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'Loyalty Benefits' and the Welfare State

Michael Shalev
Publication date: 
Tue, 2 Mar 2010

‘Loyalty benefits’ are transfer payments designed to motivate or reward citizens for serving the state, either tangibly or symbolically. Classic examples are benefits to soldiers and civil servants, and today, special benefits granted to political refugees.
But like the trademark social insurance schemes invented by conservative welfare states, loyalty benefits may also be used as a way of reinforcing status barriers between groups, including ethnic hierarchies embodied in the collective identity projects of states.