Exploring attitudes towards the welfare state: Students' views in eight democracies

Clara Sabbagh, Peter Vanhuysse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We explore the dimensionality of attitudes towards the welfare state among university students in eight countries representing four worlds of welfare: liberal, radical, conservative and social democratic. We use new data from cross-nationally comparable 25-item questionnaires to derive a two-level bi-factorial hierarchical model that specifies six different attitude facets. These facets are clustered into two distinct sets of attitudes: the 'market-based frame', which entails (a) individualism, (b) work ethic and (c) internal attribution of inequality and the 'welfare-statist frame', which entails (d) egalitarian redistribution, (e) broad scope of welfare and (f) external attribution of social inequality. In line with our expectations, respondents across different regime types structured their welfare state attitudes according to the six a priori defined types of attitudes and two sets of opposing attitudes. The study also found that the six facets are differently affected by regime type, which further corroborates our argument that the construct of welfare attitudes is complex and inherently multidimensional.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)607-628
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Social Policy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Public Administration
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


Dive into the research topics of 'Exploring attitudes towards the welfare state: Students' views in eight democracies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this