Do local circumstances affect attitudes towards local social policies? Exploring the role of economic, political and demographic conditions

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Abstract

Purpose: This article aims to explore whether and how economic, political and demographic municipal conditions shape citizens' attitudes regarding decentralised social policies. Design/methodology/approach: The authors analysed the 2018 wave of the Dutch Local Election Studies, which includes a novel survey item asking respondents whether they prefer local social policies to be primarily: (1) protection-based, (2) cohesion-building or (3) activation-based. The authors appended context indicators to that survey and performed multilevel logistic regression analyses (1,913 respondents nested in 336 municipalities). Findings: At the individual level, these preferences are affected by gender, age, income, education and political inclination, as expected. However, preferences towards local social policies are not shaped by local economic, demographic or political conditions. The authors discuss the implications of these findings for future research. Originality/value: By using unique data, including a newly developed survey item, this study is the first to explore whether and how municipal conditions shape preferences regarding local welfare. Understanding those preferences is increasingly important as many Western European countries have decentralised swathes of social policies from the national to the local level in recent decades.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)993-1011
JournalInternational Journal of Sociology and Social Policy
Early online date22 Oct 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Oct 2021

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