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Welfare Mentality as a Challenge to European Sustainable Development. What Role for Youth Inclusion and Institutions?

Andreea-Oana Iacobuță () and Mihaela Ifrim ()
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Andreea-Oana Iacobuță: Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi, 22nd Carol I, 700505 Iasi, Romania

Sustainability, 2020, vol. 12, issue 9, 1-25

Abstract: This paper takes a free-market approach to the idea of welfare. That is, the analysis does not reject the role of the welfare state to fight against poverty and inequality but underlines the perils of the welfare mentality’s proliferation. Sustainable development requires more individual responsibility and less dependence on the state and its redistribution function. The aim of this paper is twofold. Firstly, it aims at showing that welfare mentality imposes challenges on sustainable development. The second aim is to identify the factors associated with welfare mentality. We use data from several international databases and apply correlation, principal components, and multiple regression analyses on a sample of 28 European countries. The results of our study show that welfare mentality negatively influences sustainable development by being positively correlated with the risk of poverty and the percentage of young people not in employment, education, or training (NEET). At the same time, countries such as Sweden, Denmark, and Luxembourg, widely acknowledged as welfare policy heavens, register low values in terms of preference for redistribution. The main determinants of welfare mentality are found to be a high level of NEET and a low level of economic freedom. This result points to the role of youth inclusion and free-market institutions in diminishing people’s welfare expectations and encouraging them to take better control of their own lives to reach prosperity and not depending on state support.

Keywords: sustainable development; welfare mentality; poverty; NEET; education; institutions; European countries; Principal Component Analysis; econometric model (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O13 Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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