a1 Ohio State University
a2 Yale University
Popular support for the welfare state varies greatly across nations and policy domains. We argue that these variations—vital to understanding the politics of the welfare state—reflect in part the degree to which economic disadvantage (low income) and economic insecurity (high risk) are correlated. When the disadvantaged and insecure are mostly one and the same, the base of popular support for the welfare state is narrow. When the disadvantaged and insecure represent two distinct groups, popular support is broader and opinion less polarized. We test these predictions both across nations within a single policy area (unemployment insurance) and across policy domains within a single polity (the United States, using a new survey). Results are consistent with our predictions and are robust to myriad controls and specifications. When disadvantage and insecurity are more correlated, the welfare state is more contested.
c1 Philipp Rehm is Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Ohio State University and Max Weber Fellow, European University Institute; 154 N. Oval Mall, 2140 Derby Hall, Columbus, OH 43210 (email@example.com).
c2 Jacob S. Hacker is Stanley Resor Professor of Political Science and Director, Institution for Social and Policy Studies, Yale University, 77 Prospect Street, New Haven, CT 06511 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Additional results and robustness checks are available in the supplemental Online Appendix (available at http://www.journals.cambridge.org/psr2012007). Previous versions of this article were presented at the 2011 Conference of Europeanists, the European University Institute, Michigan State University, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella, and Yale University. We are grateful for comments during these occasions. We also would like to thank Pablo Beramendi, Anna auf dem Brinke, Sarah Brooks, Sebastián Etchemendy, Donald Green, Josef Hien, Torben Iversen, David Rueda, Amos J. Zehavi, and anonymous reviewers for their thoughtful suggestions. Financial support from the Rockefeller Foundation is gratefully acknowledged. The usual disclaimers apply.