Welfare state reform support from below

Linking individual attitudes and organized interests in Europe

Public opinion and “vested” organised interests are seen as major obstacles to changing the status quo of social policies. Far-reaching reforms of welfare states are politically risky for governments, as they have to fear electoral backlash and opposition from interest groups. The long-term goal of the project is to analyse the positioning of organised interests and public opinion on social policy reform issues as well as the feedback of reforms on individual attitudes and collective interest strategies in contentious social policy issues (pensions and health care). By comparing selected European countries, in particular, Germany, Britain and France, the project maps different welfare state settings and interest intermediation systems in order to show their impact on the political economy of welfare state reform. The project also participates in the German Internet Panel, conducting modules on social policy reforms over time. The project contributes to the SFB’s overall theme by focusing on the impact of different institutional contexts on individual and collective actors’ positioning on social policy reform issues in a comparative and dynamic perspective.

For further information, please visit the project site at the Research Centre 884.