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  • Author or Editor: Bent Greve x
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In the wake of the financial crisis, and with increasing numbers of people in precarious and low paid jobs, there has been a surprising surge of support for populist right-wing political parties who often promote an anti-welfare message. Tougher approaches and welfare chauvinism are on the agenda in many countries, with policies which reduce the welfare state for those seen as undeserving and changes that often disproportionally benefit the rich.

Why are voters seemingly not concerned about growing inequality? Using a mixed-methods approach and newly released data, this book aims to answer this question and to show possible ways forward for welfare states.

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Bent Greve’s Chapter Five shifts the focus again in a non-conventional way, this time to consider occupational and fiscal welfare. The post-crisis period may, he argues, signify a reconfiguration of welfare state effort, especially if we look beyond the traditional state services. The chapter seeks to promote a greater understanding of the role of fiscal and occupational welfare within welfare states, before looking at the patterns of provision in recent years. Despite problems with the data, Greve offers some interesting insights into what the crisis may mean for the distribution of state and employer provision in future.

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This last chapter sum up what can be considered central aspects and elements to be aware of if connecting populism, welfare chauvinism and developments in welfare states. Furthermore, it presents a few suggestions for future development.

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It presents the key question the book will delve into: Key points and questions for the book to delve into are: Will populist erode or support welfare states development? Can populist and chauvinist stance explain specific traits in welfare states development? Is it possible that populist development will imply restructuring of the welfare state, also even if there is decreased trust in welfare state administration and politicians? Finally, it gives an overview of the book.

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Voters and citizens perception of what would be the best way for a welfare state to develop are often analysed by a variety of concepts. They will, albeit shortly, be presented as this will help framing the presentation of the content of the book. The basic concept expected to be included is: welfare chauvinism, legitimacy, deserving/undeserving, populism and ideas. This also as several of these concepts are not always used consistently and/or having connotations that implicitly indicates a normative position. Still, these concepts are influential, and some has been for many years, in the understanding of why welfare states have developed as they have.

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This chapter focuses on why inequality matters for welfare states, why we should have an interest in this topic, and how this is related to issues of populism and welfare chauvinism. This is done by trying to systematize the knowledge we have on why inequality matters for, and in relation to, economic growth, for health and for social cohesion. It also discusses why trickle-down economics do not work. The development in inequality is analysed by showing the development using traditional aspects such as the Gini coefficient, but also reflecting on, and showing, data on inequality in health and how this can be seen as connected to change in economic inequality.

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The chapter depicts how and what the consequence for social cohesion of recent years development on the labour market has been. This includes a short description of possible future trends on labour market and how they can influence welfare state developments. It further includes reference to the Europeanization and globalisation discussion, as this also is an issue in relation to the labour market development, including how this might have an impact on preferences for state intervention.

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This chapter look into the size of the overall spending on welfare as a percentage of the total economy, measured by GDP, as this is one indicator of whether in relative terms social policy is actually declining or not, albeit it cannot stand alone. This chapter tries to show and depict the development from before the financial crisis until the current time, insofar as comparative data are available.

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This chapter looks into stories about people’s perception on welfare state developments, why they do not trust the political system and the administration or what is often labelled the elite. The chapter draws on a number of recent books and articles trying to depict and understand people’s opinion – from Brexit to the vote for Trump – where one might witness a contradiction between possible self-interest and support for populist viewpoints.

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This chapter presents an interpretation of Sir John Hicks’ approach to the main cause of migration. The theoretical and contextual starting point in his analysis is based on the traditional microeconomic theory. The discussion also studies other competing explanations, and shows that a critical view of the classical economy-driven explanations to migration can provide a wider understanding of key migration patterns. It is also able to provide some insights into the factors that can hinder or facilitate migration. The chapter aims to address the question of the differential impact that national welfare and labour-market policies might directly or indirectly have on migration.

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