35 years of public opinion surveys and European social citizenship: What can we conclude?
What type of European social citizenship does the public across the European Union (EU) prefer on the national- and EU-levels? This paper empirically investigates the development of public opinion towards European social citizenship from 1985 to the present from a birds-eye perspective. The paper summarizes the large literature on welfare attitudes, adds new empirical evidence and points towards potential future research areas. To do that, we will review, consolidate and valorise existing large-scale quantitative research on the perceptions, attitudes and preferences of EU citizens concerning social rights. It does so by drawing on and expanding a newly-compiled database, the Comparative Social Citizenship Dataset (CSCD), that brings together existing country-year macro data on policies, regulations, laws, social, economic and political conditions relevant to social rights, as well as public opinion data on these matters. Based on analyses of these CSCD measures, the paper focuses on painting a broad picture of a European social citizenship model from the perspective of public opinion, i.e. individual citizens’ perceptions and preferences.