Welfare Support Attitudes in Korea, Taiwan, Germany, and Italy: Focusing on the Influence of Institutional and Political Factors

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 6:30 PM
Room: F203
Distributed Paper
Myungsook WOO , SNU bldg. 220 room 534, The Institute for Social Development and Policy Research, Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea
Eun Young NAM , Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea
Previous studies have shown that welfare attitudes are determined by various demographic, economic, and social factors in Western countries. Class is found to be one of the most influential factors in explaining individual welfare attitudes in Western countries. On the contrary, no clear factors have been found to be significant in differentiating individual welfare attitudes in Asian countries, particularly in South Korea so far. To understand welfare attitudes in comparative perspective, we will analyze the <Life and Society> survey data collected from Korea, Taiwan, Germany, and Italy in 2012. Two Asian countries are small emerging welfare states, whereas Germany and Italy are already mature welfare states. However, these countries have some commonalities in that their welfare systems were constructed by the principle of Bismarckian insurance system. It would be very interesting to check changes in welfare attitudes in Western countries, finding out differences and commonalities between Western mature welfare states and Asian emerging welfare states.

The first purpose of this article is to explore whether there are different social cleavages in welfare attitudes in Western and Asian countries. The second purpose is the main part of this study. The study focuses on the issue addressed by institutionalists in the analysis of welfare attitudes. That is the importance of institutional and political factors. We expand the concept of ‘political trust’ to measure an evaluation of the ‘political world’. We argue that institutional and political factors that measure individual evaluations of the political system are important in explaining welfare attitudes such as individual support for welfare states. At the same time, we will show that there are variations among four countries, and particularly differences between Western and Asian countries in the direction and significance of institutional and political factors.