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Immigration and the welfare state: a cross-regional analysis of European welfare attitudes
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9023-7316
University of Mannheim, Mannheim Centre for European Social Research.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4983-3137
2017 (English)In: International Journal of Comparative Sociology, ISSN 0020-7152, E-ISSN 1745-2554, Vol. 58, no 5, p. 440-463Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A growing body of research connects diversity to anti-welfare attitudes and lower levels of social welfare expenditure, yet most evidence comes from analyses of US states or comparisons of the United States to Europe. Comparative analyses of European nation-states, however, yield little evidence that immigration – measured at the country-level – reduces support for national welfare state programs. This is not surprising, given that research suggests that the impact of diversity occurs at smaller, sub-national geographic units. Therefore, in this article, we test the hypothesis that immigration undermines welfare attitudes by assessing the impact of immigration measured at the regional-level on individual-level support for redistribution, a comprehensive welfare state, and immigrants’ social rights. To do this, we combine data from the European Social Survey with a unique regional dataset compiled from national censuses, Eurostat, and the European Election Database (13 countries, 114 regions, and 23,213 individuals). Utilizing multilevel modeling, we find a negative relationship between regional percent foreign-born and support for redistribution as well as between regional percent foreign-born and support for a comprehensive welfare state. Objective immigration, however, does not increase opposition to immigrants’ social rights (i.e. welfare chauvinism). We discuss the implications of these results and conclude that traditional welfare state attitudes and welfare chauvinism are distinct phenomena that should not be conflated in future research.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Thousand oaks: Sage Publications, 2017. Vol. 58, no 5, p. 440-463
Keywords [en]
immigration, redistribution, welfare state, welfare chauvinism, Western Europe
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-129391DOI: 10.1177/0020715217690796ISI: 000412817800005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-129391DiVA, id: diva2:1059846
Funder
Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation, 2014.0019Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, P14-0775:1Available from: 2016-12-24 Created: 2016-12-24 Last updated: 2018-06-09Bibliographically approved

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Eger, Maureen A.Breznau, Nate

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