Inequality, the Welfare State, and Demographic Change
This dissertation is a three-part analysis examining how the welfare state in advanced Western democracies has responded to recent demographic changes. Specifically, this dissertation investigates two primary relationships, beginning with the influence of government spending on poverty. I analyze two at-risk populations in particular: immigrants and children of single mothers. Next, attention is turned to the influence of individual and environmental traits on preferences for social spending. I focus specifically on religiosity, religious beliefs and religious identity. I pool data from a number of international macro- and micro-data sources including the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS), International Social Survey Program (ISSP), the World Bank Databank, and the OECD Databank. Analyses highlight the power of the welfare state to reduce poverty, but also the effectiveness of specific areas of spending focused on addressing new social risks. While previous research has touted the strength of the welfare state, my analyses highlight the need to consider new social risks and encourage closer attention to how social position affects preferences for the welfare state.
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