Conference Programme 2015

Conference floor plans and map
Tuesday 14th July      Wednesday 15th July      Thursday 16th July      Friday 17th July     


Friday 17th July, 13:00 - 14:30 Room: N-132

Comparative Welfare Research: Actors, Arenas, Attitudes 2

Convenor Dr Joakim Kulin (Department of Sociology, Stockholm University )
Coordinator 1Dr Jan Mewes (School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences, Örebro University)

Session Details

This session invites papers from different areas of comparative welfare research, with a particular interest in studies making use of cross-national survey data. Our interest goes beyond the by now established field of comparative welfare state research as it invites papers that focus on a multitude of actors and arenas related to public welfare and the production of collective goods. In this respect, we invite papers that address the configuration of, and public attitudes towards, state and market based welfare institutions. A broad range of paper submissions is encouraged, including a variety of methods and theoretical perspectives. In particular, we seek substantive applications in the broader field of welfare research that use rigorous and state-of-the-art methods. For instance, cross-national welfare research has for a long time been dominated by operationalizations that can be seriously questioned in terms of validity and equivalence (e.g., additive indices). Therefore, we welcome paper submissions that take seriously the issues of measurement quality and the cross-national comparability of measurements. Additionally, we also encourage submissions that exploit the full potential of survey data, such as for example vignette studies and survey experiments.

Paper Details

1. Policy-Culture Gaps and the Role of Gender Norms
Professor Daniela Grunow (Goethe University Frankfurt)
Dr Katia Begall (Goethe University Frankfurt)
Dr Sandra Buchler (Goethe University Frankfurt)

Using the European Value Survey (n = 12,429) and drawing on welfare state theory and the decommodification framework we use latent class analysis to detect different gender norm profiles in a sample of eight European countries. Our study examines which role gender norms play in relation to policy frameworks (i.e. family policies). We assess how clear-cut gender norms actually are within countries and investigate the fit between these norms and existing family policy frameworks. Our results will allow more clear-cut expectations and hypotheses about policy-culture gaps and their implications for the gendered division of work and


2. Subjective Poverty using Anchoring Vignettes-Testing the effect of latent heterogeneity
Mr Tewodros Aragie Kebede (Researcher)

Latent heterogeneity in scales is a major concern for measurement. Recent developments suggest that biases in estimates of subjective welfare regressions in the presence of scale heterogeneity are minimal and, hence ignorable. Contextual factors are important in understanding and interpretation of subjective questions. Using anchoring vignettes, we found that heterogeneity in scales is present in subjective poverty self-assessments. Our result supports the claim that efforts in modelling objective determinants of subjective welfare may not suffer from frame of reference bias if one is unable to address the bias in a systematic manner.


3. Protection, Activation and Regulation: Attitudes towards Labor Market Policies in the European Economic Crisis
Mr Christopher Buss (Mannheim University)

This article investigates attitudes towards a variety of labor market policies. Past research focused exclusively on attitudes towards unemployment benefits and job creation. This study incorporates attitudes towards the ‘new’ active labor market policies and deregulation. Using confirmatory factor analysis on recent data from six European countries, I show that attitudes are multidimensional and loosely correlated. Individuals who support generous benefits are not necessarily in favor of a deregulated labor market or extensive activation. In contrast to the employed population, labor market outsiders favor generous benefits and training measures and oppose deregulation and sanctions.


4. Can Subjective Questions on Economic Welfare be Trusted?
Dr Kathleen Beegle (World Bank)
Ms Kristen Himelein (World Bank)
Professor Martin Ravallion (Georgetown University)

While self-assessments of welfare have become popular for measuring poverty and estimating welfare effects, the methods can be deceptive given systematic heterogeneity in respondents’ scales. Little is known about this problem. We study scale heterogeneity using specially-designed surveys in three countries, Tajikistan, Guatemala, and Tanzania. Respondents were asked to score stylized vignettes, as well as their own household. Diverse scales are in evidence, casting considerable doubt on the meaning of widely-used summary measures such as subjective poverty rates. Nonetheless, under our identifying assumptions, only small biases are induced in the coefficients on widely-used regressors for subjective.