On Tour: Presenting at WZB

Together with my colleague Tom van der Meer and on invitation by Dietlind Stolle, I’ll be presenting the results of a vignette experiment on welfare deservingness on Wednesday 25 February at the MAD (Migration and Diversity) seminar series at the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin fur Sozialforschung – or, in English, the Berlin Social Science Research Center. The abstract of the study reads as follows (the full paper is available upon request):

With the Great Recession in full swing, concerns about declining public support for equal welfare provision to immigrants grow. Albeit deservingness studies showed that immigrants are deemed least entitled to welfare, they failed to relate ethnicity to rivaling deservingness heuristics. This paper studies the importance of recipients’ identity relative to other deservingness criteria via a vignette experiment among 25,000 Dutch respondents about their preferred levels of unemployment benefits. We show that foreign origin is among the three most important conditions for reduced solidarity. Further, favorable criteria do not close the gap between immigrants and natives in perceived deservingness. Lastly, voters across the political spectrum consider immigrants less deserving than natives, with outspoken chauvinist stances among voters of monocultural parties.

See you there!

RC28 Spring Meeting, Tilburg

From May 28-30, the Research Committee on Social Stratification and Mobility (RC28) of the International Sociological Association (ISA) will organize its annual Spring Meeting at the Department of Sociology at Tilburg University. The theme of the conference is Social Inequality, Cohesion and Solidarity, bringing together scholars from across the globe to discuss top-notch research on topics dealing with contemporary sociological debates on social stratification and mobility, studying these themes at the macro- and micro-level. Some of the panels concern educational inequalities, school-to-work transitions, welfare states, housing, migration and ethnicity, health inequalities, and social inequalities in political behavior. The call for papers has already been closed, and more than 250 scholars have recently been invited to take part in this conference. As a member of the local organizing committee, I warmly welcome all participants at the conference!

The National Sociologist

On this very present day, Peter Achterberg and I have declared ourselves as National Sociologist. The reason is simple. After having been confronted with a National Poet, a National Thinker, a National Composer, or even a National Snowstorm and – why not – a National Beef CroquettePeter Achterberg en Tim Reeskens, Peter and I found it an appropriate moment to declare ourselves as National Sociologist to fill in an existing gap. Immediately, this might raise the question why actually we precisely need now a National Sociologist, or National Figures or Events whatsoever. The answer is quite simple. In this individualized and globalized society the Netherlands is, people are confronted with plenty of choices and opportunities. People can study what they want, pursue the career that they want. They can even marry who they want and, if really needed, divorce whenever they want. People can do and be what and who they want. The National Sociologist will not only act as a binding factor, delivering in social cohesion; moreover, the National Sociologist might nuance one another, arguing that all these opportunities and choices are confounded by constraints, e.g. socialization and upbringing. For these two reasons, we thought a National Sociologist is an absolute necessity. And for this reason, we promise to blog once or twice a week, and additionally update our Facebook page. In Dutch, because that is the mother tongue of the National Sociologist. And then you might think “Well why is the National Sociologist a duo?” Evidently, being a sociologist, we like groups; the smallest group is composed of two. Moreover, the National Sociologist has other activities, too, like teaching, doing research, or singing karaoke. And for this reason, we like some Division of Labor! See you on our web page or Facebook page!

New paper accepted

My paper with Wim van Oorschot on immigrants’ welfare preferences is accepted by the European Sociological Review. The abstract of the paper goes as follows:

An oft-heard concern about the sustainability of the welfare state is that generous social welfare provisions serve as an important pull-factor in immigrants’ consideration of their preferred country of destination. With their accumulated social risks, immigrants are averagely more likely to claim welfare benefits, suggesting that generous provisions reinforce migration flows, and that migrants benefit more from welfare than they contribute to it. Yet, little is known about what immigrants actually think about government support to ensure in a reasonable standard of living. To study immigrants’ ideas about the welfare state, we analyze the 2008 ‘Welfare Attitudes’ module of the European Social Survey. Our analysis shows that, although immigrants have somewhat stronger pro-welfare opinions than non-immigrants, these are largely explained by their more disadvantaged position in society and their more depressed opinions of the social malaise taking place in their receptive society. Furthermore, much to our surprise, we find that immigrants’ views on welfare very closely follow those of the non-migrant population of the country they are living in, suggesting strong social integration at the opinion level.

More information will follow soon!