Stream 23: The social legitimacy of the welfare state and public opinion: Welfare values and attitudes as drivers and consequences of social policies

Wim Van Oorschot and Dimitri Gugushvili

From a policy perspective public opinions on the various social benefits and services offered by welfare states are interesting for (at least) two reasons. Firstly, in a process of ‘policy responsiveness’, public opinion can function ex-ante as a driving force of policymaking, e.g. by setting and steering political agenda’s. Secondly, in a process of ‘policy feedback’, public opinion can, positively or negatively, adapt to existing policy. One could generally say that the social legitimacy of social policies is larger to the degree that they are ex-ante informed by public opinion, and to the degree that public opinion positively adapts ex-post to policy measures taken.

To this session we invite theory-based, empirical papers with a central focus on welfare values and attitudes as (possible) drivers or consequences of social policies. Papers may have a national, cross-national, and/or longitudinal perspective, and be based on an inductive/qualitative or deductive/quantitative methodological approach.