Table of Contents

How Welfare States Shape the Democratic Public

How Welfare States Shape the Democratic Public

Policy Feedback, Participation, Voting, and Attitudes

Globalization and Welfare series

Edited by Staffan Kumlin and Isabelle Stadelmann-Steffen

Staffan Kumlin and Isabelle Stadelmann-Steffen bring together political scientists and sociologists from different and frequently separated research communities to examine policy feedback in European welfare states. In doing so, they offer a rich menu of different methodological approaches. The book demonstrates how long-term policy legacies and short-term policy change affect the public, but also shows that such processes are contingent on individual characteristics and political context.

Chapter 13: How proximate and visible policies shape self-interest satisfaction, and spending support: the case of public service production

Troels Fage Hedegaard and Christian Albrekt Larsen

Subjects: politics and public policy, european politics and policy, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, welfare states


The basic idea behind policy feedback is that once a policy has been enacted, and an institution has been created, it can impact the attitudes and actions of certain groups or entire populations. The idea is often traced back to E.E. Schattschneider, who in 1935 argued that new policies create new politics (Pierson 1993, Skocpol 1992). This chapter examine show public service provision, namely child-care, primary- and secondary public school and elderly care, creates a new political game. We focus on Denmark, where this kind of service production is particularly widespread. Together with what Esping-Andersen famously labelled ìsocial democratic welfare regimesî (Esping-Andersen 1990), Denmark stands out in terms of its large public service production. In 2009 the Danish public expenditure on child-care (including pre-primary education) amounted to 1.4 per cent of GDP; twice the size of the OECD average of only 0.7 per cent and only surpassed by Iceland (1.7 per cent). In 2009 the Danish expenditures on primary and secondary schools amounted to 5 per cent of GDP, topping all OECD states (OECD Socx database). Finally, Danish elderly care expenditures were around 2.6 per cent of GDP in 2009 (surpassed only by Sweden and the Netherlands); the EU-average was around 1.2 per cent of GDP. Denmark is clearly a good case to study in terms of how public service production influences the electorate in a generous welfare state context.

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