Satisfaction with Democracy and Perceived Performance of the Welfare State in Europe

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Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Journal of European Social Policy
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Social Studies

Field Economy
Keywords satisfaction with democracy; welfare state; policy deficit; welfare regimes; post-communist countries
Description Since the fall of the communist regimes in Central and Eastern Europe in 1989, neoliberal discourse has dominated among the political elite in the post-communist countries, paving the way for unprecedented mass privatisation, economic deregulation, and other market reforms. In this paper, we study the development of public support for market economy principles in post-communist countries compared to other European countries during the 1999-2008 period, which is the period that directly followed the initial stage of market transformation. We use data from the European Value Survey covering 22 European countries for the years 1999/2000 and 2008/2009. In addition to analysing the trends, we apply multilevel regression models to study the determinants and levels of support for the market economy in post-communist and other European countries. We find that, when controlling for individual and country-level variables, a significant increase in support for market economy principles has taken place in the post-communist cluster, which is not the case in the other countries. There is some inconsistency in support for the individual principles of market economics: support exists in post-communist countries for the notion that the state should be responsible for the social and economic well-being of its inhabitants and for state regulation of the economy, while support is high for some market economy principles, such as free competition and private ownership. In other words, support for some kind of social market seems to dominate the views of those living in post-communist countries, in which the state should combine a market economy with relatively generous social policies.
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