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Public opinion on policy and budgetary trade-offs in European welfare states: evidence from a new comparative survey


Busemeyer, Marius R; Garritzmann, Julian L (2017). Public opinion on policy and budgetary trade-offs in European welfare states: evidence from a new comparative survey. Journal of European Public Policy, 24(6):871-889.

Abstract

In the wake of the ‘Great Recession’, welfare states have entered a new phase of austerity. Simultaneously, new social risks and the rise of the knowledge economy fuel new demands on the welfare state. We analyse how demands for social investment policies – particularly education – come into conflict with budgetary concerns, using new survey data on individual-level preferences in eight European countries. Paying particular attention to fiscal and budgetary trade-offs, we find that social investments are generally very popular, but as soon as realistic budget constraints are added, public support drops considerably. The largest drop occurs when social investments would be financed with cutbacks in social transfers rather than higher taxes or higher public debt levels. Furthermore, when studying the determinants of preferences, we find that in the era of permanent austerity distributive conflicts within welfare states exhibit a different political dynamic than conflicts about the size of the welfare state.

Abstract

In the wake of the ‘Great Recession’, welfare states have entered a new phase of austerity. Simultaneously, new social risks and the rise of the knowledge economy fuel new demands on the welfare state. We analyse how demands for social investment policies – particularly education – come into conflict with budgetary concerns, using new survey data on individual-level preferences in eight European countries. Paying particular attention to fiscal and budgetary trade-offs, we find that social investments are generally very popular, but as soon as realistic budget constraints are added, public support drops considerably. The largest drop occurs when social investments would be financed with cutbacks in social transfers rather than higher taxes or higher public debt levels. Furthermore, when studying the determinants of preferences, we find that in the era of permanent austerity distributive conflicts within welfare states exhibit a different political dynamic than conflicts about the size of the welfare state.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Political Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:320 Political science
Uncontrolled Keywords:Education policy, INVEDUC survey, policy trade-offs, public opinion, social investment, welfare state
Language:English
Date:2017
Deposited On:29 Nov 2017 15:44
Last Modified:19 Feb 2018 09:26
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:1350-1763
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/13501763.2017.1298658
Related URLs:http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/rjpp20/24/6?nav=tocList (Publisher)

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