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Stratification beliefs and support for the welfare state: A cross-national analysis of determinants of public attitudes towards government policies

Опубликовано на портале: 19-05-2004
Evelina Ivanova Panayotova
Научный руководитель: James D. Wright
Организация: Tulane University
Подтип: PhD
Тематические разделы: Социология, Экономическая социология, Экономическая социология: Социально-экономическая дифференциация. Бедность, Социальная стратификация

Contemporary welfare research recognizes the increasing importance of norms and values in shaping popular assessment of social policy and the need to more fully incorporate cultural beliefs into the empirical study of public opinion. This research is a comparative study of factors influencing public attitudes towards government policies in fourteen countries: Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, former Czechoslovakia, former East Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Russia, the United States, and former West Germany. I use data from the 1992 International Social Survey Program (ISSP): Social Inequality (International Social Survey Program, 1992) to examine the effect of individual-level characteristics and beliefs about stratification on public attitudes toward welfare policies in each country. I test a model specifying that support for government policies is a product of the interplay between objective and subjective status and beliefs about economic justice. I compare how the proposed relationships vary across national context. I find that the effect of both socioeconomic and demographic characteristics and stratification beliefs varies across Western nations in accordance with national differences in the institutional organization of their welfare programs and the predominance of individualistic versus collectivist values in national cultures. I examine also how the model developed for the case of stable industrialized Western democracies applies in the post-communist societies of Eastern Europe. In these countries I do not find more pronounced socioeconomic and demographic cleavages in attitudes yet the effects of stratification beliefs in shaping public support for government policies are notably weaker than in the West. The empirical results confirm the need for an embedded approach in comparative welfare research.

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