Retrenchment of unemployment protection and the absence of public resistance in Denmark and the Netherlands. The role of popular deservingness perceptions among welfare constituents.

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    In many European countries, today’s unemployment benefits are considerably less generous in terms of social rights and more conditional in terms of work-related obligations than they were a few decades ago. This article seeks to explain the puzzle of why such retrenchment faced little public resistance in a number of countries, including Denmark and the Netherlands. The lack of resistance is puzzling because Dutch and Danish unemployment schemes have traditionally had relatively large and well-organized welfare constituencies. The core argument of the article is that absence of public resistance is rooted in rather harsh deservingness beliefs regarding the unemployed within the constituencies of unemployment benefits. Using Dutch and Danish survey data, the article demonstrates this mechanism by showing that large parts of the constituencies of unemployment insurance, operationalized as self-reported benefit receipt and unemployment experience, evaluate unemployed people quite negatively on the deservingness criteria of control, attitude, reciprocity, identity, and need. Furthermore, these deservingness perceptions strongly decrease constituents’ generosity and increase their conditionality towards the unemployed.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationAalborg
    Number of pages36
    ISBN (Print)978-87-92174-80-2
    ISBN (Electronic)978-87-92174-80-2
    Publication statusPublished - 2018
    SeriesCCWS Working Paper

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