Reciprocity in welfare institutions and normative attitudes in EU Member States

Reciprocity in welfare institutions and normative attitudes in EU Member States

September 19, 2019

Working Paper

This paper analyses how national welfare institutions and normative attitudes to welfare vary across EU/EFTA countries, and how national welfare institutions are linked to welfare attitudes, a long-standing question of comparative welfare state research. Our focus in this paper is on the concept of ‘reciprocity’ in welfare institutions and welfare attitudes, an important, and, we argue, under-researched issue that has been at the heart of recent debates about common EU policy-making, especially about whether and how to reform the current rules for free movement of workers in the EU. More specifically, the paper uses data from the European Social Survey (ESS) and a newly-constructed dataset of the characteristics of welfare institutions in 24 EU countries to address three questions: How do social protection programmes in EU member states differ with regard to reciprocity? How do normative attitudes to reciprocity in welfare programmes vary across EU member states? And finally, how are these normative attitudes linked to the actual design of welfare state programmes?

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