The institutional logic of giving migrants access to social benefits and services

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The article analyses how the programmatic structure of welfare schemes in Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany shape public perceptions of and preferences for migrants’ entitlement to social benefits and services. First, the article finds that despite high complexity and the presence of some severe misconceptions, the entitlement criteria of migrants within existing social benefits and services do shape public perceptions of reality. Second, the article finds that these institutional shaped perceptions of reality strongly influence preferences for how migrants’ entitlement criteria should be. This status quo effect is more moderate among populist right-wing voters, in general, and in the critical case of attitudes to non-EU migrants’ entitlement to social assistance in Denmark. However, in all segments, one finds strong correlations between ‘are’ and ‘should be’, which is taken as indications of clear and sizeable institutional effects.

TidsskriftJournal of European Social Policy
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)48-62
Antal sider15
StatusUdgivet - 2020


  • Welfare nationalism
  • welfare chauvinism
  • migration


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