Welfare Regimes and Attitudes Towards Environmental Regulation

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 15:15
Location: Hörsaal 11 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Martin FRITZ, University of Bonn, Germany
Different welfare regimes with their specific institutional setups embark on different pathways to establish ecological sustainability and to reconcile environmental issues with economic prosperity and social needs. Thus, (emerging) policies and practices of sustainable welfare vary among welfare types (Koch & Fritz 2014). In this paper it is asked whether these differences are reflected in public attitudes towards a) the role of the government in promoting environmental protection, b) the role of the economy and business and c) a more equitable distribution of environmental costs among the poor and the rich.

Comparative welfare theory suggests that universalistic, social-democratic welfare states are more likely to reconcile ecological, economic and social challenges which would then lead to the hypothesis that attitudes in these countries are most positive towards state regulations, the inclusion of business and technology and a fair distribution of costs. Contrarily, people in liberal, market-oriented welfare states can be expected to express more skepticism about state regulation and to prefer market-based solutions. 

In this paper these hypotheses are tested empirically with data from the International Social Survey Program which covers more than 20 countries from different welfare regimes. Multi-level analyses are applied to estimate the effect of the welfare regime on environmental regulation attitudes. On the individual level sociodemographic and political orientation variables are included in the model. The results of this study contribute to a better understanding of the different ways how countries -depending on their institutional backgrounds- deal with the challenge of sustainable development.