The Welfare State: The Equality Dimension

Edeltraud Roller

in The Scope of Government

Published in print September 1998 | ISBN: 9780198294740
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598838 | DOI:

Series: Beliefs in Government

 The Welfare State: The Equality Dimension

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There are two motives underlying support for the welfare state—socio‐economic egalitarianism (the redistributive function) and socio‐economic security provision (the safety net function). This chapter assesses the various hypotheses concerning the former, the indicators on which they rely, and the statistical evidence for the varying degrees of support for redistributive policies across Western Europe. The evidence suggests that the concern over socio‐economic inequality diminishes proportionately as national prosperity and standards of living increase. However, while it clearly exists, it is much less salient than concern over security provision, which is discussed in the next chapter.

Keywords: redistribution; welfare state; Western Europe

Chapter.  11554 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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