Monday, 30 January 2017

Do European citizens support the idea of a European welfare state? Evidence from a comparative survey conducted in three EU member states

an article by Jürgen Gerhards (Freie Universität Berlin, Germany), Holger Lengfeld (Universität Leipzig, Germany) and Julia Häuberer (Universität Hamburg, Germany) published in International Sociology Volume 31 Issue 6 (2016)


Some scholars have argued that the only way to resolve the Euro crisis would be to further deepen the integration process by institutionalising a European welfare state. This article examines whether a Europeanised welfare system would be supported by citizens of three member states of the EU. The authors argue that the legitimacy of a harmonisation of national welfare regimes would be established if a majority of citizens supported a Europeanised social policy.

Using survey data from Germany, Poland and Spain, descriptive findings show that indeed a majority supports the idea of Europeanisation of social policy.

Further, multivariate analyses show that those respondents who reject Europeanisation of social policy cannot be characterised to any significant extent in terms of socio-economic factors, and are only slightly more likely to be associated with cultural factors. The cleavages that structure people’s attitudes are thus relatively weak.

The authors conclude that the potential for political mobilisation against Europeanisation of social policy in the three countries under investigation is rather low.

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