Stream 22: Immigration and the welfare state

Verena Seibel and Troels Fage Hedegaard

The recent increase of migration into the European welfare states invokes strong feelings within the native population. It is well known by now, that at least parts of the European populations are very sceptical about sharing welfare with newcomers. This wave of “welfare chauvinism” has however not hit Europe evenly, as attitudes to migrants’ receiving welfare benefits and services varies across the continent. Further, these attitudes have not translated into similar politics and policy across all countries. Therefore, we invite papers that study where, when and why natives oppose sharing welfare with migrants and how that is translated into politics.

Seen from the migrant’s perspective the relationship with the welfare state might not be straight forward, either. We know that migrants tend to use welfare benefits and services more than the natives, but to a lesser extent than they are entitled to. This “gap” in welfare usage has been tied to a number of factors including migrants’ knowledge of welfare rights, their views on the welfare state, socialization, values, as well as socioeconomic differences between migrants and natives. However, we still know very little about the immigrant perspective of the welfare state. We therefore invite all papers that explore the relationship between migrants and the welfare state in all its complexities.

All papers that combine the two topics of immigration and the welfare, whether they study them qualitatively, quantitatively or normatively, are welcome. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

Migrants’ usage of welfare benefits and services

Migrants’ attitudes to the welfare state and the surrounding society

Natives’ attitudes to sharing welfare resources with migrants

Studies of when and how this welfare chauvinism spill over into politics