Who should get what, and why? On deservingness criteria and the conditionality of solidarity among the public

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Wim van Oorschot Department of Social Security Studies, Tilburg University, The Netherlands

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English

With the recent reconstruction of welfare states the social protection of citizens has become more conditional and selective - the basic welfare question of ‘who should get what, and why’ has come to the fore again. To understand the societal legitimation for the new conditionality of welfare it is important to know which deservingness criteria are acknowledged by the public and their relative importance; whether people differ in the degree to which their solidarity with others is conditional, and which groups in society tend to be most or least conditional in their views; and factors that might explain differences in people’s views. Conclusion are drawn through the analysis of existing literature and a public opinion survey carried out in The Netherlands in 1995. The survey responses reveal some clear deservingness criteria and differences in conditionality, which can be linked to three different sets of explanatory variables: socioeconomic and demographic characteristics; opinions on and perceptions of social security and the welfare state; and basic values and attitudes.

Wim van Oorschot Department of Social Security Studies, Tilburg University, The Netherlands

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