Access to General Social Protection for Immigrants in Advanced Democracies
26 Pages Posted: 20 Dec 2016
Date Written: December 20, 2016
Immigration has become a central socio-political issue in most advanced democracies. While research mainly focuses on immigrant-specific policies in the area of immigration, integration and citizenship, we still know very little on the incorporation of immigrants in mainstream social policies. By analyzing cross-national differences in the inclusion of immigrants to general social protection across 27 rich democracies based on comparative indicators from the MIPEX dataset we are seeking to address this gap in a quantitative study. A cross-national comparison of these indicators shows a particularly large variation in the inclusiveness of the access to social protection for immigrants across countries. By drawing on the welfare state and integration regime literature, we assess the power of welfare state regimes, left-wing governments, immigration flow and integration policies in explaining this large cross-national variation in immigrants´ access to social security and social housing. Our results show that generous welfare states tend to provide immigrants with a more inclusive access to their general social protection schemes than less generous welfare states. This contrasts the view that immigrants are excluded in generous welfare states. Furthermore, general social protection is especially inclusive for immigrants in countries facing high levels of immigration flows. Strikingly, we find strong evidence that left-wing cabinets are particularly reluctant to open general social protection schemes to immigrants.
Keywords: social protection, advanced democracies, immigration, integration
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