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Citizens’ views on (un)conditionality in the activating welfare state: What determines public attitudes towards work obligations attached to social rights?

Contemporary welfare states are often referred to as activating welfare states because of the activation shift that has taken place during the last decades. In this framework, individuals need to be economically active and re-enter the labour market quickly when they are jobless. While the principle of welfare conditionality is central in the activation turn, and in demanding active labour market policies specifically, the principle of unconditionality – for which benefits are not conditional on certain criteria – is increasingly taking space in public debates, especially in relation to the policy proposal of a universal basic income. Despite a growing body of public attitudes research is investigating these policy trends, gaps remain on two main aspects: (1) on the mechanisms behind support for demanding active labour market policies, and (2) on how people combine attitudes towards these two interrelated aspects of the activating welfare state, conditionality and unconditionality. The project contributes to fill these gaps by analysing Europeans’ opinions towards these new orientations in social policy, and aims to uncover structural and cultural divides in contemporary public opinion. To this end, both quantitative data from national and European surveys, and qualitative data from Dutch interviews are used to unravel the structure of public attitudes towards the activating welfare state.

Date:1 Jan 2017 →  12 Oct 2022
Keywords:Welfare attitudes
Disciplines:Applied sociology, Policy and administration, Social psychology, Social stratification, Social theory and sociological methods, Sociology of life course, family and health, Other sociology and anthropology
Project type:PhD project