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The Scope of Government$
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Ole Borre and Elinor Scarbrough

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780198294740

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198294743.001.0001

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The Welfare State: The Equality Dimension

The Welfare State: The Equality Dimension

(p.165) 7 The Welfare State: The Equality Dimension
The Scope of Government

Edeltraud Roller (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

There are two motives underlying support for the welfare state—socio‐economic egalitarianism (the redistributive function) and socio‐economic security provision (the safety net function). This chapter assesses the various hypotheses concerning the former, the indicators on which they rely, and the statistical evidence for the varying degrees of support for redistributive policies across Western Europe. The evidence suggests that the concern over socio‐economic inequality diminishes proportionately as national prosperity and standards of living increase. However, while it clearly exists, it is much less salient than concern over security provision, which is discussed in the next chapter.

Keywords:   redistribution, welfare state, Western Europe

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