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Working paper

Factors affecting welfare attitudes in different types of welfare states: personal interests and values

Griaznova O. S.
This study examines the effect of personal interests and basic human values on the degree of support for a welfare state. Data from the European Social Survey, round 4 (2008) for 29 European countries (total n = 56,752) was used for the study. Results show that values such as collectivism and altruism promote demand for state intervention in welfare, while values like individualism and egoism negatively affect it. Income has the strongest negative effect on support for a welfare state among all the factors tested, even more so than gender and employment status in all types of welfare states. Compared to other countries (familialistic, social-democratic, conservative, and liberal), former USSR and ex-communist countries seem to be more influenced by collectivistic and individualistic values, and education. In addition, in ex-communist countries, altruistic and egoistic values have a crucial impact on the demand for a welfare state. In liberal, conservative, and social-democratic countries, values and education do not have much impact.