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The responsiveness of social policies in EuropeThe Netherlands in comparative perspective$
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Menno Fenger, Martijn van der Steen, and Lieske van der Torre

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781447305767

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447305767.001.0001

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Responsive policies in contested welfare states?

Responsive policies in contested welfare states?

(p.9) Two Responsive policies in contested welfare states?
The responsiveness of social policies in Europe

Menno Fenger

Martijn van der Steen

Lieske van der Torre

Policy Press

This chapter discusses the issue of responsiveness and legitimacy of European welfare states from a comparative perspective. It start from the assumption that the failure to respond to societal, socio-economic and ideological transformations might result in a legitimacy crisis of the welfare state. This chapter analyses if this crisis really exists, using data from nine European countries. It shows that legitimacy is a multi-faced concept. Although the literature suggests that three indicators (trust, congruence and satisfaction) might be used, an analysis of European data shows that there is no correlation between these three indicators. Therefore, we cannot speak of a general legitimacy crisis of European welfare states. What is seen however, is diverging public preferences and developments throughout Europe. This raises the question of how to respond to these diverging preferences and developments.

Keywords:   Social trends, Legitimacy of the welfare state, Responsiveness of social policies, Comparative social policies

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