Welfarism and the multidimensionality of welfare state legitimacy: Evidence from The Netherlands, 2006


Bart Meuleman, Centre for Sociological Research, University of Leuven, Parkstraat 45 box 3601, B-3000 Leuven,Belgium. E-mail: bart.meuleman@soc.kuleuven.be


Oorschot W van, Meuleman B. Welfarism and the multidimensionality of welfare state legitimacy: evidence from The Netherlands, 2006

Is it possible that citizens who support a substantial role for government in the provision of welfare are, at the same time, critical about specific aspects of such provision? Based on confirmatory factor analyses, and using a 2006 Dutch survey, this study shows that welfare state legitimacy is indeed multidimensional, i.e. that opinions tend to cluster together in several dimensions referring to various aspects of the welfare state. There is partial evidence for the existence of a single, underlying welfarism dimension which consists basically of views regarding the range of governmental responsibility, as well as of the idea that these governmental provisions do not have unfavourable repercussions in economic or moral spheres. However, the separate dimensions cannot be reduced entirely to this overall welfarism dimension. This is illustrated by the finding that the various attitude dimensions are affected differently by socio-structural position and ideological dispositions.