English title: Welfare Magnetism within Public Opinion. Evaluating Welfare Opinions Among First and Second Generation Immigrants

Author(s): Tim Reeskens -

Language: English

Type: Conference paper/poster

Year: 2014


Invoking the metaphor of the magnet, an oft-heard concern about the sustainability of the welfare state is that generous social welfare provisions serve as an important pull-factor in immigrants' consideration of their preferred country of destination. With their accumulated social risks, immigrants are on average more likely to claim welfare benefits, fueling the idea that such generous provisions reinforce migration flows. If this concern would be justified, then the analysis of attitudes towards social welfare programs among immigrants would reflect such magnetism effect, namely that immigrants would exhibit stronger pro-welfare attitudes compared to the non-immigrant population, particularly in countries with higher per capita spending. To evaluate the extent to which immigrants reflect the idea of welfare magnetism, we analyze the 2008 ?Welfare Attitudes' module of the European Social Survey, fielded in more than 20 countries. This survey allows us to untangle the extent to which self-interest motivations determine welfare attitudes among immigrants equally as they do among non-immigrants. Further, we can evaluate if pro-welfare attitudes are a function of the size of the welfare state immigrants reside in. While our analysis indicates that immigrants are indeed slightly more pro-welfare than the autochthonous population, it also shows that their welfare attitudes are an imprint of the welfare opinions of the majority population of the country they are living in. We conclude our contribution with the implications for the future of the welfare state, the theory of welfare magnetism, and the consequences for public policy.

Conference name: XVIII ISA World Congress of Sociology

Location: Yokohama

Start date: Jun 13, 2014

Type: Paper

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