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Welfare Attitudes and Expressions of (Trans)national Solidarity

Kurowska, Anna, Eisele, Olga, Kiess, Johannes M.
TheAmerican behavioral scientist 2019 v.63 no.4 pp. 492-505
European Union, Europeans, attitudes and opinions, data collection, motivation, politics, refugees, regression analysis
The article explores the extent to which Europeans’ welfare attitudes explain (trans)national solidarity behavior. We set our analyses against the backdrop of the broader debate of welfare state consequences: Does a strong welfare state that is considered to take care of those in need diminish or strengthen citizens’ motivations to become engaged in helping others? We distinguish individuals’ solidarity behavior toward others within the welfare state, that is, citizens within one’s country, and outside the welfare state community of the respondents’ particular country. We further distinguish different others outside the welfare state, that is, between refugees, taking the refugee crisis in the European Union (EU) as a prime example, and citizens living in other countries—in EU countries and non-EU countries. As far as the main explanatory variables are concerned, we derive from the concept of “multidimensional welfare attitudes” and focus on five crucial dimensions of these attitudes, that is, welfare goals, range, degree, redistribution, and outcome. We draw on data collected within the EU project TransSOL and calculate a set of multilevel logistic regression models controlling for a wide range of individual (sociodemographic, economic, and political) variables. Overall, we observe that a “crowding in” effect, that is, higher support of the welfare state, goes in line with solidarity activity toward others including both “outsiders” and “insiders” of the national community.