Retrenchment of unemployment protection and the absence of public resistance in Denmark and the Netherlands. The role of popular deservingness perceptions among welfare constituents. CCWS Working Papers, no 2018-93. Aalborg: Centre for Comparative Welfare Studies.
Abstract: This working paper seeks to explain the puzzle of why severe retrenchment of Dutch and Danish unemployment insurance systems faced relatively little public resistance. The lack of opposition is puzzling because Dutch and Danish unemployment schemes have traditionally had relatively large and well-organized welfare constituencies. The core argument of the paper is that absence of public resistance is to some extent rooted in harsh deservingness beliefs regarding the unemployed within the constituencies of unemployment insurance. Using Dutch and Danish survey data, we demonstrate this mechanism by showing that large parts of the constituencies of unemployment insurance, operationalized as self-reported benefit receipt and unemployment experience, evaluate the unemployed negatively on the deservingness criteria of control, attitude, reciprocity, identity, and need. Furthermore, these deservingness perceptions are strongly correlated with constituents’ generosity and conditionality towards the unemployed.