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
Date Written: 2013
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: Suggested Citation