Who supports family policy?

Mare Ainsaar, University of Tartu

Despite of the discussion about the magnitude of role of family policy on fertility or ohter family aspects, the support from society is essential component which shapes well-being of children. Public attitudes might also have the decisive role in understanding the future development of the welfare state. However, our knowledge about the formation of attitudes is still limited. A great amount of research has been dedicated to the investigation of attitude formation in psychology, but only a limited number of analyses can be found about the nature of social policy attitudes, and even less about family policy attitudes. The presentation analyses family policy support in 18 European countries and compares results with support to ohter socia lpolicy target groups. European Social Survey data from 2008/2009 are used as an empirical data source. Multilevel modelling allows detect both individual and country level faxtors which shape the support. Results demostrate that families with children tend to support more government responsibility for domains that are more relevant to families with children and give lower scores towards actions in favour of other welfare recipients. On the other hand, families without children evaluate more highly the need of government action in domains not related to young children, and less in children related domains. The other consistent result was the dependency of attitudes on individual vulnerability and identity related indicators, such as income, education, gender, perception of a just society, left-right positioning, the perception of the benefits compared with the costs of a welfare system and individual value systems. The levels of security needs and benevolence were also statistically important factors in all models, after controlling for gender, income and ideological preferences.

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Presented in Poster Session 2