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Street-level bureaucrats’ attitudes towards the Finnish labour market allowance

Johanna Kallio (Department of Social Research, Sociology, University of Turku, Turku, Finland)
Arttu Saarinen (Economic Sociology, University of Turku, Turku, Finland)

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy

ISSN: 0144-333X

Article publication date: 7 October 2014

336

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the attitudes of street-level bureaucrats from different agencies and sectors of the Finnish welfare state, namely municipal social workers, diaconal workers of the Lutheran church, benefit officials of the Social Security Institution and officials of private unemployment funds.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors are interested in the following questions: What are the attitudes of street-level bureaucrats towards the labour market allowance? What is the impact of individual characteristics? The study utilised the unique national survey data of different groups of street-level bureaucrats from the year 2011 (total N=2,313). The dependent variables focus on legitimacy of the basic level of labour market allowance and sanction policies. Analyses are built around five independent variables which measure professional, personal interest and ideological factors.

Findings

There are differences both between and within groups of Finnish street-level bureaucrats with regard to their attitudes concerning the labour market allowance. Social and diaconal workers believe more often than officials that the level of labour market allowance is too low, and offer less support for the idea that an unemployed person should take any job that is offered or have their unemployment security reduced. The results show that the attitudes of bureaucrats are explained by length of work history, economic situation and ideological factors.

Originality/value

There have been very few analyses comparing attitudes among different groups of bureaucrats. The present study is intended to fill this gap in the literature.

Keywords

Citation

Kallio, J. and Saarinen, A. (2014), "Street-level bureaucrats’ attitudes towards the Finnish labour market allowance", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 34 No. 11/12, pp. 817-834. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSSP-02-2014-0014

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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