Attitudes Towards Redistributive Spending in an Era of Demographic Aging: The Rival Pressures from Age and Income in 14 OECD Countries
Journal of European Social Policy, 2009
30 Pages Posted: 17 Jan 2008 Last revised: 29 Jan 2009
This article is about the relative impact of age and income on individual attitudes towards welfare state policies in advanced industrial democracies, i.e. the extent to which the intergenerational conflict supersedes or complements intragenerational conflicts. On the basis of a multivariate statistical analysis of the 1996 ISSP Role of Government Data Set for 14 OECD countries, we find considerable age-related differences in welfare state preferences. In particular for the case of education spending, but also for other policy areas, we see that one's position in the life-cycle is a more important predictor of preferences than income. Second, some countries, such as the United States, show a higher salience of the age cleavage across all policy fields, that is, age is a more important line of political preference formation in these countries than in others. Third, country characteristics matter. Although the relative salience of age varies across policy areas, we see - within one policy area - a large variance across countries.
Keywords: cleavage, age, income, OECD, ISSP, preferences, welfare state, social policy
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