Who Deserves Solidarity? Unequal Treatment of Immigrants in Swiss Welfare Policy Delivery
Policy Studies Journal
Reason for embargo
Rising immigration rates in Western Europe concur with increasing anti-immigrant attitudes. While assessments of welfare eligibility in the United States demonstrably hinge on how public servants perceive different racial groups as deserving, we know less about ethnically motivated discrimination in the European context. This paper argues that Switzerland is a critical case for studying such developments. It combines social construction theory and the deservingness heuristic to analyze how social constructions of Swiss natives and immigrants influence 90 disability benefits insurance procedures. Findings reveal that immigrants are perceived as less deserving and less powerful than Swiss applicants. Thus, Swiss welfare workers do not allocate welfare benefits independently of an applicant's nationality. Our results raise fundamental questions about the equal treatment of welfare applicants in times of rising immigration and anti-immigrant attitudes. The feed-forward effects of social constructions imply longer-term consequences for good administrative practices and society that require scholarly attention.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Wiley via the DOI in this record.
First published: 8 September 2017