Advertisement

Social Indicators Research

, Volume 137, Issue 1, pp 353–378 | Cite as

Measuring Attitudes Towards Social Europe: A Multidimensional Approach

  • Sharon Baute
  • Bart Meuleman
  • Koen Abts
  • Marc Swyngedouw
Article

Abstract

Although the notion of ‘Social Europe’ can refer to different principles and policy options, most research narrows down attitudes towards Social Europe to a unidimensional construct. In this study, we instead propose a multi-dimensional approach, and contribute to the literature in three ways. First, we elaborate the notion of ‘Social Europe’ conceptually, and distinguish between the decision-making level for social policy, European social citizenship, harmonization, member-state solidarity and interpersonal solidarity. Second, analysing the 2014 Belgian National Election Study by means of confirmatory factor analysis we evidence that citizens indeed have distinct attitudes towards the policy principles and instruments of Social Europe. Although these attitudinal dimensions are interrelated, they cannot be reduced to a single Social Europe factor, meaning that citizens differentiate in their attitudes between various aspects of Social Europe. In addition, our research indicates that member-state solidarity is the primary aspect of Social Europe in public opinion, whereas the feature that has received most scholarly attention in empirical research to date—the preferred decision-making level for social policy—cannot be considered as a key component of attitudes towards Social Europe. Third, we investigate whether citizens with different educational levels conceptualize Social Europe similarly using multigroup confirmatory factor analysis. Results indicate that the attitudinal factor structure of Social Europe is largely equivalent among lower and higher-educated citizens.

Keywords

Social Europe European integration Social dimension Public opinion Attitudes 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This study was made possible by grants from KU Leuven research council (OT/13/30), the Belgian National Lottery and the National Science Foundation FWO-Vlaanderen (Grant Number G068816 N).

References

  1. Abts, K., Swyngedouw, M., Meuleman, B., Baute, S., Galle, J., & Gaasendam, C. (2015). Belgian National Election Study 2014. Codebook: Questions and frequency tables. Leuven: ISPO-KU Leuven and CLEO—Université de Liège.Google Scholar
  2. Alber, J. (2006). The European social model and the United States. European Union Politics, 7(3), 393–419.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Allen, D. (2010). The structural funds and cohesion policy. In H. Wallace, M. A. Pollack, & A. Young (Eds.), Policy-making in the European Union (6th ed., pp. 229–252). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Allespach, M., & Machnig, J. (2013). A change in course towards a social Europe. In A. M. Grozelier, B. Hacker, W. Kowalsky, J. Machnig, H. Meyer, & B. Unger (Eds.), Roadmap to a social Europe Social Europe report. (pp. 92–94).Google Scholar
  5. Anderson, J. (1995). Structural funds and the social dimension of EU policy: Springboard or stumbling block? In S. Leibfried & P. Pierson (Eds.), European social policy: Between fragmentation and integration (pp. 123–158). Washington DC: The Brookings Institution.Google Scholar
  6. Andor, L. (2016). Towards shared unemployment insurance in the euro area. IZA Journal of European Labor Studies, 5(10), 1–15.Google Scholar
  7. Atkinson, A. B., & Marlier, E. (2010). Income and living conditions in Europe. Luxembourg. Retrieved from http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/documents/3217494/5722557/KS-31-10-555-EN.PDF
  8. Bartolini, S. (2005). Restructuring Europe: Centre formation, system building, and political structuring between the nation state and the European Union. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Beaudonnet, L. (2012). You don’t bite the hand that feeds you: The impact of redistribution on attitudes towards Europe. CSD working papers. Retrieved from http://escholarship.org/uc/item/3nh085bd
  10. Beaudonnet, L. (2013). Preferences for European social policy in times of crisis. Politique européenne, 42(4), 96–123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Beaudonnet, L. (2014). Take one for the team? A study of the individual bases for European solidarity in times of crisis. Presented at the 10th European Community Studies Association—Canada biennial conference, Université de Montréal, Montreal, 8–10 May 2014.Google Scholar
  12. Beaudonnet, L., & Di Mauro, D. (2012). Support for Europe: Assessing the complexity of individual attitudes. In L. Beaudonnet, & D. Di Mauro (Eds.), Beyond Euro-skepticism: Understanding attitudes towards the EU. European integration online papers, special issue 2, Vol. 16, article 9. http://eiop.or.at/eiop/texte/2012-009a.htm
  13. Bechtel, M. M., Hainmueller, J., & Margalit, Y. (2014). Preferences for international redistribution: The divide over the Eurozone bailouts. American Journal of Political Science, 58(4), 835–856.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Berg, L. (2007). Multi-level Europeans. The influence of territorial attachments on political trust and welfare attitudes. Doctoral dissertation, Göteborg University, Göteborg, Sweden. Retrieved from https://gupea.ub.gu.se/bitstream/2077/17144/7/gupea_2077_17144_7.pdf
  15. Boomgaarden, H. G., Schuck, A. R. T., Elenbaas, M., & de Vreese, C. H. (2011). Mapping EU attitudes: Conceptual and empirical dimensions of Euroscepticism and EU support. European Union Politics, 12(2), 241–266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Bruzelius, C., Chase, E., & Seeleib-Kaiser, M. (2014). Semi-sovereign welfare states, social rights of EU migrant citizens and the need for strong state capacities. Oxford Institute of Social Policy. Retrieved from http://socialeurope.eu/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/RE3-Seeleib.pdf
  17. Büchs, M. (2007). New governance in European social policy: The open method of coordination (Vol. 15). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Burgoon, B. (2009). Social nation and social Europe: Support for national and supranational welfare compensation in Europe. European Union Politics, 10(4), 427–455.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Byrne, B., & Stewart, S. M. (2006). Teacher’s corner: The MACS approach to testing for multigroup invariance of a second-order structure: A walk through the process. Structural Equation Modeling, 13(2), 287–321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Castles, F. G., Leibfried, S., Lewis, J., Obinger, H., & Pierson, C. (2010). The Oxford handbook of the welfare state. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Cautrès, B. (2012). Multidimensionality of EU attitudes in France: An issue for the understanding of the politicization of attitudes towards the EU. In L. Beaudonnet, & D. Di Mauro (Eds.), Beyond Euro-skepticism: Understanding attitudes towards the EU. European integration online papers, special issue 2, Vol. 16, article 7. http://eiop.or.at/eiop/texte/2012-007a.htm
  22. Chen, F. F., Sousa, K. H., & West, S. G. (2005). Teacher’s corner: Testing measurement invariance of second-order factor models. Structural Equation Modeling, 12(3), 471–492.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Crum, B. (2011). What do we owe the Poles (or the Greeks)? Three emerging Duties of transnational social justice in the European Union. RECON online working paper 2011/35. Retrieved from www.reconproject.eu/projectweb/portalproject/RECONWorkingPapers.html
  24. Davidov, E., Meuleman, B., Cieciuch, J., Schmidt, P., & Billiet, J. (2014). Measurement equivalence in cross-national research. Annual Review of Sociology, 40(1), 55–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. De la Porte, C., & Pochet, P. (2012). Why and how (still) study the open method of co-ordination (OMC)? Journal of European Social Policy, 22(3), 336–349.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. De Winter, L., & Swyngedouw, M. (1999). The scope of EU government. In H. Schmitt & J. Thomassen (Eds.), Political representation and legitimacy in the European Union (pp. 47–73). Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Dillman, D., Smyth, J., & Christian, L. (2014). Internet, phone, mail, and mixed-mode surveys: The tailored design method. Hoboken: Wiley.Google Scholar
  28. DiStefano, C. (2002). The impact of categorization with confirmatory factor analysis. Structural Equation Modeling, 9(3), 327–346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Dougan, M., & Spaventa, E. (2005). Wish you weren’t here… New models of social solidarity in the European Union. In M. Dougan & E. Spaventa (Eds.), Social welfare and EU law (pp. 181–218). London: Hart Publishing.Google Scholar
  30. Dullien, S. (2012). A European unemployment insurance as a stabilization deviceSelected issues. Brussels. Paper prepared for brainstorming workshop on July 2, 2012 at the DG EMPL.Google Scholar
  31. Eichenberg, R. C., & Dalton, R. J. (2007). Post-Maastricht blues: The transformation of citizen support for European integration, 1973–2004. Acta Politica, 42(2–3), 128–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. European Commission. (2007). Standard Eurobarometer 65/Spring 2006: Public opinion in the European Union. Brussels: European Commission.Google Scholar
  33. European Commission. (2010). Standard Eurobarometer 73/Spring 2010: Public opinion in the European Union. Brussels: European Commission.Google Scholar
  34. European Commission. (2014). Standard Eurobarometer 81/Spring 2014: Public opinion in the European Union. Brussels: European Commission.Google Scholar
  35. European Commission. (2015). EU budget 2014: Financial report. Luxembourg. Retrieved from http://ec.europa.eu/budget/financialreport/2014/expenditure/allocation/index_en.html
  36. European Economic and Social Committee. (2013). Opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee on European minimum income and poverty indicators, SOC/482. Brussels, 10 Dec 2013. Retrieved from http://www.eesc.europa.eu/?i=portal.en.soc-opinions.26780
  37. European Parliament. (2015). The principle of subsidiarity. Retrieved from http://www.europarl.europa.eu/ftu/pdf/en/FTU_1.2.2.pdf
  38. Faist, T. (2001). Social citizenship in the European Union: Nested membership. Journal of Common Market Studies, 39(1), 37–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Falkner, G. (2009a). European integration and the welfare state(s) in Europe. Working paper 3. Vienna: Institute for European Integration Research, Austrian Academy of Sciences.Google Scholar
  40. Falkner, G. (2009b). The EU’s social dimension. In M. Cini & N. P.-S. Borragán (Eds.), European Union Politics (3rd ed., pp. 275–290). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  41. Falkner, G. (2010). European Union. In F. G. Castles, S. Leibfried, J. Lewis, H. Obinger, & C. Pierson (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of the welfare state (pp. 292–305). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  42. Fattibene, D. (2015). Creating a union with a “human face”: A European unemployment insurance. Retrieved from http://www.socialeurope.eu/2015/07/creating-union-human-face-european-unemployment-insurance/
  43. Fernandes, S., & Maslauskaite, K. (2013a). A social dimension for the EMU: Why and how? Policy Paper 98. Notre Europe—Jacques Delors Institute. Retrieved from http://www.notre-europe.eu/media/socialdimensionsforeumfernandesmaslauskaitene-jdisept2013.pdf?pdf=ok
  44. Fernandes, S., & Maslauskaite, K. (2013b). Deepening the EMU: How to maintain and develop the European social model? A study for the Federal Chancellery of Austria. Studies and reports, Notre Europe—Jacques Delors Institute.Google Scholar
  45. Fernandes, S., & Rubio, E. (2012). Solidarity within the Eurozone: How much, what for, for how long? Policy Paper 51, Notre Europe—Jacques Delors Institute. Retrieved from http://www.institutdelors.eu/media/solidarityemus.fernandes-e.rubionefeb2012.pdf?pdf=ok.
  46. Ferrera, M. (2005). The boundaries of welfare: European integration and the new spatial politics of social protection. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Ferrera, M. (2014). Social Europe and its components in the midst of the crisis: a conclusion. West European Politics, 37(4), 825–843.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Fichtner, F. (2014). Euro area-wide unemployment insurance: Useless, desirable, or indispensable? In D. Natali (Ed.), Social developments in the European Union 2013 (pp. 115–130). Brussels: ETUI aisbl.Google Scholar
  49. Føllesdal, A., Giorgi, L., & Heuberger, R. (2007). Envisioning European solidarity between welfare ideologies and the European social agenda. Innovation, 20(1), 75–89.Google Scholar
  50. Gaxie, D., Hubé, N., & Rowell, J. (2011). Perceptions of Europe. A comparative sociology of European attitudes. Colchester: ECPR Press.Google Scholar
  51. Gerhards, J., & Lengfeld, H. (2013). European integration, equality rights and people’s beliefs: Evidence from Germany. European Sociological Review, 29(1), 19–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Gerhards, J., & Lengfeld, H. (2015). European citizenship and social integration in the European Union. Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  53. Gerhards, J., Lengfeld, H., & Häuberer, J. (2014). The EU crisis and citizens support for a European welfare state. Arbeitspapier Nr. 30, Berliner Studien zur Soziologie Europas. Retrieved from http://www.polsoz.fu-berlin.de/soziologie/arbeitsbereiche/makrosoziologie/arbeitspapiere/pdf/BSSE-Nr_-30.pdf.
  54. Gerrits, A. M. W. (2015). Solidarity and the European Union: From the welfare state to the Euro crisis. In E. Hillebrand & A. M. Kellner (Eds.), Shaping a different Europe: Contributions to a critical debate. Bonn: Dietz Verlag J.H.W. Nachf.Google Scholar
  55. Geyer, R. (2000). Exploring European social policy. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  56. Giubboni, S. (2014). European citizenship and social rights in times of crisis. German Law Journal, 15(5), 935–964.Google Scholar
  57. Gold, M. (1993). The social dimension: Employment policy in the European Community. Basingstoke: Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Grozelier, A.M., Hacker, B., Kowalsky, W., Machnig, J., Meyer, H., & Unger, B. (2013). Roadmap to a social Europe. Social Europe report.Google Scholar
  59. Habermas, J. (2013). Democracy, solidarity and the European crisis. In A. M. Grozelier, B. Hacker, W. Kowalsky, J. Machnig, H. Meyer, & B. Unger (Eds.), Roadmap to a social Europe. Social Europe report. (pp. 4–13).Google Scholar
  60. Heggestad, E. D., Rogelberg, S., Goh, A., & Oswald, F. L. (2015). Considering the effects of nonresponse on correlations between surveyed variables. Journal of Personnel Psychology, 14(2), 91–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Hodson, D., & Maher, I. (2001). The open method as a new mode of governance: The case of soft economic policy co-ordination. Journal of Common Market Studies, 39(4), 719–746.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Jepsen, M., & Pascual, A. S. (2005). The European social model: An exercise in deconstruction. Journal of European Social Policy, 15(3), 231–245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Kleinman, M. (2002). A European welfare state? European Union social policy in context. Basingstoke: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  64. Kriesi, H., Grande, E., Lachat, R., Dolezal, M., Bornschier, S., & Frey, T. (2008). West European politics in the age of globalization. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Leibfried, S. (2000). National welfare states, European integration and globalization: A perspective for the next century. Social Policy and Administration, 34(1), 44–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Leibfried, S. (2015). Social policy: Left to the judges and the markets? In H. Wallace, W. Wallace, & M. A. Pollack (Eds.), Policy-making in the European Union (7th ed., pp. 263–292). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  67. Leibfried, S., & Pierson, P. (1995). European social policy: Between fragmentation and integration. Washington DC: The Brookings Institution.Google Scholar
  68. Lengfeld, H., Schmidt, S., & Häuberer, J. (2015). Is there a European solidarity? Attitudes towards fiscal assistance for debt-ridden European Union member states. SSRN Electronic Journal. Retrieved from http://papers.ssrn.com/abstract=2597605
  69. Levy, H., Matsaganis, M., & Sutherland, H. (2013). Towards a European Union child basic income? Within and between country effects. International Journal of Microsimulation, 6(1), 63–85.Google Scholar
  70. Magnusson, L., & Stråth, B. (2004). A European social citizenship? Preconditions for future policies from a historical perspective. Brussels: P.I.E.-Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  71. Majone, G. (1993). The European Community between social policy and social regulation. Journal of Common Market Studies, 31(2), 153–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Martinsen, D. S., & Vollaard, H. (2014). Implementing social Europe in times of crises: Re-established boundaries of welfare? West European Politics, 37(4), 677–692.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Mau, S. (2005). Democratic demand for a social Europe? Preferences of the European citizenry. International Journal of Social Welfare, 14(2), 76–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Mau, S., & Verwiebe, R. (2010). European societies: Mapping structure and change. Bristol: Policy Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Mewes, J., & Mau, S. (2012). Unraveling working-class welfare chauvinism. In S. Svallfors (Ed.), Contested welfare states: Welfare attitudes in Europe and beyond (pp. 119–157). Stanford: Stanford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Muthén, B., & Kaplan, D. (1985). A comparison of some methodologies for the factor analysis of non-normal Likert variables. British Journal of Mathematical and Statistical Psychology, 38(2), 171–189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Nida-Rümelin, J., Hirschel, D., Meyer, H., Meyer, T., Möller, A., Scheer, N., Schwan, G., & Schwengel, H. (2013). We need a Europe that is truly social and democratic: The case for a fundamental reform of the European Union. Social Europe Occasional Paper. Retrieved from https://www.socialeurope.eu/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/OccPap3.pdf.
  78. Pena-Casas, R., & Denis, B. (2014). Towards a European minimum income? Discussions, issues and prospects. In D. Natali (Ed.), Social developments in the European Union 2013 (pp. 131–159). Brussels: ETUI aisbl.Google Scholar
  79. Pierson, P., & Leibfried, S. (1995). Multitiered Institutions and the Making of Social Policy. In S. Leibfried & P. Pierson (Eds.), European social policy: Between fragmentation and integration (pp. 1–40). Washington DC: The Brookings Institution.Google Scholar
  80. Pochet, P. (2005). The open method of coordination and the construction of social Europe: A historical perspective. In J. Zeitlin & P. Pochet (Eds.), The open method of coordination in action: The European employment and social inclusion strategies (pp. 37–82). Brussels: P.I.E. Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  81. Porte, C. D. L., Pochet, P., & Room, B. G. (2001). Social benchmarking, policy making and new governance in the EU. Journal of European Social Policy, 11(4), 291–307.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Raspotnik, A., Jacob, M., & Ventura, L. (2012). Discussion paper: The issue of solidarity in the European Union. TEPSA Brief. Retrieved from http://www.tepsa.eu/tepsa-brief-the-issue-of-solidarity-in-the-european-union/
  83. Ray, L. (2004). Don’t rock the boat: Expectations, fears, and opposition to EU-level policy-making. In G. Marks & M. Steenbergen (Eds.), European integration and political conflict (pp. 51–61). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Rhodes, M., & Mény, Y. (1998). The future of European welfare: A new social contract?. London: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Sangiovanni, A. (2013). Solidarity in the European Union. Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, 33(2), 1–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Schafer, J. L., & Graham, J. W. (2002). Missing data: Our view of the state of the art. Psychological Methods, 7(2), 147–177.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Schall, C. E. (2012). Is the problem of European citizenship a problem of social citizenship? Social policy, federalism, and democracy in the EU and United States. Sociological Inquiry, 82(1), 123–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Scharpf, F. W. (2002). The European social model: Coping with the challenges of diversity. Journal of Common Market Studies, 40(4), 645–670.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Seeleib-Kaiser, M. (2013). What is the social dimension of the EU? In A.M. Grozelier, B. Hacker, W. Kowalsky, J. Machnig, H. Meyer, & B. Unger (Eds.), Roadmap to a social Europe Social Europe report. (pp. 25–28).Google Scholar
  90. Threlfall, M. (2003). European social integration: Harmonization, convergence and single social areas. Journal of European Social Policy, 13(2), 121–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. Threlfall, M. (2007). The social dimension of the European Union: Innovative methods for advancing integration. Global Social Policy, 7(3), 271–293.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. Trubek, D. M., & Trubek, L. G. (2005). Hard and soft law in the construction of social Europe: The role of the open method of co-ordination. European Law Journal, 11(3), 343–364.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  93. van der Waal, J., Achterberg, P., Houtman, D., de Koster, W., & Manevska, K. (2010). “Some are more equal than others”: Economic egalitarianism and welfare chauvinism in the Netherlands. Journal of European Social Policy, 20(4), 350–363.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  94. van Oorschot, W., & Meuleman, B. (2012). Welfarism and the multidimensionality of welfare state legitimacy: Evidence from the Netherlands, 2006. International Journal of Social Welfare, 21(1), 79–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  95. Vandenbroucke, (2013). A European social union: Why we need it, what it means. Rivista Italiana Di Politiche Pubbliche, 2(13), 221–247.Google Scholar
  96. Vandenbroucke, F. (2014). The case for a European social union. European policy brief, 23. Retrieved from http://www.egmontinstitute.be/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/EPB-23.pdf.
  97. Von Maydell, B., Borchardt, K., Henke, K. D., Leitner, R., Muffels, R., Quante, M., et al. (2006). Enabling social Europe. Berlin: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  98. West, S. G., Finch, J. F., & Curran, P. J. (1995). Structural equation models with nonnormal variables: Problems and remedies. In R. Hoyle (Ed.), Structural equation modeling: Concepts, issues, and applications (pp. 55–75). Thousang Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Sociological Research (CeSO), Institute for Social and Political Opinion ResearchUniversity of LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  2. 2.Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral SciencesTilburg UniversityTilburgThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations