Betwixt and between the market and the state: Israeli students' welfare attitudes in comparative perspective

Clara Sabbagh, Lawrence Alfred Powell, Pieter Vanhuysse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Analysing comparable samples of students from the Cross-Cultural Variations in Distributive Justice Perception (CVDJP) project, we explore the multidimensionality of attitudes towards the welfare state in Israel compared with countries from liberal and social-democratic welfare regimes (the USA, Canada-Ontario, Sweden, Norway and The Netherlands). We derive six different attitudinal dimensions that constitute two distinct sets of opposing welfare ideological frames. The first set, market-based ideology, entails three coexisting criteria: individualism, internal attribution of inequality, and work ethic. The second set, welfare-statist ideology, entails three additional coexisting criteria: egalitarian redistribution, external attribution of inequality, and broad scope of welfare. Along with structural similarities, we find considerable variation in levels of aggregate attitudes across the different types of welfare regimes. Israeli respondents stand out because of their strongly ambivalent welfare attitudes. While scoring higher than respondents from the liberal regimes on market-based measures, they paradoxically record similarly high scores (comparable to social-democratic regimes) on state-based measures. On one criterion - attribution of inequality to external causes - Israeli respondents even score higher than respondents from both liberal and social-democratic regimes. We consider potential explanations for this ambivalence and suggest possible directions for further research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220-230
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Social Welfare
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2007


  • Ambivalence
  • Israel
  • Multivariate attitudes
  • Nomological networks
  • Welfare regime types
  • Welfare state attitudes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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