Why are people who live in liberal welfare regimes reluctant to support welfare policy? And conversely, why are people who live in social democratic welfare regimes so keen to support it? These core questions lie at the heart of this intriguing book.
By examining how different welfare regimes influence public support for welfare policy, the book explores the institutional settings of different regimes and how each produces its own support. While previous studies in this field have failed to link the macro-structure of welfare regimes and the micro-structure of welfare attitudes, this book redresses this problem by combining welfare regime theory and literature on deservingness criteria alongside empirical evidence from national and cross-national data.
While recent trends in welfare state development such as cuts in benefit levels and increased use of targeting, combined with increased immigration, might very well influence our perceptions of the deservingness of the needy, this book provides a strong, convincing and provoking argument that challenges the micro-foundation of present comparative welfare state theory. The result is an important work for all studying and working in the fields of public policy and social welfare.
Contents: Preface; Introduction; Welfare regimes and the attitudes of their inhabitants; The puzzle of public opinion; Welfare regimes and deservingness; Welfare regimes and perceived causes of poverty; Selectivism and stigmatisation; Generosity and stigmatisation; Regime-dependent perceptions and social assistance; Deservingness and welfare state development; References; Index.
About the Author: Christian Albrekt Larsen is Assistant Professor at the Centre for Comparative Welfare Studies at Aalborg University, Denmark. He has previously, together with Professor Jørgen Goul Andersen, written on Nordic labour markets and welfare reforms (pension, early retirement, tax and labour market policy). The work has been published in two books and a number of international articles. He is currently involved in two large projects; respectively about the importance of the networks of long-term unemployed and the dynamics behind the transformation of the Danish welfare state.
Reviews: 'Despite decades of intense research, it has proven difficult to establish any clear link between public attitudes and welfare types. This book breaks new ground not only because it succeeds in demonstrating a clear empirical connection but also because it does so with exemplary analytical power. Christian Albrekt Larsen succeeds, like none before him, in uncovering the precise mechanisms that shape citizens' support for policy. And he does it with rigor and elegance. This is a book that must be read.'
Gosta Esping-Andersen, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain
'This book contributes substantially to the understanding of the formation of popular attitudes towards poor and unemployed people by showing with great empirical detail how the deservingness beliefs of people, which are behind such attitudes, are driven by institutional aspects of the type of welfare state people live in. The causal mechanisms between macro-level institutions and micro-level attitudes, which thus far have often remained a black box, are explored theoretically and laid out empirically in an exemplary way.'
Wim van Oorschot, Aalborg University and Tilburg University, Denmark
'This book looks at the long neglected macro-micro link between welfare state regimes and citizens' welfare attitudes. It makes splendid use of a wide range of survey research on major issues as deservingness, poverty and stigmatisation. Because of the systematic cross-national comparison of welfare attitudes, this book is really a must for those studying the vicissitudes of the three worlds of welfare capitalism.'
Wil Arts, Tilburg University and University College, The Netherlands
'This will become a key work for anyone attempting to understand how state structures impact on societal attitude formation.'
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