This chapter starts out from the common assumption that the institutional design of different welfare policies plays a crucial role in shaping popular deservingness perceptions towards their recipients. First, the chapter explores how Europeans evaluate the unemployed in terms of their material needs and willingness to work, and how (or if) these evaluations changed between 2008 and 2016. The chapter subsequently examines how the degree of selectivity, generosity and conditionality of unemployment policies feed back into such deservingness perceptions. The final step comprises an analysis of the impact of popular deservingness perceptions on public support for government-provided unemployment protection, net of a broader range of people’s social-structural characteristics and ideological beliefs. The basic idea behind the chapter is that changes in policy design characteristics can have (positive or negative) consequences for the ways in which Europeans perceive the unemployed, and consequently support the provision of unemployment benefits.
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