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Trust, Public Opinion, and Welfare State Reform (Political Behaviour Colloquium)

Dates:
  • Tue 04 Dec 2018 17.15 - 19.00
  Add to Calendar 2018-12-04 17:15 2018-12-04 19:00 Europe/Paris Trust, Public Opinion, and Welfare State Reform (Political Behaviour Colloquium)

How can welfare states be reformed? Existing work shows that welfare state reform is (increasingly) difficult, as positive feedback effects and path dependencies cement existing programs on the mass public, the interest group, and the elite level. Welfare state reform are thus politically risky and costly. At the same time, welfare reform seems highly urgent, as all advanced economies develop from industrial to post-industrial knowledge economies. The ‘old’ welfare states, which emerged as a response to the social risks of industrialization, are not well equipped to address the ‘new social risks’, which result from the turn towards post-industrial societies. Social policy experts, scholars, and policy-makers have thus called for large-scale welfare state readjustment from a focus on compensatory social policies (such as unemployment benefits, health care, and pensions) towards a ‘social investment’ model (focusing on early childhood education, education, family and active labor market policies). Under what conditions are citizens willing to accept such reforms? We point at the crucial but hitherto disregarded role of citizens’ trust in government. Trust matters because welfare state reform generates uncertainties, which trust in the government can attenuate. We offer micro-level causal evidence using experimental designs in a novel representative survey covering eight European countries. Our findings indicate a considerable direct effect of governmental trust on support for future-oriented policy proposals as well as several conditioning effects of trust on materialistic self-interest and political ideology. The findings have crucial implications because they indicate that political trust is an important precondition for successful welfare state reforms and help explain why some countries fail to enact such reforms.

Seminar Room 2 DD/MM/YYYY
  Seminar Room 2

How can welfare states be reformed? Existing work shows that welfare state reform is (increasingly) difficult, as positive feedback effects and path dependencies cement existing programs on the mass public, the interest group, and the elite level. Welfare state reform are thus politically risky and costly. At the same time, welfare reform seems highly urgent, as all advanced economies develop from industrial to post-industrial knowledge economies. The ‘old’ welfare states, which emerged as a response to the social risks of industrialization, are not well equipped to address the ‘new social risks’, which result from the turn towards post-industrial societies. Social policy experts, scholars, and policy-makers have thus called for large-scale welfare state readjustment from a focus on compensatory social policies (such as unemployment benefits, health care, and pensions) towards a ‘social investment’ model (focusing on early childhood education, education, family and active labor market policies). Under what conditions are citizens willing to accept such reforms? We point at the crucial but hitherto disregarded role of citizens’ trust in government. Trust matters because welfare state reform generates uncertainties, which trust in the government can attenuate. We offer micro-level causal evidence using experimental designs in a novel representative survey covering eight European countries. Our findings indicate a considerable direct effect of governmental trust on support for future-oriented policy proposals as well as several conditioning effects of trust on materialistic self-interest and political ideology. The findings have crucial implications because they indicate that political trust is an important precondition for successful welfare state reforms and help explain why some countries fail to enact such reforms.


Location:
Seminar Room 2

Affiliation:
Department of Political and Social Sciences

Type:
Working group

Organiser:
Sophia Hunger
Valentim Vicente

Speaker:
Julian Garritzmann (EUI-MWF)
 
 

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