The Transformation of European Welfare States: Long-term challenges and opportunities

Copyright Yarek Waszul

European Welfare States have undergone profound transformations over the past thirty years. These changes are also reflected in public attitudes and aspirations for the future.

Between 2015 and 2018, I was involved in the NORFACE-funded project “Welfare States Futures: Our Children’s Europe” (led by Prof. Peter Taylor-Gooby), which investigated such evolving attitudes by organising a series of mini-publics and focus groups in five European countries (Denmark, Germany, Norway, Slovenia and the United Kingdom). Mini-public participants were asked to reflect on which benefits and services should be offered by the state in a generation’s time, therefore allowing us to investigate long-term aspirations. The main findings of this project are presented in the following volume:

Taylor-Gooby, P. and Leruth, B. (eds. 2018) Attitudes, Aspirations and Welfare: Social Policy Directions in Uncertain Times, Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Welfare chauvinism, populism and Euroscepticism all have major implications for the future of social policy. Yet, the causes and most importantly the consequences of their increasing popularity and implementation remain understudied. Factors such as the nature of crises, the type of welfare regime and the type of policy targeted (e.g. contrasting healthcare with unemployment benefits) are yet to be investigated. My current research focuses on how and why welfare chauvinism, populism and Euroscepticism affect general understandings, perceptions, attitudes and policies of welfare.

Further reading:

Benjamin Leruth
Benjamin Leruth
Assistant Professor in European Politics and Society