Journal article

The Four Faces of Marginalization: Welfare State Provisions and Social Trust in Europe

Year:

2022

Published in:

Arthaniti: Journal of Economic Theory and Practice
institutional frameworks
welfare state provisions
social trust
Europe

By assuming that marginalisation 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 lifecycle view, consisting of production and consumption, is applied to the provision of social benefits to discern four forms of marginalisation in an individual’s experience with the welfare state: (a) marginalisation through attitude, (b) marginalisation through context, (c) marginalisation through poverty and (d) marginalisation through opportunity lack. We argue that universalism in benefit provisions minimises each of the four marginalisation forms whereas selectivity is characterised by higher odds of marginalisation. We further demonstrate that this especially holds true when universal social programmes 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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