Generous welfare benefits increase the work ethic. The government is wrong about ‘perverse incentives’

Politics and Insights

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Folk devils and moral panic. The UK establishment created a dominant scapegoating narrative of people needing social security support

Comparative research, conducted at an international level, has undermined the government claim that the UK welfare state encourages “widespread cultures of dependency” and presents unemployed people with “perverse incentives”. 

The study, which links welfare generosity and active labour market policies with increased employment commitment, was published in 2015. It has demonstrated that people are more likely to look for work if they live in a country where welfare provision is generous and relatively unconditional. Empirically, the research includes more recent data and data from a larger number of European countries than previous studies.

The research also compared employment motivation in specific sub-sections: ethnic minorities, people in poor health, the low skilled, the non-employed and women, across countries, and adds to previous studies, which concluded that comprehensive welfare provision is increasingly seen as a…

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