Public attitudes to benefits systems and their users: deservingness, stigmatisation and policy design

Thu 31 Mar - Fri 1 Apr 2022

Online event
Deserted flats on Heygate Estate, South London
£6 - £10

British Academy/Wellcome Trust Conferences bring together scholars and specialists from around the world to explore themes related to health and wellbeing.

Welfare recipients are often framed by the media and politicians as undeserving. This interdisciplinary online conference will ask how welfare recipients are stigmatised and why they are often perceived as undeserving by the public. We will bring together political scientists, sociologists, and policy scholars from around the world to explore the reasons behind the stigmatisation of welfare users and how public perceptions of deservingness differ across countries and over time.

Speakers will address a range of policy-relevant issues, from the stigmatisation of foodbank users and disability benefit claimants to the implications for the welfare state of high immigration and income stagnation. Poverty is in the spotlight in the UK due to economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, rises in the cost of living, and the legacy of a decade of controversial welfare reforms. This conference is essential for understanding the factors provoking opposition to the welfare state and how policies could be designed in future to avoid the stigmatisation of their users.

Conference convenors:

Dr Tom O’Grady, University College London

Dr Daniel McArthur, University of Oxford


Day 1, Thursday 31 March, 13:00 - 16:00

Professor Charlotte Cavaille, University of Michigan

Tijs Laenen, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

Dr Tom O’Grady, University College London

Dr Femke Roosma, Tilburg University

Day 2, Friday 1 April, 10:00 - 16:30

Dr Kayleigh Garthwaite, University of Birmingham

Ben Baumberg Geiger, University of Kent

Dr Gerda Hooijer, University College London

Dr Daniel McArthur, University of Oxford

Dr Hanna Schwander, Humboldt University Berlin

Professor Tim Vlandas, University of Oxford

Dr Robert de Vries, University of Kent

Book tickets using the links below. Please note you must register for each day separately.

Online standard ticket: £10 per day

Online concession ticket: £6 per day

The concession rate applies to: unwaged / retired / early-career academics (within three years of completing PhD) / students / disabilities.

Funded by Wellcome Trust

If you have any questions about this event please refer to our public events FAQs. If your question is not answered, please email [email protected]

Image: Getty Images


Book Day 1

Day one will take place on Thursday 31 March 2022.

Day two will take place on Friday 1 April 2022.

Sign up to our email newsletters