General versus program-specific welfare chauvinism: The case of attitudes to Eastern European workers’ access to benefits and services in Denmark

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The article investigates how welfare chauvinism differs across various social benefits and services. The case is Danes’ attitudes towards granting social rights to Eastern European workers. For some programs a clear majority favours giving social rights immediately on arrival, e.g. rights to health care, whereas permanent exclusion is favoured for other programs, e.g. child allowances given to children in country of origin. These findings support the thesis of program-specific welfare chauvinism and point to a political space for pragmatic adjustments of current EU rules. The article also finds similarity across programs. The Danish welfare chauvinist attitudes are in general fuelled by lack of shared identity with migrants and sociotropic concerns about the economic burden of migration. The article finds little evidence of narrow self-interest effects; with a notable exception of disability pensioners having stronger welfare chauvinist attitudes than other groups.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - May 2016

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