The exclusion of migrants and refugees from welfare programs in European host countries: a comparative perspective
Migrants’ exclusion from social benefits and programs in the established welfare states of European host countries represents a major challenge to the achievement of migrants’ social rights at both the national and the EU level (Sainsbury, 2012). While the international refugee law and the EU social security coordination framework aim at extending social protection to refugees and EU labor migrants, many of them are still subject to formal and substantial social exclusion. The present research deals with this topic from the angle of political research, and specifically the literature on the so-called “welfare chauvinism” (Andersen and Bjørklund 1990, p. 212). Drawing on previous studies in the field, this research explores the “justificatory arguments” (Keskinen, 2016) behind welfare chauvinist policies and develops a theoretical argument to generate expectations about how politicians use different types of justifications in policy debates. The fundamental theory of my work is that the justificatory arguments used are shaped by the different types of social programs, i.e., either universal or means-tested programs. This theoretical claim is tested by means of a qualitative content analysis of parliamentary debates and speeches in 4 European countries. Overall, the findings bring evidence that politicians apply different justificatory arguments across different types of social programs. However, the links between the arguments used (observed outcomes) and the type of program (expected explanatory factors) do not always correspond to those hypothesized.
Irene Landini - School of International Studies, UNITN