Exploring the Multidimensionality of Preferences for International Redistribution: The Case of the Eurozone Bailouts
Michael M. Bechtel
University of St.Gallen
Stanford University - Department of Political Science; Stanford Graduate School of Business
Yotam M. Margalit
Under what conditions can governments obtain political support for funding international bailouts? Financial bailouts for ailing Eurozone countries face deep and widespread opposition among voters in donor countries, casting serious doubts over the political feasibility of any further assistance efforts. Drawing on theories of preference formation, we argue that conventional accounts provide a misguided view of the public's stance in the bailout debate. Instead, we contend that attitudes toward international redistribution are multidimensional in that they greatly depend on the specific features that the rescue package takes on a number of key dimensions. We test this argument by combining unique data from an original, large-scale survey in Germany, the largest donor country, together with a conjoint experiment that varies salient policy dimensions of the proposed bailout. We find that changes in the composition of the rescue package, in particular burden-sharing and conditionality features, can lead to decisive shifts in public support. The results also provide broader insight on the considerations underlying citizens' attitudes toward national contributions to international public goods.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 43
Keywords: bailouts, Eurozone, public opinion, conjoint analysis
JEL Classification: F5, P16, F34, D72
Date posted: October 19, 2012 ; Last revised: October 8, 2014
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