Would you like to shrink the welfare state? A survey of European citizens
UNSPECIFIED (2001) Would you like to shrink the welfare state? A survey of European citizens. In: 32nd Meeting of the Economic Policy Panel, PARIS, FRANCE, OCT 13-14, 2000. Published in: ECONOMIC POLICY (32). 7-+.Full text not available from this repository.
The fundamental problems facing European welfare states - high employment and unsustainable public pensions plans in particular - have been in the political debate for years, so why have we seen so little reform? To find out, we surveyed the opinions of citizens in France, Germany, Italy and Spain on their welfare states and on various reform options. This is what we found. First, most workers underestimate the costs of public pensions, though they are aware of their unsustainability. Second, the status quo is a majoritarian outcome: a majority of citizens opposes cuts to social security and welfare spending, but also opposes further increases. Since population ageing without reform implies an automatic expansion, our results suggest that most citizens would favour reforms that stabilize but do not shrink the current welfare states. Third, many would welcome changes in the allocation of benefits. A large number of workers in Italy and Germany would be willing opt out of public pensions and replace them with private pensions, though the details of how this scheme is formulated matter for its popularity. And many Italians and Spaniards would welcome an extension of the coverage of unemployment insurance. Fourth, conflicts over the welfare state are mainly shaped by the economic situation of the respondent, while political ideology plays a limited role. Disagreements are found along three dimensions: young versus old, rich versus poor, and 'outsider' versus 'insider' in terms of labour market status. From a practical point of view, this suggests that there is scope to bundle reforms strategically in order to build a large and mixed coalition of supporters.
|Item Type:||Conference Item (UNSPECIFIED)|
|Subjects:||H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions|
|Journal or Publication Title:||ECONOMIC POLICY|
|Publisher:||BLACKWELL PUBL LTD|
|Number of Pages:||43|
|Title of Event:||32nd Meeting of the Economic Policy Panel|
|Location of Event:||PARIS, FRANCE|
|Date(s) of Event:||OCT 13-14, 2000|
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