Recent advances in understanding welfare attitudes in Europe

W.J.H. van Oorschot, Tijs Laenen, Femke Roosma, Bart Meuleman

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Welfare attitudes are important for the social legitimacy of social policy. In European comparative social policy research, the scientific study of welfare attitudes is a well-settled discipline. In this chapter we identify six major advancements in attitudinal social policy research: (a) the multi-dimensionality of welfare attitudes; the role of contextual factors both as (b) contexts influencing welfare attitudes and as (c) factors in so-called feedback loops, (d) the dynamics of attitude change over time, (e) attitudes towards the welfare deservingness of various target groups, and (f) the attitudinal logics concerning specific social policy domains. Some gaps and challenges in welfare attitudes research are also addressed as avenues for future research. In terms of gaps in knowledge, the attitudinal position of different types of stakeholders and how prior knowledge or experience influence attitudes are two examples. In terms of challenges, continued investments in collecting preferably cross-national attitudinal data is highlighted.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocial policy in changing European societies
Subtitle of host publicationResearch agendas for the 21st century
EditorsKenneth Nelson, Rense Nieuwenhuis, Mara A. Yerkes
Place of PublicationCheltenham
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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