Working paper

Four Faces of Marginalization: Variations in Institutional Frameworks of Welfare State Provisions and Social Trust in Europe

Year:

2018

Published in:

Munich Personal RePEc Archive
welfare state
social trust
institutional design
universal social benefits
selective social benefits

By assuming that marginalization threatens social trust formation, this study introduces a new analytical framework to explain the relationship between a welfare state’s institutional design and trust levels in European societies. A good’s life cycle view consisting of production and consumption is applied to the provision of social benefits to discern four forms of marginalization in an individual’s experience with the welfare state: (a) marginalization through attitude, (b) marginalization through context, (c) marginalization through poverty, and (d) marginalization through opportunity lack. We argue that universalism in benefit provisions minimizes each of the four marginalization forms whereas selectivity is characterized by higher odds of marginalization. We further demonstrate that this especially holds true when universal social programs are generous and the state dedicates substantial resources to their funding. When the state’s resources are scarce, selectivity becomes a good alternative to universalism and may enhance social trust formation among individuals. We tested our hypotheses using data from the European Social Survey (2010).

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