Where Should the Money Go? A Six-country Comparison of Attitudes toward Spending on Public Pensions and Unemployment Programs

JoEllen Pederson


Using both country-level and individual-level theories and indicators, this paper examines attitudes toward government spending on unemployment and pensions, two of the most expensive welfare state programs. I use a basic form of multilevel modeling to test three theories: self-interest, political ideology, and Esping-Andersen’s regime typology. Specificlly, I examine how self-interest and political ideology shape respondents’ ideas about spending on welfare and how these ideas vary across six countries. Based on my results, I argue that attitudes toward unemployment and pensions are not the same and cannot be assumed to be. With that said, Esping-Andersen’s typology can, in fact, be applied to attitudes with minimal variation especially as it pertains to pensions. Self-interest and political ideology theories both impact individual-level differences in attitudes; while these theories measure different ideas of influence, they are both important in understanding peoples’ attitudes about social policies.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.11114/ijsss.v2i1.240


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International Journal of Social Science Studies   ISSN 2324-8033 (Print)   ISSN 2324-8041 (Online)

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