Welfare Chauvinism

… a core concept in Socioeconomic and Political Context and Atlas105

Click for Bonal-Zollinger article

Concept description

Wikipedia defines welfare chauvinism as the political notion that welfare benefits should be restricted to certain groups, particularly to the natives of a country as opposed to immigrants.

Bonal and Zollinger (2018, reference below, link on right) summarize different theories:

“Over a decade ago, Alesina and Glaeser (2004) argued that support for welfare policies in Europe will decrease as European countries become more ethnically diverse, primarily due to the difficulties of maintaining solidarity among different ethnic groups. However, the reality is still unclear, particularly the extent to which the increase in immigration-generated ethnic diversity challenges the political sustainability of the welfare state in Europe. Furthermore, although a rise in immigration does not necessarily reduce support for the welfare state in general, it can lead to a more restrictive and dualistic, so-called “welfare chauvinistic” type of welfare state where immigrants are less entitled to certain welfare programs than natives. …

“Underlying the idea of ethnic heterogeneity eroding support for the welfare state is the notion that it is difficult to develop feelings of trust and national solidarity across different ethnic groups, which “leads to a decrease in welfare state support because people do not want to redistribute resources to people they do not trust and with whom they do not identify” (Banting and Kymlicka, 2006, p. 18). …

“Some prominent authors in the welfare state literature have traditionally argued that different welfare regimes, according to the Esping-Andersen typology, can have an impact on the kind of preferences towards the welfare state … The social democratic type of welfare regime would generate the highest support, and the liberal or Anglo-Saxon type the lowest. Perhaps more interestingly, the type of welfare state regime may also help to explain why welfare chauvinism is more likely to arise in some countries than in others. For instance, some studies argue that universal regimes tend to reduce the level of welfare chauvinism of natives, while means-tested welfare regimes and programs are more likely to lead to ethnic conflict over welfare …

“However, the opposite can also be argued. In a citizenship-based type of welfare regime, as is typical of Scandinavia, the foreign-born population is, at least formally, eligible to receive welfare benefits once they acquire, for instance, the Swedish nationality. However, in an occupation-based type of welfare regime – such as Spain or Germany – access to certain welfare programs, such as unemployment benefits, hinges on eligibility conditions based on a minimum period of contribution and provides benefits proportional to past contributions … In this type of welfare regime, immigrants are entitled to gain access only insofar as they have also contributed themselves.

“Having this reasoning in mind, it seems plausible that the perceived competition with immigrants for welfare benefits or resources may be higher in the citizenship-based type of welfare regime than in the occupation-based model.”

After reviewing poling data and welfare regimes, Bonal and Zollinger conclude:

“In conclusion, it cannot be affirmed that the immigration-driven increase in ethnic diversity has undermined political support for the welfare state in Europe. Previous work has produced mixed findings. This is not surprising given the multidimensional nature of welfare politics and the apparent relevance of both the state-market and universalism-particularism dimensions for social policy-making. The rise of the immigrant population in most European countries – where this gives rise to politically articulated welfare chauvinism – is relevant for the future development of the welfare state in terms of specific policy design in times of financial austerity. … The politicization and increasing relevance of issues such as welfare chauvinism suggest that, in addition to the traditional state-market dimension, the identity based universalism-particularism dimension has become relevant for economic policies regarding welfare and labour market regulation. Preference formation regarding welfare deservingness seems to follow a different logic than preferences for more versus less redistribution (Häusermann and Kriesi, 2015). Taking this into account will allow for more differentiated assessments of how ethnic diversity affects welfare policy making.”

Atlas topic, subject, and course

Immigration and Integration (core topic) in Socioeconomic and Political Context and Atlas105.

Sources

Wikipedia, Welfare chauvinism, at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welfare_chauvinism, accessed 27 December 2018.

Luis Cornago Bonal and Delia Zollinger (2018), Immigration, Welfare Chauvinism and the Support for Radical Right Parties in Europe, LSE Blogs, 19 March 2018, at http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/eurocrisispress/2018/03/19/immigration-welfare-chauvinism-and-the-support-for-radical-right-parties-in-europe/, accessed 27 December 2018. References noted above: Alberto Alesina and Edward Glaeser (2004), Fighting Poverty in the US and Europe: A World of Difference, Oxford University Press; Will Kymlicka and Keith Banting (2006), Immigration, Multiculturalism, and the Welfare State, Ethics & International Affairs, Volume 20, Issue 3.

Page created by: Alec Wreford and Ian Clark, last modified on 27 December 2018.

Image: Luis Cornago Bonal and Delia Zollinger (2018), Immigration, Welfare Chauvinism and the Support for Radical Right Parties in Europe, LSE Blogs, 19 March 2018, at http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/eurocrisispress/2018/03/19/immigration-welfare-chauvinism-and-the-support-for-radical-right-parties-in-europe/, accessed 27 December 2018.