Published: working paper on subjective measurements of social rights outcomes


Working paper Listening to the Citizens on the State of Social Rights in Europe

EuSocialCit scholars – Brian Burgoon (University of Amsterdam), Marius R. Busemeyer  (University of Konstanz) and Gianna Maria Eick (University of Amsterdam) have published a paper that analyses citizens’ subjective opinions on Europe’s welfare state and social rights.

This paper examines subjective measurements of social rights outcomes by listening to what the citizens in Europe have to say about social rights issues. The listening entails investigating subjective opinions revealed in public-opinion data on Europe’s welfare state and social rights. Our analytical objective is to investigate the roots of such views in social-rights power-resource measures. Our focus on such data is on attitudes towards subjective outcomes, such as views about the adequacy of social benefit take-up and attitudes about the quality of social benefits and the level of life for disadvantaged groups in a respondent’s home nation. The main findings are that living in environments with more normative and instrumental resources, as well as patterns of significant actual take-up and welfare spending effort, can increase subjective judgements of social-rights outcomes – particularly among vulnerable groups who tend to be less positive in such judgements. Our findings, on the other hand, suggest that a lack of individual-level resources that assist in navigating the complicated welfare state bureaucracy might worsen inequality in terms of outcomes (or, at the very least, perceptions of these outcomes).