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Vacancy - PhD-student Comparative Welfare Attitudes Research, University of Leuven, Belgium


June 30, 2016


Opportunity Cover Image - Vacancy - PhD-student Comparative Welfare Attitudes Research, University of Leuven, Belgium

PhD-student Comparative Welfare Attitudes Research: Attitudes towards activation, welfare selectivism and the basic income

The PhD candidate will be employed at the Centre for Sociological Research, Institute for Social and Political Opinion Research (ISPO). The PhD-project is supervised by prof. Bart Meuleman, prof. Wim van Oorschot and prof. Marc Swyngedouw.


The holder of the position is expected to prepare a PhD on the following topic:  New questions of (re-)distributive justice: Citizens’ attitudes towards activation, selectivism and the basic income.

In the context of re-structuring of welfare states, the question of who should get what, and why is on the political agenda again. Focusing on the three main principles of (re-)distributive justice (need, merit, equality) this project investigates attitudes of citizens across European countries toward three currently implemented or discussed policy orientations in European welfare states: welfare selectivism (need); activation policy (merit); and basic income (equality). Attitudes towards the following policy scenarios are analyzed: (1) Increased welfare selectivism (as opposed to universalism), i.e. residualising welfare, providing for the poorest in society only. (2) Welfare-to-work and activation policies, i.e. a shift away from a focus on providing unemployed people with benefit income to a focus on instruments and policies aimed at their work (re-)insertion; and (3) the implementation of a basic income scheme, i.e. an income that is provided to all citizens, regardless of their employment status or financial resources.


Combining insights from sociology, social policy, political science and social psychology,  quantitative analyses of survey data will test the impact of various individual-level (social positions, inequality perceptions, normative justice beliefs, identification and intergroup contacts) and contextual (institutional design, electoral campaigns, economic conditions) predictors on welfare attitudes using data from the Belgian National Election Study (BNES) and European Social Survey (ESS). By means of Structural Equation Modeling and Multilevel Analysis, the impact of individual as well as contextual variables will be investigated simultaneously.


  • a master degree in sociology, political science, social policy or equivalent degree. We welcome applications from students in their (final) Master year
  • a high grade point average for the bachelor and master programs
  • excellent skills in statistical analysis of survey data
  • comparative knowledge of social policy/welfare state systems and their development
  • good command over various statistical packages (SPSS, SAS, MLwin, etc.)
  • excellent skills in English (command over the Dutch language is an additional asset)
  • a talent for combining personal initiative and team spirit


  • a fulltime position, initially for 1 year, with an extension to 4 years after good evaluation
  • a monthly stipend of about 1800,- euro net, depending on family situation and work experience
  • possibilities for further professional development (e.g. through additional courses, participation in workshops and seminars)
  • a stimulating and demanding research environment


For more information please contact Prof. dr. Bart Meuleman, tel.: +32 16 32 31 31, mail:
Job talks with a selection of candidates are scheduled to take place on July 11th.
You can apply for this job no later than June 30, 2016 via the online application tool

Eligible Countries
Host Country
Study Levels
Publish Date
June 07, 2016


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