Attitudes towards Redistributive Spending in an Era of Demographic Ageing. The Rival Pressures from Age and Income in 14 OECD Countries.

Journal of European Social Policy (2009) 19(3): 195-212
with Marius R. Busemeyer and Achim Goerres

This article is about the relative impact of age and income on individual attitudes towards welfare state policies in advanced industrial democracies; that is, the extent to which the intergenerational conflict supercedes or complements intragenerational conflicts. On the basis of a multivariate statistical analysis of the 1996 ISSP Role of Government Data Set for 14 OECD countries, we find considerable age-related differences in welfare state preferences. In particular for the case of education spending, but also for other policy areas, we see that one's position in the life cycle is a more important predictor of preferences than income. Second, some countries, such as the United States, show a higher salience of the age cleavage across all policy fields; that is, age is a more important line of political preference formation in these countries than in others. Third, country characteristics matter. Although the relative salience of age varies across policy areas, we see - within one policy area - a large variance across countries.

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