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Briitta van Staalduinen receives Best Dissertation Award from the American Political Science Association

Assistant Professor Briitta van Staalduinen has received the Best Dissertation Award from the American Political Science Association, Section on Class and Inequality. Her dissertation, Ethnic Inequality in the Welfare State, aims to reconcile the persistence of ethnic inequalities in expansive welfare state regimes.

She argues that, in response to patterns of job polarization that have followed the transition to a knowledge economy, social investment policies have been reoriented to promote immigrant and minority employment rather than expand equality of opportunity. Van Staalduinen draws on a wide range of data sources and methods to show how policy interventions in Finland, Germany, and the UK invest in sector-specific and linguistic skills at the cost of expanding minority access to the socio-cultural resources that are critical for upward mobility in the knowledge economy, including valuable social networks and strong interactive skills.

Voter concerns

Finally, she argues that this approach to policy design is not only a response to job polarization and service labor shortages, but also the product of a political context. Policymakers are incentivized to prioritize majority voters’ concerns about avoiding downward mobility and addressing immigrant unemployment over the access immigrant minorities might have to better opportunities and job prospects.

Van Staalduinen is an assistant professor at the Department of Economics and at Institute of Public Administration. She is part of Leiden University’s interdisciplinary research programme Social Citizenship & Migration. Before joining Leiden University, Van Staalduinen received her PhD in Government from Harvard University.

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