A multilevel analysis of individuals’ attitudes toward welfare state responsibilities

A multilevel analysis of individuals’ attitudes toward welfare state responsibilities

The examination of individuals’ attitudes towards welfare state responsibilities and redistribution has been the main theme of a large body of research. Making use of data from the European Social Survey (ESS), this paper investigates the determinants of individuals’ attitudes towards welfare state policies in 29 European countries, focusing particularly on Turkey.

The paper uses socio-demographic characteristics, income, employment and health statuses, and an indicator of egalitarian values to explain two welfare state attitude dimensions inquired about in the ESS. The estimation reveals that individual-level characteristics influence attitudes in predictable ways, but the impact of the quality of government and how it interacts with egalitarianism depends on the specific attitude being examined.

In particular, the authors find that the impact of egalitarian values on the attitudes towards more taxation and social spending by the government is larger in higher quality-of-government countries. However, the opposite is the case with regard to the provision of more specific redistributive policies that benefit certain groups.

Concerning Turkey, the document indicates that the patterns of association between personal characteristics and welfare state attitudes observed on the sub-sample of Turkish respondents are different than those obtained on the combined data set. The authors attribute these differences to cultural factors, the relatively low government quality, and common misconceptions about the welfare state especially among the less educated segments of the Turkish society.

 

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