The growth of welfare state programs inevitably leads to an increase of citizen encounters with bureaucratic agencies. Moreover, theories of the welfare state differ in the extent to which citizenship rights are a central aspect of the explanation of the shape of the welfare state. After reviewing major theories of the expansion of the welfare state, we examine determinants of client encounters. The determinants are framed in a social exchange model that draws upon individual resources and agency and program characteristics. The model predicts differences in power-dependence relations and clientele satisfaction with their encounters. The legitimation and protection of citizenship rights may vary from program to program, may vary over time, and may be differently institutionalized in societies at similar levels of economic development. How rights are linked to citizen obligations is also an historical and sociological issue. The chapter concludes with a discussion of methodological issues in evaluating encounters.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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