Of what cloth are the ties that bind? National identity and support for the welfare state across 29 European countries

Matthew Wright*, T. Reeskens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

An oft-made claim is that national identity (NI) can function as social glue underpinning public support for the welfare state by encouraging the identification with co-nationals essential for redistribution. Empirical tests have largely ignored the possibility that the relationship depends on the kind of NI people hold, that various dimensions of welfare support are shaped by NI differently, and that these relationships depend on demographic context. Analyzing the European Values Study's 2008 wave, we find ample evidence that these distinctions matter: ethnic conceptions of NI are linked to general welfare state support, whereas civic and cultural ones are not. Moreover, all three national self-conceptions induce welfare chauvinism against immigrants, albeit to varying degrees, an effect that strengthens as immigrant diversity increases. Ultimately, we find nothing to suggest that NI can sustain public support for redistribution in an ever-diversifying age, and much to the contrary.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1443-1463
JournalJournal of European Public Policy
Volume20
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Diversity
  • European Values Study
  • national identity
  • public opinion
  • welfare chauvinism
  • welfare support
  • PUBLIC-ATTITUDES
  • WESTERN-EUROPE
  • DIVERSITY
  • REDISTRIBUTION
  • POLICY
  • IDENTIFICATION
  • CONCEPTIONS
  • CHAUVINISM
  • IMMIGRANTS
  • MEMBERSHIP

Cite this

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title = "Of what cloth are the ties that bind? National identity and support for the welfare state across 29 European countries",
abstract = "An oft-made claim is that national identity (NI) can function as social glue underpinning public support for the welfare state by encouraging the identification with co-nationals essential for redistribution. Empirical tests have largely ignored the possibility that the relationship depends on the kind of NI people hold, that various dimensions of welfare support are shaped by NI differently, and that these relationships depend on demographic context. Analyzing the European Values Study's 2008 wave, we find ample evidence that these distinctions matter: ethnic conceptions of NI are linked to general welfare state support, whereas civic and cultural ones are not. Moreover, all three national self-conceptions induce welfare chauvinism against immigrants, albeit to varying degrees, an effect that strengthens as immigrant diversity increases. Ultimately, we find nothing to suggest that NI can sustain public support for redistribution in an ever-diversifying age, and much to the contrary.",
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Of what cloth are the ties that bind? National identity and support for the welfare state across 29 European countries. / Wright, Matthew; Reeskens, T.

In: Journal of European Public Policy, Vol. 20, No. 10, 01.12.2013, p. 1443-1463.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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