics also influence judgements, including membership of ethnic/racial ingroups and particularly blameworthiness and medical legitimation. In contrast, the effects of work ability, age and work history are relatively weak, particularly when compared to the effects on unemployed claimants. Finally, for non-disabled unemployed claimants, I confirm previous findings that right-wingers respond more strongly to deservingness-related characteristics, but Norwegians and Britons respond similarly. For disabled claimants, however, the existing picture is challenged, with, for example, Britons responding more strongly to these characteristics than Norwegians. I conclude by drawing together the implications for policy, particularly the politics of disability benefits, the role of medical legitimation and the legitimacy challenges of the increasing role of mental health in disability benefit recipiency.
... However, does the public support workfare? Although recent studies show that current employment status significantly affects workfare support, we know less about how risk affects such support (Buss, 2018;Fossati, 2018). More precisely, do automation-threatened routine workers support workfare? ...
... Our article contributes to a burgeoning literature on individual-level determinants of workfare support (Buss, 2018;Fossati, 2018;Garritzmann et al., 2018). Earlier studies studied workfare within the framework of other labour market policies (Clasen et al., 2016): determinants of support for workfare were not well distinguished from determinants of support for these other policies (Fossati, 2018). ...
... These conditions include making access to welfare and unemployment benefits conditional on participation in labour market training programmes and active job search. Workfare may also require unemployed workers to accept jobs that pay lower wages (Buss, 2018), differ from an unemployed worker's previous occupation (Knotz, 2018), or require skills which she does not readily possess (Fossati, 2018). Non-compliance may lead to pauses or cuts to unemployment benefits. ...
Article
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Automation has permeated workplaces and threatens labour in the production process. Concurrently, European governments have expanded workfare which imposes stringent conditions and sanctions on unemployed workers after the onset of austerity. We explore how automation risk affects workfare support. Recent research finds that most routine workers ‘survive’ in their routine jobs. Despite avoiding unemployment, routine workers may face the threat of status decline as automation erodes the value of routine work. They may respond by differentiating themselves from lower-ranked social groups such as unemployed workers. Such boundary drawing may manifest views that the unemployed are less deserving of welfare. We thus posit that routine workers may support workfare to assuage their fears of status decline. We further explore if worsening economic hardship, proxied as rising unemployment rates over time, increases their support for workfare. We conducted pooled and multilevel analyses using data from the European Social Survey. We find that routine workers significantly support workfare. We also find that routine workers support workfare when economic hardship worsens, but oppose it when conditions ameliorate. Findings suggest that status threat is an important channel by which automation risk may affect workfare support, but its impact depends on social context, hence yielding country-differences. Worsening economic hardship may exacerbate routine workers’ status decline fears, and intensify their harsh views against unemployed workers. Automation risk may thus have a greater impact on workfare support under such conditions. Policymakers can use these findings to assess how workfare may be publicly received and under various economic conditions.
... Their results show that in relation to one another, reciprocity, control and foreign origin matter most. Hörstermann and Andreß (2015) and Buss (2019) find that there are important differences in perceived deservingness within the group of the unemployed. Hörstermann and Andreß (2015) investigate which criteria the participants of an online study use to assess the deservingness of recipients of Germany's means-tested basic income support. ...
... While most of the studies use the amount of benefits as an outcome variable, Buss (2019) shows that respondents also vary their judgements regarding the harshness of sanctions and the conditions for benefit receipts according to the criteria identified by Which Duration of Unemployment Benefits is Perceived as Being Just for Which Groups? deservingness theory. ...
... They are also well established in empirical justice research (Jasso, 2006;Liebig et al., 2015). In the social policy field, they have recently been applied to varied research questions, such as perceptions of fairness regarding wage settlements (Pfeifer et al., 2017) and the perceived deservingness of welfare claimants (Hörstermann and Andreß, 2015;Buss, 2019;Reeskens and van der Meer, 2019). Each of our vignettes describes a fictitious jobseeker who has recently become unemployed and has different attributes that are relevant from a theory perspective. ...
Article
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Welfare states allocate and redistribute resources across different groups. For the social legitimacy of welfare states, public support of redistributive processes and outcomes is crucial. An important aspect in this context is the deservingness or non-deservingness of benefit recipients from the perspective of those who both financially contribute to the system and potentially benefit from it. We invited a random sample of the German labour force to participate in an online-survey. Using a factorial survey experiment, we described fictitious unemployed persons with different attributes and asked survey participants on the just maximum benefit duration for each particular case. Judgements regarding just benefit durations vary along the criteria of reciprocity, control, attitude and need: Respondents grant longer unemployment benefits to older jobseekers, as well as to jobseekers who became involuntarily unemployed, had stable employment careers, have to care for the elderly or are sole earners in the household.
... With regards to unemployed workers, these policies impose restrictive conditions and obligations on their unemployment benefit recipiency. They may include accepting any available jobs, even worse ones that may impose income or status loss (Buss, 2018;Fossati, 2018). When unemployed workers fail to meet these conditions, they face sanctions such as cuts to their unemployment benefits (Knotz, 2018). ...
... A burgeoning research shows that currently employed and unemployed workers differ in their support for demanding ALMPs (Buss, 2018;Fossati, 2018). Employed workers support demanding ALMPs, whereas unemployed workers oppose them. ...
... This study hence investigates: how does the risk of unemployment from automation affect individuallevel support for demanding ALMPs? It bridges an emerging body of research on determinants of individual-level support for demanding ALMPs to reach on automation (Buss, 2018;Fossati, 2018). It also contributes theoretically by disentangling the effects of unemployment risk from the effects of unemployment status on demanding ALMP support (see also Rovny & Rovny, 2017). ...
Article
How does unemployment risk affect workers’ support for demanding active labour market policies (ALMPs)? There may be a substantial number of workers who experience unemployment risk from labour market disruptions. Yet, we know less about its impact on demanding ALMP support than the impact of unemployment status. Here, I explore the impact of unemployment risk through automation. Automation-threatened workers’ support for demanding ALMPs may be influenced by two opposing considerations that are linked to their potential reliance on welfare. Firstly, they may worry about barriers to welfare access. Secondly, they may worry about welfare competition, especially under austerity. Their support for demanding ALMPs would hence depend on which consideration they find to be most salient. Based on European Social Survey (2016) data on West European countries, I find that automation-threatened workers significantly support such policies. This may indicate that they find welfare competition concerns more salient than welfare access ones.
... Our study introduces health status as a characteristic of unemployed persons that we expect to shape public opinion. Many recent contributions in this literature have argued that welfare attitudes contain various dimensions and thus called for differentiated measurements that distinguish between the generosity of benefits and the conditions under which they are granted or revoked (Gallego and Marx, 2017;Buß, 2018;Naumann et al., 2020). In this study, we follow this approach and use benefit levels, conditions, and sanctions as three outcomes, because we expect that sickness has different implications for each dimension. ...
... Therefore, individuals who are unemployed and sick may be considered as having low control. Previous research has shown that low control over one's unemployment status is associated with higher benefit levels (Buß, 2018) and thus we expect that sick unemployed persons are allocated benefit levels comparable to other groups with low control over their unemployment: H1: Individuals, who become unemployed due to a sickness receive similar levels of benefits than individuals who are healthy but have also low control over losing their job. ...
... Studies on attitudes on obligations and sanctions show that the support for these measures is quite substantial (Houtman, 1997;Buß, 2018;Naumann et al., 2020). However, obligations and sanctions are perceived differently depending on the characteristics of the described unemployed person. ...
Article
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The literature on the social legitimacy of welfare benefits has shown that sick persons are perceived more deserving than unemployed individuals. However, these studies examine sick and unemployed persons as distinct groups, while unemployment and sickness are in fact strongly related. Policymakers across Europe have been increasingly concerned with discouraging a medicalization of unemployment and activating sick unemployed persons. Therefore, it is crucial to understand welfare attitudes toward this group. Using a factorial survey fielded with a representative sample of German-speaking adults (N=2,621), we investigate how sickness affects attitudes toward a hypothetical unemployed person on three dimensions: benefit levels, conditions, and sanctions. Respondents allocated similar benefit levels to unemployed persons regardless of whether they have an illness. Yet, they were more hesitant to apply existing conditions (e.g., active job search, job training) or sanction benefits when the unemployed person was also sick. This is except for conditions that tie benefits to obligatory health services (back training or psychological counseling) which was supported by the majority of respondents. Our research shows that the German public is not more generous and only partially more lenient toward sick unemployed persons as there is strong support for conditions targeted at overcoming ill health for this group. The findings underscore that sickness matters for how unemployed persons are perceived, but the impact varies across different dimensions of welfare attitudes.
... Such stereotypes partially explain lower levels of support for welfare payments to young people (Larsen, 2008;Van Oorschot, 2000), immigrants (Heuer & Zimmermann, 2020;Van Oorschot, 2006) and potentially people of colour (though evidence on this is mixed : Ford, 2016;Kootstra, 2016). In this study, we add to a small but growing literature investigating how such biases affect sanctioning judgements specifically (Buss, 2019;Houtman, 1997;Naumann et al., 2020;Schram et al., 2009;Terum et al., 2018). Are claimants from stigmatised groups punished more harshly than other claimants for the same 'bad behaviour'? ...
... Previous research on bias in sanctioning judgements has found that, all else being equal, younger claimants are judged more deserving of sanctions than older claimants (Buss, 2019;Houtman, 1997;Naumann et al., 2020), and potentially that claimants of colour are also judged more harshly (though again the evidence is mixed : Schram et al., 2009;Buss, 2019;Terum et al., 2018). We also examine potential age, gender and ethnic biases; however, our primary focus is on the role of social class stereotypes in sanctioning judgements. ...
... Previous research on bias in sanctioning judgements has found that, all else being equal, younger claimants are judged more deserving of sanctions than older claimants (Buss, 2019;Houtman, 1997;Naumann et al., 2020), and potentially that claimants of colour are also judged more harshly (though again the evidence is mixed : Schram et al., 2009;Buss, 2019;Terum et al., 2018). We also examine potential age, gender and ethnic biases; however, our primary focus is on the role of social class stereotypes in sanctioning judgements. ...
Article
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In this study, we examine whether welfare deservingness judgements in the United Kingdom are affected by a bias against claimants from stigmatised social class backgrounds. In the United Kingdom, as in other countries, stereotypes of a perceived social ‘underclass’ are widespread. Political and media discourse frequently portrays members of this ‘underclass’ as lazy, feckless and not genuinely in need of support. Yet despite strong academic interest in perceived welfare deservingness, existing research has largely neglected the role of social class bias in deservingness judgements. To address this gap, we use a novel vignette experiment administered to a representative sample of British respondents to provide the first direct evidence of discrimination against welfare claimants with ‘underclass’ signifiers. We find that the British public are more likely to endorse a sanction against a claimant from an ‘underclass’ background than against an otherwise identical claimant from a less stigmatised class background. We also asked respondents to justify their decisions and, applying computational methods to analyse these free‐text responses, we find that ‘underclass’ claimants are more likely to be blamed for violating the conditions of their benefit, while claimants from other class backgrounds are more often given the ‘benefit of the doubt.’ Our findings have important implications for our understanding of the relationship between social class background and public deservingness perceptions, and potentially for the differential treatment of claimants by the benefits system.
... Those who place themselves towards the left are generally more in favour of welfare state spending and redistribution than those on the right (Jacoby, 1994). In a vignette study on support for targeted unemployment benefits, Buss (2018) shows that rightleaning individuals are significantly less supportive of unemployment benefits, and that this is motivated by the wish to exclude non-nationals from receiving these benefits. Ferrera and Pellegata (2018) report strong cross-country evidence that a more right-leaning ideology is associated with labour market chauvinism. ...
Article
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Amidst the European sovereign debt crisis and soaring unemployment levels across the European Union, ambitions for European unemployment policies are high on the political agenda. However, it remains unclear what European taxpayers think about these plans and who is most supportive of European unemployment policies. To contribute to this debate, we conducted a survey experiment concerning solidarity towards European and domestic unemployed individuals in the Netherlands and Spain. Our results suggest that (1) Europeans are less inclined to show solidarity towards unemployed Europeans than towards unemployed co-nationals, (2) individuals with higher education, European attachment, and pro-immigration attitudes show more solidarity towards unemployed people from other European countries, but (3) even they discriminate against foreigners, and (4) finally, economic left-right orientations do not structure solidarity with unemployed people from abroad.
... This deservingness gap exists across a range of welfare benefits and services, from cash benefits like unemployment insurance (Buss 2019) all the way to critical medical care, including in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic (M. H. Larsen and Schaeffer 2021; see also Eick and Larsen 2022). ...
Chapter
Migration and its consequences for the legitimacy of the welfare state have been the subject of a number of controversial discussions over the past several decades, and remain highly salient issues today. To be legitimate, welfare states need to function well and to deliver what is expected of them (“output-legitimacy”), but they also need to do so in a way that conforms with popular sentiments (“input-legitimacy”). Migration is likely to affect both dimensions of legitimacy. This chapter reviews the existing research on the relationship between migration and the welfare state and maps how international mobility and ethnic diversity interact with contemporary welfare states. In particular, we focus on the tension between the economic and fiscal rationale for more migration and the socio-political rationale for less migration, and spell out the conflicting policy imperatives and difficult tradeoffs involved. A central theme here is that welfare states often need migration to remain fiscally sustainable and to maintain their redistributive capacity, but migration may simultaneously undermine the political sustainability of inclusive welfare states. We also discuss a number of potential remedies to this tension, drawing, inter alia, on insights from research on prejudice and discrimination in social psychology.
... Initially, these CARIN criteria were used to explain why the general public considers some groups (such as the old and the sick) as more deserving than others (such as unemployed people and immigrants). Over the years, however, the CARIN model has been applied by many others as a source of inspiration to build different types of theoretical propositions and perform empirical analyses (for example, Buss, 2019;Hrast et al., 2018;Kallio and Kouvo, 2015;. Most notably, Wim supervised two different 4-year PhD projects that both brought greater conceptual clarification and empirical examination to the deservingness framework, each in their own unique way. ...
Book
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This Liber Amicorum for Wim van Oorschot is published at the occasion of his retirement as Professor of Social Policy at the Centre for Sociological Research, KU Leuven (Belgium). It is a collection of chapters written by his former and current students and colleagues. The different chapters cover a broad array of societally relevant topics but are all -each in their own unique way- related to Wim van Oorschot’s academic oeuvre. The first part of the book reflects on Wim’s remarkable career and his contributions to the social policy discipline. In the second part, different types of social policies, as well as their causes and consequences are analysed. The third part focuses on popular attitudes towards such social policies. Taken together, the book demonstrates the impressive width and depth of Wim’s academic work, which will continue to inspire many researchers in the years to come.
... Initially, these CARIN criteria were used to explain why the general public considers some groups (such as the old and the sick) as more deserving than others (such as unemployed people and immigrants). Over the years, however, the CARIN model has been applied by many others as a source of inspiration to build different types of theoretical propositions and perform empirical analyses (for example, Buss, 2019;Hrast et al., 2018;Kallio and Kouvo, 2015;Kootstra, 2016;Larsen, 2008). Most notably, Wim supervised two different 4-year PhD projects that both brought greater conceptual clarification and empirical examination to the deservingness framework, each in their own unique way. ...
... Tato metoda však bývá využívána také v jiných populacích. Respondenty mohou být například zaměstnavatelé (Damelang et al., 2019;Liechti et al., 2017;Protsch & Solga, 2017;De Wolf & Van der Velden, 2001) nebo také obecná populace (Buss, 2018;Auspurg & Gundert, 2015;Abraham et al., 2013;Abraham, Auspurg & Hinz, 2010). Specifickou skupinu tvoří aplikace vinětového testu v kvalitativních šetřeních (viz např. ...
Research
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Rychle se měnící sociální, technologické i ekonomické podmínky produkce i reprodukce vyžadují vysoký stupeň mobility a schopnost rychlé adaptace. V reakci na tyto požadavky zaměstnavatelů vyspělé země transformují své sociální státy z pasivních na aktivní a implementují aktivizační politiky. Úspěšnost implementace tohoto typu politik je kriticky závislá na liniových pracovnících, na jejich schopnostech správně diagnostikovat klienty a rozhodovat o odpovídajících způsobech intervence. Linioví pracovníci jsou stále častěji vnímáni nikoli jako ti, kdo politiky pouze implementují, ale jako ti, kteří je vytvářejí. Předkládaná studie si klade za cíl zjistit, jakým směrem a v jaké míře vybraný soubor charakteristik fiktivních uchazečů o zaměstnání ovlivňuje rozhodování liniových pracovníků VSZ o jejich zařazení či nezařazení do vybraných nástrojů APZ. Odpovědi na tyto otázky se snaží nalézt prostřednictvím dotazníkového šetření provedeného v populaci liniových pracovníků ÚP ČR, kteří se v rámci své pracovní náplně zabývají zprostředkováním a poradenstvím. Z důvodu možnosti identifikovat kauzální vliv jednotlivých charakteristik na rozhodování liniových pracovníků byl zvolen experimentální design šetření: Factorial Survey Experiment. Autonomie rozhodování liniových pracovníků zabývajících se zprostředkováním a poradenstvím byla operacionalizována jako proces probíhající ve třech fázích (diagnóza, usuzování a intervence), z nichž dvě (diagnostickou a intervenční) se v této studii usilujeme učinit zjevnými a popsat, jakým způsobem jsou ovlivňovány ze strany charakteristik fiktivních uchazečů, respondentů samotných a respondenty vnímanými charakteristikami organizačního prostředí.
... Kootstra (2016) for example measures the control criterion via claimants' efforts to find new employment. A related example is the study by Buss (2019), where age is used to measure the two criteria of control and reciprocity simultaneously. Finally, van der Aa et al., (2017, p. 245), in their study of deservingness perceptions in the case of health care, use two separate indicators (patients' behavior before falling ill and their behavior during treatment) to simultaneously measure the attitude and control criteria. ...
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Many important societal debates revolve around questions of deservingness, especially when it comes to debates related to inequality and social protection. It is therefore unsurprising that a growing body of research spanning the social and political sciences is concerned with the determinants of deservingness perceptions. In this contribution, we engage with the currently central theoretical framework used in deservingness research and point out an important weakness: Partly ambiguous definitions of the framework's central concepts, the criteria for perceived deservingness. We also highlight the negative consequences this has for empirical research, including notably varying and overlapping operationalizations and thereby a lacking comparability of results across studies. Our main contribution is a redefinition of the criteria for perceived deservingness and a demonstration of the empirical implications of using this new set of criteria via original vignette survey experiments conducted in Germany and the United States in 2019. Our results provide a clearer image of which criteria drive deservingness perceptions. Supplementary information: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s11205-021-02774-9.
... Again, deservingness is often the relevant mechanism. Individuals perceive immigrants as undeserving and judge them according to a "double standard" (Kootstra 2016, 328) --though ideology and prejudice seem to moderate the extent to which this double standard manifests (see Buss 2019;Ford 2016). These findings suggest that ethnocentrism limits support for redistributive transfers to minoritized groups through shifts in deservingness perceptions. ...
Preprint
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The literature on welfare chauvinism shows that ethnocentrism reduces support for outgroup redistribution. To limit bias, scholarship suggests framing policies universally or addressing beneficiary deservingness. However, policies to support disadvantaged groups and ensure equity cannot always be framed in universal terms. Moreover, dominant groups often hold minoritized groups to a deservingness double standard. Thus, we ask: what are effective ways of mollifying ethnocentric bias in policy evaluation? We argue that principles of distributive justice -- normative justifications for who should get what and why -- can reduce ethnocentric bias. We test through three experiments in Slovakia and with the Roma as the outgroup. Frames using the distributive principle of reciprocity reduce ethnocentric bias amongst majorities; conversely, frames centered around the principle of need garner minority support. Given salient anti-Roma prejudice, we consider our findings a floor. For less stigmatized outgroups, reciprocity frames may bolster support for redistributive policies even further.
... Allerdings zeigen Befunde zur als angemessen empfundenen Höhe des Arbeitslosengeldes II, dass Menschen bei ihren Einschätzungen etwa die persönlichen Merkmale der potenziellen Empfängerinnen und Empfänger in Betracht ziehen. Eine besonders wichtige Rolle für die zugesprochene Höhe des Arbeitslosengeldes spielt dabei, ob Kinder im Haushalt vorhanden sind (Buss 2019;Hörstermann und Andreß 2015). Für die Arbeitslosenversicherung wurde gezeigt, dass Merkmale der Leistungsbeziehenden, wie beispielsweise das Alter, Urteile von Befragten über die Zumutbarkeit von Stellenangeboten beeinflussen . ...
Article
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Zusammenfassung Dieser Beitrag untersucht die Frage, welche Bezugsdauern des Arbeitslosengeldes für welche Personengruppen als angemessen betrachtet werden und ob sich diese Einschätzungen während der Covid-19-Pandemie verändert haben. Längere Bezugsdauern können die Einkommenssituation der Betroffenen stabilisieren und die Suche nach einer qualifikationsadäquaten oder besser entlohnten Stelle unterstützen. Längere Zahlungen mindern aber auch den Druck zur Arbeitsaufnahme, wodurch die Dauer der Arbeitslosigkeit zunimmt. Verändern Menschen Abwägungen zwischen individuellem Bedarf, Leistung und gesellschaftlicher Effizienz in der gesundheitlichen und ökonomischen Krise? Wir untersuchen mithilfe von Daten aus Onlinebefragungen im November 2019 und in der Krise im Mai 2020, welche Bezugsdauern (zumeist) Erwerbstätige für angemessen erachten. Dazu wurden den Teilnehmenden Vignetten mit Beschreibungen hypothetischer Arbeitsloser vorgelegt, deren Charakteristika zufällig variieren. Die Ergebnisse zeigen, dass dieselben Befragten vor und während der Krise sehr ähnliche Bezugsdauern für angemessen halten. Dabei beziehen sie bei der Bemessung der Bezugsdauer für Arbeitslose neben Beitragsprinzipien auch Kriterien der Bedürftigkeit mit ein. So beeinflussen Merkmale wie etwa das Alter der Arbeitslosen, ihr eigenes (Nicht‑)Verschulden, ihre Lebensleistungen oder die Länge ihrer Beitragszahlungen das Urteil, welche Dauer des Leistungsbezugs als angemessen angesehen wird.
... While some studies have examined how individual characteristics and perceived effects of pension reform measures affect preferences for specific reform proposals (Abid et al., 2013;Abid and O'Donoghue, 2014), the public's attitudes on pension reforms have received relatively little attention to date (Boeri et al., 2002;Jaime-Castillo, 2013). This is particularly the case if compared to the recent surge in public opinion research in other key areas of social policy (Busemeyer et al., 2018;Berens and Gelepithis, 2019;Buss, 2019). Not least, theoretical discussions of the politics of pension reform have often, implicitly or explicitly, relied on the conceptual and empirical evidence garnered for defined-benefit (DB) retirement pensions provided by the state or occupational schemes and the dynamics of welfare state retrenchment in the Western hemisphere (see, e.g. ...
Article
This article examines public attitudes towards two reform options for the defined-contribution (DC) Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) scheme in Hong Kong: (i) increasing MPF contributions; or (ii) introducing a universal pension partly funded by switching MPF contributions to the universal pension. Drawing on a phone survey conducted with 975 active contributors to the MPF, we examine whether agreement with these MPF reform options can be explained by respondents’ self-interest, attachment to different welfare ideologies, their level of confusion with the MPF, uncertainty about future MPF income, and trust in the Hong Kong government to deal with MPF issues. This research identifies that it is uncertainty with future MPF income and low trust in the Hong Kong government to deal with MPF issues that have the most significant effect on respondents’ MPF reform preferences. Mainstream accounts of the effect of liberalist, universalist, conservative, and familistic welfare ideologies are only partially confirmed.
... A rapidly growing body of research deals with attempts to empirically test deservingness theory (Buss, 2018;Jeene, 2015;Kallio and Kouvo, 2015;Kootstra, 2016;Laenen, 2018;Larsen, 2006;Petersen, 2012;van Oorschot, 2006;van Oorschot et al., 2017). To this end, most rely on quantitative techniques of data gathering and data analysis; regression analysis of survey data in particular. ...
... Others find that the easing of compliance demands in public programs immediately reduce the experiences of stress and autonomy loss among its recipients . Combined with social stigma often associated with certain types of welfare programs (Buss 2019;Caswell, Larsen, and Sieling-Monas 2015;Currie 2006), administrative burdens may also have unintended behavioral side-effects on program success and recipients wider democratic participation (Larsen 2019; Moynihan and Soss 2014). These include program non-take-up (Brodkin and Majmundar 2010;Daigneault and Macé 2019), social exclusion (Nisar 2018), and civic disengagement (Bruch, Ferree, and Soss 2010;Moynihan and Herd 2010;Soss 1999). ...
Article
A key claim in the administrative burden framework is that citizens do not experience interactions with public programs as equally burdensome. Existing research has argued that citizens’ generic human capital may influence the severity of these experiences. In this article, we argue that a specific form of human capital specific to interactions with public programs – administrative literacy – affects the psychological costs recipients are facing. Specifically, we propose that administrative literacy is positively associated with autonomy maintenance in the face of burdensome rules, and that autonomy maintenance is negatively associated with stress. In doing so, we investigate a theoretically founded differentiation of psychological costs. We test these propositions using structural equation modeling on a unique survey of 915 unemployment insurance recipients in Denmark. The findings support our arguments, suggesting that accumulation or training of program specific human capital may help recipients to cope with the strains of unemployment. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Article
Since the first International Social Survey Program’s Role of Government module, many scholars assumed the “ideal government responsibility role” battery measured effects of a single unobserved attitude across individuals and societies. Attempts to substantiate this assumption offer sparse confirmatory evidence. Therefore, this research brings the most data and comprehensive measurement models thus far to investigate a single underlying attitude. Data from 1986 to 2017 in 43 countries suggest a latent ideal role attitude; however, measurement varies somewhat by historical institutions and levels of development across societies. At first the data seem to fail metric invariance tests as a first step in establishing the latent attitude. When applying corrections for a potential second attitude toward social insurance, and allowing for diverse effects of GDP, socialism, or Communist authoritarian institutional legacies, metric invariance comes into focus to a degree that most critics find acceptable. These results setup further scalar testing and descriptively demonstrate the neoliberalizaiton of preferences over time.
Article
This article provides a rhetorical discourse analysis of constructions of unemployed people’s deservingness. Data consist of transcripts from Finnish parliament members debating the ‘Activation Model for Unemployment Security’, from December 2017. In the analysis, three discursive constructions of unemployed people’s deservingness were identified: an ‘effortful citizen lacking control’, a ‘needy citizen deserving the welfare state’s reciprocal acts’ and an ‘undeserving freeloader in need of an attitude adjustment’. Analysis focuses on how deservingness and undeservingness are rhetorically accomplished and treated as factual in parliament members’ accounts. The analysis pays particular attention to the question of how speakers build factuality through the management of categories, extreme case formulations, ‘truth talk’ and maximisation and minimisation strategies. The results reflect the negotiated nature of deservingness as well as varying constructions of unemployed people’s responsibility in the contemporary Nordic welfare state context.
Article
This article argues that the ever-growing research field of welfare deservingness is in need of qualitative research. Using focus group data collected in Denmark, Germany, and the United Kingdom, we show that citizens discussing matters of social welfare make explicit reference not only to the deservingness criteria of control, reciprocity, and need but also to a number of context-related criteria extending beyond the deservingness framework (e.g. equality/universalism). Furthermore, our findings suggest the existence of an institutional logic to welfare preferences, as the focus group participants to a large extent echoed the normative criteria that are most strongly embedded in the institutional structure of their country’s welfare regime. Whereas financial need is the guiding criterion in the “liberal” United Kingdom, reciprocity is dominant in “corporatist-conservative” Germany. In “social-democratic” Denmark, it appears impossible to single out one dominant normative criterion. Instead, the Danish participants seem torn between the criteria of need, reciprocity, and equality/universalism.
Thesis
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Immigration has changed the composition of Germany's resident population, turning the country into one of the most ethnically diverse European countries. The pressure of changing demographics have brought to the forefront of public debate questions about who belongs, and who should get access to public resources. Against this backdrop, the research explores how administrative practices in local job centres construct inequalities in access to basic subsistence benefits. The study focuses on European Union migrant citizens who constitute one of the largest, yet overlooked immigrant groups in Germany. So far, scholarship has identified the various inequalities that shape EU migrant citizens' entitlements in law and policy, but has focussed less of how processes of implementation shape substantive access to benefits and services. To that end, the analysis explores the interplay between front-line bureaucrats as gatekeepers, who interpret and potentially subvert eligibility criteria, and EU migrants who engage or do not engage in a claim-making process, and how understandings of deservingness and belonging play into EU claimants' benefit access in practice. To address these processes, the research comprises of 119 qualitative interviews with key informants, job centre staff and EU migrant claimants, along with participant observation in three Berlin-based job centres. The data revealed how claims to benefits and services of EU migrant citizens are filtered at street-level. This happens through administrative practices of enabling or blocking access, entailing processes of bureaucratic discrimination against EU claimant groups when observed in marginal or no employment, especially if of Eastern European origin. The study explains the inequalities in access through the interplay between, first, streetlevel perceptions of EU citizens' social legitimacy in claiming German social-assistance type benefits or lack thereof, and, second, institutional constraints, such as the prevailing economic accountability logic, legal uncertainties or token diversity policies. The analysis unravels the implicit normative 'cultural conditionality' logic, which contributes to shaping the inequalities in access observed at the local level. Such ideas about socio-cultural adaptation find their expression in expectations of EU migrants to demonstrate belonging to substantiate their social entitlements, in the form of German language skills and acquiescence to dominant societal and bureaucratic norms. The findings contribute to an enhanced understanding of the links between social protection regulation and internal governance processes of EU migration, by highlighting how welfare administrators are involved in shaping the settlement of EU migrants in a borderless European space.
Article
This article, inspired by the epistemology of critical realism and its approach to assessing social and institutional change, elaborates on the impact of past welfare reform agendas in Europe, taking Italy and Germany as examples. Reading welfare state change through the lens of the concept of empowerment, it argues that such agendas should be studied by considering the nexus of different (coinciding) policies, the transformation of organisational settlements, and the reforms’ fit with encultured social expectations. Illustrating how a reform agenda containing a potential to enhance self-determination in the area of work and family life may simultaneously contribute to disempowerment, the article shows how a multidimensional ‘proto-evaluative’ endeavour may help develop a more holistic understanding of past welfare state change up to the outbreak of the Corona19 pandemic.
Article
The welfare state regulates social policies and reallocates scarce resources. For the social legitimacy of the welfare state, it is important that the public supports the principles underlying this reallocation. This article examines the impact of different activities during the life course on public deservingness perceptions of older unemployed people. In a factorial survey experiment conducted among a random sample of individuals drawn from German administrative employment records, we examine the maximum duration of benefit receipt which is perceived as fair for older unemployed persons with different biographies. The results indicate strong public support for a nexus between previous contributions and benefit entitlements. Besides financial contributions to unemployment insurance, parenting and further training are considered to be ‘lifetime achievements’ which justify longer unemployment benefit receipt. We interpret these findings as an expression of a generalised form of reciprocity which guides perceptions of deservingness regarding older unemployed persons.
Article
Studies of the ramifications of client race and ethnicity for bureaucrats’ judgments treat minority status as homogenous. Yet, individual identity does not boil down to race or ethnicity. Members of racial and ethnic minority groups likely vary in their experiences and capacity to overcome the negative sentiments and stereotypes that burden their inherited group. To transcend unidimensional explanations, we combine Van Oorschot's deservingness framework and a gendered lens to study how the intersection of group identity and gender, as well as individuals' work history, co‐shape bureaucrats' categorization of clients. Empirically, we analyze Israeli doctors' categorization of applicants for state incapacity benefits, comparing their medical assessments of men and women of three social groups: the Jewish majority, Ultra‐orthodox Jews, and Muslims. Interpreting the empirical findings, we offer that underlying the effect of applicants' group demographics are perceived cultural affinity to the majority and social contributions that vary with gender.
Article
The COVID-19 pandemic presents a unique opportunity to study how humans allocate scarce resources in times of hardship. We study public preferences regarding who should get access to government aid for the self-employed, a bed in the intensive care unit, and permission to cross the border using original conjoint survey experiments administered to an incentivised online panel in Switzerland during the first and second waves of the pandemic in 2020. We find that across the three areas, even in extraordinary circumstances such as the COVID-19 pandemic, evaluations of deservingness to aid and support are still based on an underlying logic of conditional solidarity and identity: in all experiments, contributing to the community, be it through past actions and contributions or through current efforts, plays a crucial role in determining an individual’s deservingness, as does their nationality (and legal status) with nationals being perceived as more deserving than non-nationals.
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The article analyses opinions on deservingness expressed by social media users in debates about social welfare granted to refugees and families with dependent children in Poland. The article’s focus is on the content of deservingness criteria. This term describes the variety of factual and specific expectations applied to beneficiaries within each of the deservingness criteria. Qualitative content analysis of Facebook comments led to the finding that when users evaluate beneficiaries’ deservingness, they take into account their control over their own neediness, attitude, reciprocity in relation to the general population, identity and the level of need. However, within each of these deservingness criteria there is a plenitude of diverse, specific, often contradictory concepts of what exactly the sign of (un)deservingness is. The study shows that in the case of refugees, a group deemed less deserving, those content categories are more demanding and exclusive. In particular, the content of the need category proved broad and biased toward favouring a generally ‘more deserving’ group. The understanding of families’ need was often based on collective relative deprivation and the assumption that those who are needy have been neglected in previous social welfare programs, whereas refugees’ ‘real need’ was often a logically empty category.
Chapter
This chapter discusses the welfare deservingness model, one of the most influential theoretical frameworks in the welfare attitude literature. This theoretical framework is used to understand the ‘who should get what and why’ question that underlies debates about solidarity and social justice in the welfare state. The welfare deservingness model formulates different deservingness criteria (control, attitude, reciprocity, identity and need) on which people ‘score’ target groups of welfare provisions (e.g., the elderly, the unemployed), resulting in groups being perceived as more or less deserving of support (‘deservingness perceptions’). Moreover, the model acknowledges that people prioritize and weigh these criteria differently (‘deservingness valuations’). We show how contextual and individual circumstances influence deservingness perceptions and valuations in a social policy context.
Article
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic resulted in several acute shortages of healthcare provision and thereby posed a challenge to solidarity among citizens of welfare states. One example was the limited number of vaccine batches at the outset of European COVID-19 vaccination campaigns. This resulted in a rare constellation in which citizens faced both a unifying collective threat but also a scarcity of healthcare resources that necessitated the prioritization of certain groups for an early vaccination. On that premise, we conducted a survey experiment during the first week of the Danish vaccination programme. Our results demonstrate that citizens judged who deserves early access to preventive healthcare along established lines of welfare chauvinism. Fictitious diabetes patients with a Muslim name and those who recently immigrated were regarded as less deserving of an early vaccination. That said, concerns over responsibility for one’s hardship and anti-social free-rider behaviour drive citizens considerations, too. Contra our hypotheses, we find only weak evidence that immigrants or Muslims are penalized more harshly for an irresponsible lifestyle or free-rider behaviour. Compared with previous research, we study a unique moment in history and are the first to disentangle minority status from stereotypes about their anti-social free-riding behaviour and irresponsibly unhealthy lifestyles.
Article
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Workers' risks of contracting COVID-19 vary according to individual behaviors, occupations and job characteristics. Therefore, persons may consider different groups of workers more or less deserving of COVID-19 healthcare. To evaluate such preferences, we conducted an online conjoint experiment on the precedence of ICU treatment and COVID-19 vaccination. Our results demonstrate that working in essential occupations increases the likelihood of being considered deserving of vaccination and ICU treatment. We also find differences in how essential workers are prioritized, yet these differences cannot be clearly attributed to risk exposure or occupational prestige. Furthermore, we show that age, asthma, household context and compliance with COVID-19 measures significantly affect respondents’ choices, while weight matters only for vaccination priority. Our results therefore contribute to research regarding the characteristics that are salient to fair distributions of scarce resources among workers during a health crisis.
Article
Increasing wage inequality, strong labour market divides and welfare retrenchment are widely believed to result in more polarised public opinion towards the welfare state. The present study examined if attitudes towards workfare policies have become more polarised in Europe over recent decades. To achieve this aim, the study analysed public opinion data from the European Value Study (EVS) from 23 European countries in the years 1990–2008, using multi‐level regression analysis. It is found that individuals who are most affected by workfare – the unemployed, the poor and the young – most strongly oppose workfare concepts. Against expectations, there was no evidence of an increasing polarisation of attitudes in Europe. Attitudinal cleavages based on employment status, income and education have remained stable. Differences between age groups have even dissolved because younger cohorts increasingly favour strict workfare policies. The results suggest that warnings of increasing social conflicts and an erosion of solidarity in European societies are exaggerated.
Book
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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 multidisciplinary 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. 'Deservingness considerations are central to the moral economy of welfare state arrangements. This book, written by a distinguished group of authors, offers a comprehensive, inspiring and highly innovative account of the logic and the drivers of deservingness attitudes. The authors succeed in putting the question " Who should get what, and why " in perspective and show the pivotal role of deservingness opinion therein. For sure, the book will become a key reference in the wider field of comparative welfare state research.' – Steffen Mau,
Article
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The literature addressing attitudes about social policy and the welfare state has been telling us for decades that welfare interventions are supported by those individuals who benefit from a specific measure. The diffusion of ‘demanding’ active labour market policies (ALMPs), however, challenges this relationship. Using a novel dataset, I analyse which individual- and country-level factors explain public support for demanding ALMPs in five Western European countries. The results show that labour market risk and ideological orientation influence public attitudes towards these ALMPs. Thereby, unemployed individuals sympathising with the political right are more strongly opposed to demanding measures than employed individuals with the same political preferences. Moreover, aggregate support is found to be correlated with the country's ALMP legacy, varying from high levels in Germany and the UK to low levels in Denmark and France. The findings suggest that most ALMPs are in fact implemented despite the opposition of their beneficiaries.
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EN: Germany is currently experiencing a high inflow of migrants. In this vignette study, we analyze how much different kinds of immigrants are accepted in Germany. We investigate three different rights for immigrants: the right to stay in Germany, the right to work in Germany, and the right to receive social benefits. Our results show that people who flee from political persecution are much more accepted compared to migrants who come because of economic reasons. This is particularly true for the right to receive social benefits. On the other hand, our results suggest that there is a strong preference for immigrants with high skills and low cultural distance. Concerns regarding individual competition on the job market seem to play only a minor role. DE: Vor dem Hintergrund der steigenden Einwanderungsrate untersuchen wir in dieser Vignettenstudie, welche Einwanderer in Deutschland akzeptiert werden und welche Rechte ihnen von der einheimischen Bevölkerung zuerkannt werden. Dabei unterscheiden wir zwischen einem generellen Aufenthaltsrecht, dem Recht auf Arbeit und dem Recht auf Sozialleistungen. Unsere Ergebnisse zeigen, dass die Akzeptanz von politisch verfolgten Personen deutlich höher ist als die Akzeptanz von Personen, die aus ökonomischen Motiven einwandern, dies gilt insbesondere für den Sozialleistungsbezug. Gleichzeitig legen unsere Analysen nahe, dass es eine deutliche Präferenz für Einwanderer mit hoher Humankapitalausstattung und geringer kultureller Distanz gibt. Individuelle Arbeitsmarktkonkurrenz scheint für die Akzeptanz von Einwanderern dagegen eher eine untergeordnete Rolle zu spielen.
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Labour market policies are multi-dimensional: their design depends on factors such as generosity, coverage, the combination of active and passive elements, and overall cost. Political conflict on one dimension often hides agreement on others, and social groups possibly care about different aspects of policies. However, most empirical studies treat policy preferences as unidimensional. This article utilizes a novel experimental conjoint design to assess how five dimensions affect support for labour market policies in Spain. It also assesses if individuals’ self-interest and ideology affect the importance of each dimension for support for a policy. We find that individuals’ support depends mostly on the generosity of policies for the most destitute and on funding. We also find that ideology shapes which dimensions of policy citizens care most about, but economic self-interest does not. Importantly, our experimental design can be applied to study preferences for different social policies.
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This article sheds light on the so far under-researched effect of subjective job insecurity on social policy preferences and the moderating role of employability. Using pooled individual-level data from the European Social Survey for workers from 11 Western European countries, it shows that subjective job insecurity does increase demand for redistribution. This effect is conditional upon employability perceptions, that is, expectations about future employment prospects. The impact of job insecurity on redistribution is strongest for workers who fear long-term unemployment. The findings do not seem to be driven by underlying political belief systems as they are robust in a reduced sample of centrist non-partisan workers. While the results confirm the hypothesised repercussions of labour-market flexibility on the individual level, aggregate effects should not be exaggerated, since the segment of workers exposed to job insecurity and low employability at the same time is rather small.
Article
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Recent research has established that employment risk shapes social policy preferences. However, risk is often conceptualized as an alternative measure of the socio-economic status. We show that employment risk and socio-economic status are distinct, crosscutting determinants of social policy preferences. More specifically, we analyze the policy preferences of high-skilled labor market outsiders as a cross-pressured group. We first establish that labor market vulnerability has spread well into the more highly educated segments of the population. We then show that the effect of labor market vulnerability on social policy preferences even increases with higher educational attainment. We conclude that that labor market risk and educational status are not interchangeable and that the high skilled are particularly sensitive to the experience of labor market risk. Thereby, our findings point to a potential cross-class alliance between more highly and lower skilled vulnerable individuals in support of a redistributive and activating welfare state. Thus, they have far-reaching implications for our understanding of both the politicization of insider/outsider divides and the politics of welfare support.
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The paper looks into the processes and outcomes of setting-up and maintaining a probability-based longitudinal online survey, which is recruited face-to-face and representative of both the online and offline population aged 16 to 75 in Germany. This German Internet Panel (GIP) studies political and economic attitudes and reform preferences through bi-monthly longitudinal online interviews of individuals. The results presented demonstrate that a carefully designed and implemented online panel can produce high-quality data at lower marginal costs than existing panels that operate solely in face-to-face mode. Analyses into the representativeness of the online sample showed no major coverage or nonresponse biases. Finally, including offline households in the panel is important as it improves the representation of the older and female segments of the population.
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When evaluating the various aspects of the welfare state, people assess some aspects more positively than others. Following a multidimensional approach, this study systematically argues for a framework composed of seven dimensions of the welfare state, which are subject to the opinions of the public. Using confirmatory factor analyses, this conceptual framework of multidimensional welfare attitudes was tested on cross-national data from 22 countries participating in the 2008 European Social Survey. According to our empirical analysis, attitudes towards the welfare state are multidimensional; in general, people are very positive about the welfare state's goals and range, while simultaneously being critical of its efficiency, effectiveness and policy outcomes. We found that these dimensions relate to each other differently in different countries. Eastern/Southern Europeans combine a positive attitude towards the goals and role of government with a more critical attitude towards the welfare state's efficiency and policy outcomes. In contrast, Western/Northern Europeans' attitudes towards the various welfare state dimensions are based partly on a fundamentally positive or negative stance towards the welfare state.
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This article analyses comparative data for the last half of the 1990s to investigate the determinants of individual and cross-national variation in public support for cuts in unemployment benefits spending. The authors consider public opinion on unemployment benefits retrenchment as a product not only of individual-level characteristics but also of national-level features. With few exceptions, the latter features have been limited by previous studies to the institutional characteristics of welfare policies across countries operationalized in a superficial way: i.e. the type of welfare regime. This article proposes a more detailed operationalization of the institutional characteristics of welfare policies by considering cross-country variations in the generosity of unemployment protection. The authors also take into account a structural characteristic of the polities considered here: i.e. the seriousness of the unemployment problem. Even if the results are tentative, the authors believe they open the ‘black box of welfare types’ that until very recently has been the predominant explanation when accounting for aggregated variation in public opinion on welfare states.
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Even though the shift from `passive' to `active' labour market policy exhibits large cross-national variations, all examples seem to share two common characteristics: (a) the first group exposed to the new policies and the group exposed to the harshest policies was young people on social assistance; and (b) as the target group gradually came to include `ordinary' unemployed people, most countries made exceptions for the oldest unemployed people. The article argues that this striking policy convergence has to do with the public perception of the target groups. The article substantiates this argument first, by giving a theoretical explanation for the different popular images of target groups, and second, by showing — using a national Australian sample — that these general popular images influence the way the public wants `active' labour market policy to be conducted.
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The paper investigates public attitudes toward welfare state policies as a result of both situational, i.e. unemployment, and ideological factors, i.e. egalitarian ideology, at both the individual and national level. The dependent variables are public support for the sick and the old as well as for the unemployed as target beneficiaries of welfare state policies. Data from the ISSP-study «Role of government» are analyzed using a multi-level regression technique. Findings indicate that the nation level is important in shaping public attitudes toward welfare state policies in industrialized nations, and that both situational and ideological factors play a role. Apparently, various nations generate different public beliefs about national social problems and about the relationship between individuals, the state and other institutions. Eventually, these understandings and beliefs influence popular attitudes regarding what kind of policies the state should pursue, and who should benefit.
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Various studies have demonstrated that while the lower educated support economic redistribution more than the higher educated do, they nonetheless dislike welfare support for immigrants more strongly. This paper aims to explain this remarkably particularistic application of the principle of economic egalitarianism (‘welfare chauvinism’) by testing three theories by means of survey data representative of the Dutch population (N = 1972). The first theory asserts that the low level of political competence of the lower educated is responsible, the second focuses on their weak economic position, and the third claims that their limited amount of cultural capital is decisive. Only the latter explanation is confirmed and implications for debates about ethnocentrism, deservingness and welfare state legitimacy, as well as the ideological profile of the lower-educated working class are discussed.
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Using a questionnaire and a sample of students and personnel managers we establish the existence of age discrimination in the hiring process in Germany and Norway. As expected, age discrimination is more prominent in Germany where the hiring probability of equally qualified applicants is reduced by about 22 percentage points due to an age differential of 14 years as opposed to only 12 percentage points in Norway. Within both countries the tendency to discriminate does not differ between students and personnel managers and does not depend on the age of the decision maker. ‘The phenomenon of unemployment among older workers […] is characterized less by the risk of becoming unemployed than by the problem of remaining unemployed and failing to find new work.’ Frerichs and Naegele (199831. Frerichs , F and Naegele , G . 1998. Labour market position of older workers and national and local policies. national briefings – Germany in Projects Assisting Older Workers in European Countries, A Review of the Findings of Eurowork Age, European Commission (Ed.), Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg, pp. 58–64 View all references, p. 59)
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Ideology has re-emerged as an important topic of inquiry among social, personality, and political psychologists. In this review, we examine recent theory and research concerning the structure, contents, and functions of ideological belief systems. We begin by defining the construct and placing it in historical and philosophical context. We then examine different perspectives on how many (and what types of) dimensions individuals use to organize their political opinions. We investigate (a) how and to what extent individuals acquire the discursive contents associated with various ideologies, and (b) the social-psychological functions that these ideologies serve for those who adopt them. Our review highlights "elective affinities" between situational and dispositional needs of individuals and groups and the structure and contents of specific ideologies. Finally, we consider the consequences of ideology, especially with respect to attitudes, evaluations, and processes of system justification.
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Welfare States and Public Opinion comprises an informed inquiry into three fields of social policy - health policy, family policy, and unemployment benefits and social assistance. Though the analyses stem from research spanning fifteen countries across Europe, the conclusions can be applied to social policy problems in nations worldwide. Combining a detailed analysis of the institutional structure of social policy with the study of public attitudes toward healthcare, family policy, and benefits for the unemployed and poor, this book represents a new stream in public opinion research. The authors demonstrate that the institutional designs of social policies have a great impact on inequalities among social groups, and provide best practices for gaining public support for social policy reform. © Claus Wendt, Monika Mischke and Michaela Pfeifer 2011. All Rights Reserved.
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Immigrants’ access to and use of welfare benefits have been the subject of heated debate in many west-European countries. In this article, I examine public solidarity with unemployed welfare claimants and focus on how claimants’ ethnic background and migration status affect their perceived deservingness. I use a novel vignette experiment administered among a representative sample of 5,000 respondents from Britain and 4,000 from the Netherlands. Besides ethnic background and migration status, I manipulated six other characteristics of the claimant, such as effort to find a new job, level of need, and work history. I show that the ethnic background of claimants is not a decisive factor of deservingness once these other factors are accounted for. In the Netherlands, and to a lesser extent also in Britain, second-generation ethnic minorities who have a long work history and who make much effort to find a new job are considered as deserving as similar majority claimants. However, this analyses did expose a double standard: ethnic minority claimants who exhibit ‘unfavourable’ behaviour—those who migrated at a later age, failed to look for work, or have a short work history—are punished more severely for this than similar majority Dutch or British claimants.
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Seif der Umgestaltung des deutschen Arbeitsmarktes im Zuge der Hartz-Reformen ist die Diskussion um ein menschenwürdiges Existenzminimum neu entfacht. Im Zentrum der Debatte steht dabei neben den Sanktionsmechanismen auch die angemessene Höhe der Regelleistungen. In diesem Beitrag wird anhand einer Vignettenstudie – eine Methode, bei der den Befragten konkrete Fallbeschreibungen vorgelegt werden – untersucht, nach welchen Kriterien die Teilnehmerinnen einer Online-Studie die Hilfewürdigkeit von AEG-II-Empfängern beurteilen und welche Geldbeträge sie ihnen zusprechen. Es steigt sich, dass die von den Befragten vorgeschlagenen Einkommensmindestbedarfe mit der Anzahl an Personen (Erwachsene und Kinder) im beschriebenen Haushalt, der Ursache der Arbeitslosigkeit, der Reaktion auf die Arbeitslosigkeit, dem Alter und der Nationalität des Haushaltsvorstands sowie der Wohnregion variieren. Die ermittelten Bedarfe lagen mit Ausnahme eines Einpersonenhaushalts zum Teil deutlich unter den zum Befragungszeitpunkt geltenden ALG-II-Regelsätzen.
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This article investigates whether self-interest as compared with values or ideological dispositions shapes individual attitudes towards the welfare state. Causal interpretations of how self-interest, values, and welfare state attitudes are linked have been difficult to sustain so far, as the research mainly relies on static, cross-sectional analyses. We address this empirical challenge using data from the Dutch Longitudinal Internet Studies for the Social Sciences panel (2008–2013) that covers the period of the international economic crisis. We investigate how individuals change their attitudes in times of economic hardship. Our findings confirm theoretical expectations that people change their support for unemployment benefits in reaction to changes in their individual material circumstances. Job loss leads to an increased support for public provision of unemployment benefits. The analysis also suggests that this attitude change is persistent. After the temporarily unemployed have found a new job, they do not return to their pre-unemployment attitude. In contrast, individual support for life course-related domains of the welfare state such as health care or pensions is not affected by changes in individual material circumstances. Our results show that individual material circumstances and thus self-interest have a sizable effect on how individuals change their welfare state attitudes.
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To what extent do personal circumstances, as compared to ideological dispositions, drive voters’ preferences on welfare policy? Addressing this question is difficult because a person's ideological position can be an outcome of material interest rather than an independent source of preferences. The article deals with this empirical challenge using an original panel study carried out over four years, tracking the labor market experiences and the political attitudes of a national sample of Americans before and after the eruption of the financial crisis. The analysis shows that the personal experience of economic hardship, particularly the loss of a job, had a major effect on increasing support for welfare spending. This effect was appreciably larger among Republicans than among Democrats, a result that was not simply due to a “ceiling effect.” However the large attitudinal shift was short lived, dissipating as individuals’ employment situations improved. The results indicate that the personal experience of an economic shock has a sizable, yet overall transient effect on voters’ social policy preferences.
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Since the second half of the 1990s, German labour market policy has experienced paradigmatic changes, undermining the conservative ideal of preserving social status and maintaining achieved living standards. Reforms carried out by the conservative–liberal government of the 1990s focused largely on workfare measures. This development had its roots in the progressive disintegration of the cross-class alliance of organised business and trade unions that had previously supported Bismarckian unemployment protection. The withdrawal of employers from the conservative welfare state can be related to far-reaching socio-economic changes which were thought to undermine the functional feasibility of the social dimension of the ‘German Model’. Instead of pursuing ‘social democratic’ activation, the Red–Green government (1998–2005) not only continued on the reform trajectory of its predecessor, but accelerated the departure from the established policy path. Understanding the revision of social democratic labour market policy requires scrutiny of both shifts in power and policy learning.
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In dit boek onderzoekt J. Timo Weishaupt de oorsprong en evolutie van de arbeidsmarkt en arbeidswetgeving in West-Europa. Extra aandacht gaat daarbij uit naar de oeCD en de Europese Unie als voortrekkers van nieuwe ideeën op dit gebied. Timo Weishaupt deed onderzoek in Oostenrijk, Denemarken, Duitsland, Ierland, Zweden en het Verenigd Koninkrijk. Hij komt tot de conclusie dat de evolutie van arbeidswetgeving niet alleen wordt bepaald door historische ontwikkelingen, maar ook door de veranderende overtuigingen van beleidsmakers.
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A major goal in workfare policies is to re-integrate the socially excluded into full citizenship. I examine the experience in the US and compare the current reforms in selected Western European countries. I argue that current policies of inclusion necessarily exclude. Workfare contemplates an individual `contract' between the agency and the client. I concentrate on the implementation issues - the characteristics and constraints on the welfare worker-client relationship. While there are positive achievements, there is disturbing evidence that the most vulnerable are still being excluded. I suggest reforms for those who remain - separating benefits from services, re-designing incentives for service workers, and eliminating sanctions.
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In this paper we investigate the relationship between geographic mobility and education-job mismatch in the Netherlands. We focus on the role of geographic mobility in reducing the probability of graduates working (i) jobs below their education level; (ii) jobs outside their study field; (iii) part-time jobs; (iv) flexible jobs; or (v) jobs paid below the wage expected at the beginning of the career. For this purpose we use data on secondary and higher vocational education graduates in the period 1996-2001. We show that graduates who are mobile have higher probability of finding jobs at the acquired education level than those who are not. Moreover, mobile graduates have higher probability of finding full-time or permanent jobs. This suggests that mobility is sought to prevent not only having to take a job below the acquired education level, but also other education-job mismatches; graduates are spatially flexible particularly to ensure full-time jobs.
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Ein zentrales Ziel der Hartz-IV-Reform war es, die Förderung der Langzeitarbeitslosen durch arbeitsmarktpolitische Leistungen um eine Komponente verstärkten Forderns zu erweitern. In diesem Sinne sind die im Gesetz vorgesehenen und 2007 verschärften Sanktionsmöglichkeiten als ein Kernelement der Arbeitsmarktreform anzusehen. Angesichts der bei Hartz IV nur geringen Hinzuverdienstmöglichkeiten fungieren die Sanktionen auch als Ersatz für fehlende finanzielle Arbeitsanreize. Inzwischen wird die Verhängung von Sanktionen bei der Bundesagentur für Arbeit (BA) umfangreich statistisch erfasst.
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This paper offers a descriptive portrait of income poverty among children in Germany between the early 1980s and 2004, with a focus on developments since unification in 1991. Data from the German Socio-Economic Panel are used to estimate poverty rates, rates of entry to and exit from poverty, and the duration of time spent in and out of poverty. The analysis focuses upon comparisons between East and West Germany, by family structure, and citizenship status. Child poverty rates have drifted upward since 1991, and have been increasing more than the rates for the overall population since the mid-1990s. In part these changes are due to increasing poverty among children from households headed by non-citizens but also by children living in two-adult households. Children in single-parent households are by all measures at considerable risk of living in poverty. There are also differences in child poverty between East and West Germany. Copyright 2008 The Authors. Journal compilation 2008 International Association for Research in Income and Wealth Published by Blackwell Publishing.
Who Should Get What and Why, Under Which Conditions
  • M Jeene
Who Should Be Helped? Public Support for Social Services
  • F L Cook
‘Fixing the Leak: Unemployment Incidence Before and After a Major Reform of Unemployment Benefits in Germany’
  • S Dlugosz
  • G Stephan
  • R A Wilke
‘Levels and Levers of Conditionality: Measuring Change within Welfare States’
  • J Clasen
  • D Clegg
Images of Welfare Press and Public Attitudes to Poverty
  • P Golding
  • S Middleton