Citizens’ views on the 'activating' welfare state. What determines public opinions towards social obligations attached to social rights?
In the context of re-structuring of welfare states, the question of who should get what, and why, is on the political agenda again. Contemporary European welfare states are discussing and implementing new policies orientations, each stressing particular social justice principles. Examples of such policy orientations are welfare selectivism, i.e. residualizing welfare, providing the poorest in society only; activation policies, i.e. a shift away from a focus on providing unemployed people with benefit income to a focus on instrument and policies aimed at their work (re-)insertion (stressing the importance of reciprocity), and the basic income, i.e. an income that is provided to all citizens, regardless of their employment status or financial resources.
The project aims at analyzing European citizens’ opinions towards new orientations in social policy, and at uncovering structural and cultural divides in contemporary public opinions. The quantitative analysis on survey data will test the impact of various individual-level (e.g., social position, inequality perceptions, normative justice beliefs) and contextual (e.g., economic conditions, institutional design, electoral campaigns) predictors on welfare attitudes, using data from the Belgian National Election Study (BNES) and European Social Survey (ESS).