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Institutional trust and welfare statesupport: on the role of trust in marketinstitutions
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
2013 (English)In: Journal of Public Policy, ISSN 0143-814X, E-ISSN 1469-7815, Vol. 33, no 3, 295-317 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The importance of institutional trust for structuring welfare statesupport (WSS) has been advanced by several scholars. Yet, the thesis has notreceived convincing empirical support. We argue that the weak evidence observedby previous research is caused by the failure of not extending the analyticalframework beyond the study of public institutions. Using Sweden as a test case,our analytical framework covers trust in public institutions (TPI) and marketinstitutions (TMI). The main findings are: (1) TMI has a robust negative effecton WSS; (2) the expected relationship between TPI and WSS is strengthenedcontrolling for TMI; (3) TMI mediates the relationships between socio-economicvariables and WSS. These findings underline the importance of bringing in otherinstitutional configurations that are seen as conceivable alternatives to the state foradministrating social welfare, not the least in studies primarily interested in thelink between TPI and support for state-organised welfare.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013. Vol. 33, no 3, 295-317 p.
Keyword [en]
attitudes, institutions, market, public, trust, welfare state
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-81915DOI: 10.1017/S0143814X13000160ISI: 000325698200003OAI: diva2:658883
Available from: 2013-10-23 Created: 2013-10-23 Last updated: 2014-05-07Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Attitudes towards the Market and the Welfare State: Incorporating attitudes towards the market into welfare state research
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Attitudes towards the Market and the Welfare State: Incorporating attitudes towards the market into welfare state research
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Social policy and its associated institutions are central political arenas for societal compromise and conflict. The capacity to attract strong support from a wide constituency of citizens is, therefore, a defining feature of welfare policy legitimacy. While there is much research measuring attitudes towards state-organized welfare, the overall aim of this thesis is to incorporate attitudes towards the market into this research field. This aim is carried out through four empirical studies that add a market component to the analysis of different topics covered in current welfare state research. The articles in this thesis either compare attitudes across countries or deploy Swedish public opinion as a test case. Newly designed or previously underutilized survey measures are used that explicitly cover attitudes towards the market. Latent class analysis, structural equation modeling, and multilevel analysis are used to study how attitudes vary both within and across countries.


Citizens’ perceptions and evaluations of the market are found to be shaped by their everyday life experiences within the market structure. Moreover, citizens’ trust in the performance of market institutions is found to be important in structuring their welfare policy preferences. In addition, attitudes towards the market appear to be influenced by the institutional context: citizens living in countries with more ambitious welfare states are less inclined to support market distribution of social services, and class differences in political welfare attitudes tend to be larger in countries with more encompassing welfare states. Collected findings thus suggest that citizens living in countries with more generous welfare states are more inclined to think that the legitimate scope of the market nexus should be negotiated and calibrated via social policy.


By incorporating attitudes towards the market in relation to welfare state support, this thesis contributes to increasing our understanding of the political and moral mindset of citizens in advanced political economies. Public attitudes towards the welfare state are to a significant degree formed by perceptions and evaluations of the market and its actors. In order to further our knowledge about preferences regarding the role of the state in modern society, and to stay in tune with ongoing policy developments, future socio-political research is well advised to bring the main alternative to the state – the market and its actors – into the analytical framework.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet, 2014. 34 p.
Akademiska avhandlingar vid Sociologiska institutionen, Umeå universitet, ISSN 1104-2508 ; 75
Market, welfare state, social policy, political attitudes, public opinion, trust, class, marketization
National Category
Research subject
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-88490 (URN)978-91-7601-031-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-06-05, Hörsal 1031, Norra Beteendevetarhuset, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 13:15
Available from: 2014-05-15 Created: 2014-05-07 Last updated: 2014-05-15Bibliographically approved

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