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Welfare States and Social Cohesion in Europe: Does Social Service Quality Matter?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 October 2015

Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University, CF10 3EU, UK email:
Rutgers University - Newark, 111, Washington St, Newark, NJ 07102, United States email:


In this article, the authors evaluate whether the provision of good quality social services has the potential to create social cohesion. In addition to examining the relationship between social services and social cohesion, the authors expand institutional theories of social capital by investigating whether this potential for building social solidarity may be resilient to the corrosive effects of economic strain. Multilevel analyses of variations in the perceptions of social cohesion amongst Europeans were conducted for 27 member countries of the EU using the Eurobarometer 74.1 on poverty and social exclusion from 2010. The results suggest that individuals receiving better quality social service provision perceived higher levels of social cohesion within the country in which they live. By contrast, individuals living in households experiencing economic strain perceived lower levels of cohesion. Further analysis revealed that the experience of economic strain does not weaken the positive relationship between social services quality and perceptions of cohesion.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2015 

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