Reform Pressures and Perceived Welfare State Sustainability: A Comparative Survey Experiment
32 Pages Posted: 11 Sep 2015
Date Written: September 11, 2015
Influential theories of the welfare state long predicted much policy stability also in the face of mounting reform pressures and associated cost problems. Recent developments, however, suggest significant reforms and even retrenchment have occurred Scholars are now increasing efforts to understand the “reform strategies” that make policy change politically feasible and acceptable to the public. We contribute by analyzing effects of reform pressure framing Do citizens perceptions of welfare state sustainability change when they are exposed to information about various cost-inducing pressures on the welfare state? Using an experimental design, we examine whether views on the financial viability of the welfare state are susceptible to an argumentative emphasis on reform pressures, including population ageing, low employment rates, immigration, and international economic crisis (separately as well as interactively). The analysis is sensitive to whether effects are contingent on prior attitudes and interests. Additionally, the three-country comparative design makes it possible to investigate if it more difficult to influence perceptions of welfare state sustainability in oil rich Norway than in the more pressured contexts of Germany and Sweden.
Keywords: welfare state; Norway; Germany; Sweden; survey; experiment; attitudes
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