Welfare state attitudes and support for social Europe: Spillover or obstacle?

Sharon Baute, Bart Meuleman, Koenraad Abts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)
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This study investigates how support for Social Europe is related to citizens’ welfare attitudes. On the one hand, welfare attitudes can spill over from the national to the European level, given that Social Europe aims to achieve similar goals to those of national welfare states. On the other hand, support for the welfare state can be an obstacle, if citizens perceive the nation state and the European Union as competing or substituting governance levels. Using data from the 2014 Belgian National Election Study, we take a multidimensional approach to Social Europe, capturing attitudes toward social regulations, member state solidarity, European social citizenship, and a European social security system. Results demonstrate that citizens who are more positive about the welfare state are also more supportive of Social Europe. However, positive welfare attitudes do not affect all dimensions of Social Europe to the same extent. The spillover effect of support for basic welfare state principles is strongest for policy instruments of Social Europe that are less intrusive to national welfare states (EU social regulations). By contrast, welfare state critique has a stronger impact on support for more intrusive instruments (European social citizenship).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-145
JournalJournal of Social Policy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019




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