Social Indicators Research

, 84:53 | Cite as

Relating social welfare to life satisfaction in the postmodern era of Hong Kong

  • Chau-kiu CheungEmail author
  • Kwan-kwok Leung
Original Paper


Social welfare is supposedly beneficial not only to the needy receiving it but to citizens in general who expect social welfare to help the needy. Whereas direct benefits to the needy represent the gratification of material needs, the fulfillment of citizens–expectation registers an idealistic path to life satisfaction. These materialistic and idealistic paths may also be useful for explaining citizens–perception about the adequacy of social welfare. The reciprocal relationships between adequacy perception and life satisfaction are subject to an empirical study based on panel survey data obtained from Hong Kong, China. Results lend more support to the idealistic explanation than to the materialistic explanation in that the citizen’s postmodern orientation appeared to moderate the reciprocal relationships in some ways, whereas most of the citizen’s material conditions did not manifest moderating effects. Accordingly, the needy did not benefit from the perceived adequacy of social welfare and their life satisfaction did not have pervasive effects on the perceived adequacy in return. Results support the view that postmodernization would erode citizens–support for social welfare.


Life satisfaction Social welfare Postmodern orientation Need fulfillment 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social WorkChinese University of Hong KongHong KongChina

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