Based on a representative sample of the Dutch population (N = 2467), we test four hypotheses about how utilitarian individualism influences the responsibilization of work-related risks (i.e. the risk of dropping out of work because of unemployment, disability, or sickness). The risk society hypothesis understands utilitarian individualism as a laissez-faire ideological orientation and assumes it to lead to individual responsibilization. The blame culture hypothesis conceives utilitarian individualists as consumer citizens and predicts the reverse - that those concerned expect to be protected by the government. The resentment hypothesis assumes that particularly utilitarian individualists with a vulnerable labor-market position individualize responsibility, because they distrust those who share their fate more than others do. The narcissism hypothesis reverses this logic, because it assumes that utilitarian individualists narcissistic self-centeredness entices them to make others responsible for their own risks. The two hypotheses predicting an individualization of work-related risk due to utilitarian individualism are both confirmed, whereas the two hypotheses predicting it to result in their collectivization are both rejected.

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Journal Journal of Risk Research
Mascini, P, Achterberg, P.H.J, & Houtman, D. (2013). Neoliberalism and work-related risks: Individual or collective responsibilization?. Journal of Risk Research, 16(10), 1209–1224. doi:10.1080/13669877.2012.761274