Wim van Oorschot
Heejung Chung and Wim van Oorschot
Femke Roosma and Wim van Oorschot
European citizens are generally strong supporters of a generous welfare state. However, European countries differ quite strongly in type and quality of their welfare states, as well as in the degree to which they are under socio-economic pressure. The question we address in this chapter is how unified Europe actually is when it comes to welfare attitudes and opinions of its populations. For the regions of Eastern, Southern, Western and Northern Europe we explore welfare attitudes in a multidimensional perspective and we try to explain regional dividing lines by analysing country-level covariates as social spending, poverty risk, wealth and unemployment levels, all controlled for composition effects. Findings show that socio-economic and institutional differences both influence individual welfare attitudes across regions. Where Northern and Western welfare states, with larger groups of citizens that are overall positive toward the welfare state, might overburden their citizens with high spending levels, Eastern and Southern welfare states, with larger groups of citizens that are performance critical toward the welfare state, might need to spend more to fulfil the public demand for a stronger role of the government.
Wim van Oorschot and Femke Roosma
Dimitri Gugushvili and Wim van Oorschot
This chapter extends the usual geographical scope by focusing on change and continuity in welfare attitudes in Russia, although compared with general tendencies in European countries. Unlike European countries, Russia has suffered from a protracted crisis since 2014, and it was not until 2017 that it recorded a modest growth. Thus, while the effects of the 2008 crisis on welfare opinions may have already softened and returned to pre-crisis levels in European countries, the memories of the recession might still be fresher in Russian respondents’ minds, allowing us to compare opinions right at the beginning and at the end of recession. Finding similar or divergent patterns of opinion change in Russia can shed light on the extent to which the changes in welfare attitudes observed in European countries are unique, or reflect a general trend in similar institutional and attitudinal contexts.
Tijs Laenen and Wim van Oorschot
With the repetition of the ESS welfare attitudes module in 2016/17, we have a unique opportunity to examine how the 2008 financial crisis might have affected Europeans’ attitudes towards the welfare state. This chapter summarizes the main findings and implications of this ‘natural’ experiment. We start by describing in greater detail the theoretical expectations and interpretations presented in the different chapters. Why and how would there have been change (or continuity) in welfare attitudes between 2008/09 and 2016/17? After that, we summarize the empirical findings and offer a more general conclusion and some suggestions for future research.