Laenen & Meuleman (2019).

Journal article
  • December 12, 2018

Public support for the social rights and social obligations of the unemployed: two sides of the same coin? International Journal of Social Welfare, 28(4), 454-467.

Abstract: In light of the ever-growing shift towards activation in European welfare states, the present article examines the relationship between citizens’ welfare generosity (i.e., support for social rights) and welfare conditionality (i.e., support for social obligations) with regard to the unemployed. Using data from the 2014 Belgian National Elections Study, we found that generosity and conditionality appear to be two sides of the same coin. The two factors are negatively correlated, and most of their respective attitudinal drivers are quite similar in strength, yet opposite in direction. In addition to self-interest and conventionally recognised ideational beliefs, such as egalitarianism and individualism, beliefs about welfare deservingness – an explanatory factor that has remained understudied in the field – are particularly influential in shaping people’s welfare preferences. A stronger emphasis on criteria of deservingness such as control, attitude and reciprocity considerably lowers support for social rights and strengthens support for social duties.


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