English title: Selecting, Disentitling, or Investing? Exploring Party and Voter Responses to Immigrant Welfare Dependence in 11 West European Welfare States

Author(s): Edward A. Koning -

Language: English

Type: Conference paper/poster

Year: 2013

Abstract

Academics have long predicted the tension between immigration policies and welfare institutions to lead to the erosion of welfare state structures. Empirical studies, however, have found little evidence for that prediction. This paper argues that concerns about immigrant welfare dependence are more likely to lead to one or more of the following three responses: (1) restrictions and limits on immigrants' access to social programs and benefits; (2) changes to admission policies aimed at attracting those immigrants who are least likely to turn to the state for financial support; and (3) extensive integration services and immigrant-targeted labour market programs. The paper maps the currency these three policy responses enjoy among parties and voters in eleven European welfare states: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Observing much cross-country variation, the paper concludes that the same policy challenge solicits very different responses in different political systems. A second finding concerns the relationship between party and voter views on this subject. While voters tend to agree more with the positions of parties they vote for than with other parties, there is less evidence that a certain policy response is more popular among voters in countries where parties express more belief in it.

Conference name: 2013 Canadian Political Science Association

Location: Victoria, British Columbia

Start date: Jun 4, 2013

Type: Paper