The aim of the FPRWS project is to analyse how fairness considerations, in particular with respect to personal responsibility, affect the support and effectiveness of welfare policies. The European welfare states are faced with important challenges, in particular related to financial strains on the welfare system, changing migration flows and increasing inequality. Partly as a response to these challenges, there is an increasing focus on personal responsibility.
The research project provides new knowledge about how the welfare states can meet these challenges and how concerns for personal responsibility can be integrated in the design of welfare schemes in a way that is perceived as fair. The project represents a unique research agenda addressing questions that are of fundamental importance for understanding the challenges faced by the European welfare states. This highly topical programme offers a fruitful basis for developing of a European perspective on the futures of the welfare state.
The research project consists of several parts. The first part of the research project studies how people attribute personal responsibility for outcomes and the link between views about personal responsibility and the support for redistributive welfare policies. The second part of the research project studies people’s preferences in situations where it is impossible to implement the welfare policies that are seen as most fair. In the last part the researchers study what they refer to as reference dependent social preferences and examine whether such preferences might shed light on cross-country differences in the support for welfare schemes.