Baslevent C, Kirmanoglu H. Discerning self-interested behaviour in attitudes towards welfare state responsibilities across Europe
Int J Soc Welfare 2010: ••: ••–••© 2010 The Author(s), International Journal of Social Welfare © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd and the International Journal of Social Welfare.
This article reports on an investigation into the influence of individual characteristics on attitudes to government responsibility for welfare-related tasks using data from the European Social Survey. The main finding of this investigation was that socio-demographic characteristics, basic personal values, a left–right ideological position and religious affiliation were all associated with attitudes towards welfare policies. An item-by-item examination of the six issues enquired about in the survey revealed that people tended to hold the government responsible for tasks that would benefit them more directly. Taken as a whole, the empirical findings were interpreted to mean that individuals’ tastes for welfare state policies were driven, at least partially, by self-interest, but it was also noted that further work was needed to disentangle the potential role of group loyalty effects.