An Institutional Embeddedness of Welfare Opinions? The Link between Public Opinion and Social Policy in the Netherlands (1970-2004)

J (Judith) Raven, PHJ Achterberg, Romke van der Veen, MA Yerkes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A major shortcoming in the existing literature on welfare state legitimacy is that it cannot explain when social policy designs follow public preferences and when public opinion follows existing policy designs and why. Scholars examining the in?uence of public opinion on welfare policies, as well as scholars investigating institutional in?uences on individual welfare attitudes, ?nd empirical evidence to support both relationships. While a relationship in both directions is plausible, scholars have yet to thoroughly investigate the mutual relationship between these two. Consequently, we still do not know under which circumstances welfare institutions invoke public approval of welfare policies and under which circumstances public opinion drives welfare policy. Taking a quantitative approach to public opinion and welfare state policies in the Netherlands, this paper addresses this issue in an attempt to increase our understanding of welfare state legitimacy. The results show that individual opinions in?uence relatively new policies, policies which are not yet fully established and where policy designs are still evolving and developing. Social policy, on the other hand, is found to in?uence individual opinions on established and highly institutionalised policies, but does not in?uence individual opinions in relatively new areas of social policy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-386
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Social Policy
Volume40
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Research programs

  • ESSB SOC

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