17. Economic Development and Trends in Welfare State Attitudes.

Joakim Kulin, Department of Sociology, Umeå University, Sweden, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Jan Mewes, Department of Sociology, Umeå University, Sweden

Public support for welfare state policies is the backbone of any democratic welfare state. Yet, there is scant knowledge about whether and how these public views change over time, especially in periods of economic downturn. In particular, little is known about the impact of the recent worldwide financial crisis. This stream is going to address this research lacuna by focusing on time trends in welfare attitudes. We welcome theoretical and/or empirical contributions that deal with the interaction between economic development and the dynamics of welfare state attitudes.

We welcome papers that deal with relatively broad questions, such as dynamics in support for redistribution, as well as in contributions that focus on more specific research questions. For example, the ‘deservingness’ literature shows that even though the welfare state as such receives strong support among the wider public, people do have strong preferences for who should be ‘in’ and who should be ‘out’ of the welfare benefit schemes. Since little is known about the dynamics of these preferences, we also welcome contributions that deal with trends in welfare state solidarity with specific groups, such as immigrants, the poor, the unemployed, the elderly and the disabled. Moreover, there is a wide literature about the interplay between specific configurations of welfare state institutions and people’s attitudes. Against this background, we additionally welcome papers that take an interest in the question whether and to what extent different ‘worlds of welfare’ are able to cope with the negative consequences of the most recent worldwide economic crisis, and their consequences at the attitudinal level. We are particularly interested in receiving paper proposals for comparative studies based on cross-sectional-time-pooled data as well as in single-country studies that make use of longitudinal data.

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