Discerning Self-Interested Behavior in Attitudes Towards Welfare State Responsibilities Across Europe
International Journal of Social Welfare, Forthcoming
15 Pages Posted: 18 Jul 2010
Date Written: July 16, 2010
This article reports on an investigation into the influence of individual characteristics on attitudes to government responsibility for welfare-related tasks that used data from the European Social Survey (ESS). The main finding of this investigation was that socio-demographic characteristics, basic personal values, left-right ideological positions, and religious affiliation were all associated with attitudes towards welfare policies. An item-by-item examination of the six issues inquired about in the survey revealed that people tended to hold the government responsible for tasks that would benefit them more directly. Taken as a whole, the empirical findings were interpreted to mean that individuals’ tastes for welfare state policies were driven, at least partially, by self-interest, but it was also noted that further work was needed to disentangle the potential role of group loyalty effects.
Keywords: self-interest, welfare state responsibilities, basic personal values, European Social Survey.
JEL Classification: H5
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation