Political Preferences and Attitudes Towards the Welfare State: Cross-National Comparison of Germany, Sweden, the U.S. and Japan

in Comparative Sociology
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Abstract

This study attempts to build a causal model of attitudes towards the welfare state in Japan and to compare it to those of Germany, Sweden and the U.S., which represent conservative, socialist, and liberal welfare regime respectively. The effect of political preferences on attitudes towards the welfare state is the focus of the comparison. The basic premise of this comparison is that welfare attitudes vary across countries, bearing the characteristics of the given welfare regime that they belong to. Structural equation modeling and path analysis are conducted on a large-scale international survey dataset, ISSP 1996. Each country is first analyzed separately, and then all four countries are compared to each other. The single-country analysis reveals the cross-national diversity of welfare attitudes, while the effect of political preferences on the welfare attitudes exhibits a bifurcate pattern: in Sweden and the U.S. it is quite strong, relatively weak in Germany, and not even statistically significant in Japan. The comparative analysis further confirms this pattern. Therefore, I conclude that Japan is closest to the German conservative regime in terms of attitudes and political preferences, sharing welfare conservatism that credits the conservative party for building a welfare state.

Political Preferences and Attitudes Towards the Welfare State: Cross-National Comparison of Germany, Sweden, the U.S. and Japan

in Comparative Sociology

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