Savings in Public Services after the Crisis: A Multilevel Analysis of Public Preferences in the EU27

International Review of Administrative Sciences, 80 (3): 597-618, 2014

33 Pages Posted: 5 Jul 2013 Last revised: 15 Jul 2015

See all articles by Steven Van de Walle

Steven Van de Walle

KU Leuven - Department of Political Science; Erasmus University Rotterdam - Department of Public Administration

Sebastian Jilke

Rutgers University-Newark

Date Written: 2013

Abstract

Policy responses to the global financial crisis can be divided into pro- and counter-cyclical approaches. The former advocates reducing public spending in times of financial constraints. The latter approach advocates public spending to boost the economy. Using public opinion (N=23,652) data from 27 EU member countries, we empirically test a model for citizen preferences for reducing spending in public services versus government investment in measures to boost the economy as a response to the financial crisis. We look at individual- and country-level determinants of attitudes to savings in public services, and concentrate on four groups of explanations: political disaffection, ideology, self-interest, and macro-economic conditions. It was found that political disaffection, and the respondent’s ideological orientation all have effects on preferences, as well as whether one experiences economic strain or receives welfare services. Macro-economic conditions, such as a country’s government deficit level, public debt or public expenditure have, surprisingly, no effect on citizens’ financial policy preferences. We discuss the implications of our results for public administration theory and practice.

Keywords: Austerity, citizen attitudes, Eurobarometer, financial crisis, public opinion, public services

Suggested Citation

Van de Walle, Steven and Jilke, Sebastian, Savings in Public Services after the Crisis: A Multilevel Analysis of Public Preferences in the EU27 (2013). International Review of Administrative Sciences, 80 (3): 597-618, 2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2289438

Steven Van de Walle

KU Leuven - Department of Political Science ( email )

Public Management Institute
Van Evenstraat 2A
B-3000 Leuven
Belgium
+32 16 323614 (Phone)
+32 16 323611 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.publicmanagementinstitute.be

Erasmus University Rotterdam - Department of Public Administration ( email )

3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands
0031 10 408 2518 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.stevenvandewalle.eu

Sebastian Jilke (Contact Author)

Rutgers University-Newark ( email )

111 Washington Street
Center for Urban and Public Service
Newark, NJ 07102
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.sebastianjilke.net

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