Welfare State Legitimacy in Times of Crisis and Austerity

Edited by Tijs Laenen, Bart Meuleman and Wim van Oorschot, KU Leuven, Belgium

‘The three editors unite the finest state-of-the-art research about public attitudes towards the welfare state in Europe. Drawing on the 2008 and 2016 waves of the high-quality European Social Survey, the contributors analyse how and why the diversity of relationships between citizens and the welfare state manifests itself in the individual mind in the first two decades of the 21st century.’

– Achim Goerres, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany

This book explores developments in the social legitimacy of present-day European welfare states since the banking crisis of 2008. It analyses how the welfare attitudes of Europeans have been influenced by economic recession and consequent welfare reforms, as well as reactions to ongoing debates around welfare.

Utilizing cross-national perspectives, the book analyses the differences and similarities in welfare attitudes of Europeans between 2008 and 2016. It highlights popular welfare attitudes towards different groups of society, including migrants, the elderly and the unemployed, exploring if and why specific practices and policies would meet popular resistance or approval.

Social policy and sociology scholars will find this book helpful, as the cross-national analysis provides new insights into the contextual drivers of welfare attitudes. It will also be useful to policymakers and practitioners working in Europe offering analysis of  welfare preferences, evaluations and perceptions.

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