English title: Risk, social protection and trust amidst cuts in welfare spending

Author(s): Benjamin Hadis -

Language: English

Type: Journal article

Year: 2014


In this article, I explore the connections between budgetary cuts to social protection (the fraying of the safety net), the resulting enhancement of risks to which a substantial segment of the world population is exposed, the process of commodification of protective resources, and the concomitant erosion of public trust. Casting light on the notion of trust, the concept of legitimacy focuses on the link between risk and social protection. In this vein, in this article I test five related hypotheses and draw on country-level data to account for variations among European nations’ climates of social trust. The key findings of my analysis are that transparency and institutional governmental performance in the protection of the citizenry boost legitimacy. In turn, legitimacy results in compliance with societal rules. Furthermore, such compliance enhances social trust. However, the commodification of social protection can stifle the climate of social trust even where transparency and institutional performance prevails. Universal systems of social protection that avoid need-based eligibility, in turn, can act as antidotes of commodification – and thus spread social trust when a Beveridge-type system of social protection gains public support and it is accompanied by transparency.

Volume: 16

Issue: 5

From page no: 459

To page no: 480

Refereed: Yes

DOI: 10.1080/13698575.2014.936832

Journal: Health, Risk and Society

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