Comparative European Politics

, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 349–375 | Cite as

Dualism and support for the welfare state

  • José Fernández-Albertos
  • Dulce Manzano
Original Article


This article investigates the determinants of citizens’ preferences for the size of the welfare state. Previous studies have shown that individuals in lower socioeconomic positions express stronger support for welfare state expansion. We argue that this support declines in dual labor markets (those in which there is a significant portion of the labor force not enjoying the working conditions of standard workers) because welfare state intervention is less redistributive as social protection policies tend to benefit the well-protected sectors of the labor force. As a result, the relationship between the socioeconomic attributes of individuals and their views of the welfare state is conditional on the structure of the labor market. We use evidence from the European Social Survey to substantiate empirically this claim and find that in dual labor markets economically disadvantaged groups are less willing to expand the welfare state, and that the mechanism underlying this finding indeed appears to be the less redistributive nature of welfare state intervention in these contexts.


welfare state labor market redistribution public opinion dualism policy preferences 


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • José Fernández-Albertos
    • 1
  • Dulce Manzano
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute for Policies and Public Goods, CSICSpain
  2. 2.Complutense University of Madrid (Sociology VI)Spain

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