Welfare States Matter for Democracy: Income-based Participatory Inequality in Post-WWII Western Democracies

Carsten Q. Schneider (Central European University)

24th april 2018, 13:00h, Sala de Juntes de la Facultat de Ciència Política i Sociologia de la UAB

We propose that these welfare state regimes correspond to different mechanisms through which welfare state characteristics shape participatory patterns: (1) resources available to individuals for participation and (2) unions’ and parties’ ability to politically mobilize and inform their members. We complement our aggregate-level QCA analysis with an individual-level one, in which we test whether these clusters indeed differ from each other in the expected way. Relying on 6 cross-national surveys, we find consistent support for our mobilization-based arguments, while revealing mixed evidence that they also spill over into attitudinal factors which underpin participation. However, we find only weak evidence for our resource-based pathway. Our results make the initial steps toward illustrating how welfare state characteristics impact participation gaps in advanced industrial democracies, with potentially damaging effects for democratic representation in the long term.