I have a set of interlocking interests around how people think about the benefits system, both because it's theoretically interesting, and because it matters personally (for claimants) and politically (given the role of public opinion in public policy, at least for this area in the UK).

The stigma of claiming benefits

Cover of Stigma report

Is there a stigma to claiming benefits? If so, why, and does it matter? In a nutshell, these are the questions that I looked at in 2012 a collaborative project with Kate Bell and Declan Gaffney, funded by the charity Elizabeth Finn Care, who run the advice line/website Turn2us.

The project isn't that big, but despite this we've squeezed in a new survey, an unusually deep media analysis, analysis of existing data, and a few focus groups. An academic paper about the survey was published in the Journal of Social Policy (Baumberg 2016). You can view the wider results in the report itself, a quick note on a Guardian figure linked to the report, and the appendices to the report.

Aside from our one-page summary in the report itself, you can also read short blogs on several different bits of the report - we've written on perceived fraud in the benefits system (on Inequalities), the role of the media (on the New Statesman blog, and a longer version here), and how benefits stigma is misunderstood (on LSE Politics & Policy). Other people have written about the report in the Guardian (including on their Datablog), and the TUC's Touchstone blog (also reposted on Liberal Conspiracy).

One part of this that some people seemed to have found useful is our 'mythbusting' briefing (mainly a fantastic job by Declan), building on our earlier version for Red Pepper (version with footnotes). Note that I'm currently reflecting on the idea of 'myths', so my views are developing in this area - watch this space...

Public attitudes to benefits and benefits claimants

More generally, there are several different areas of attitudes to benefits that I've written about in one form or another. All of these are available via the publications tab, which includes:

Beyond benefits - public attitudes in related areas

I also have interests in public attitudes in related areas, such as social mobility, inequality, immigration (and also this), and tax.