Advertisement

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

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Life satisfaction Social welfare Postmodern orientation Need fulfillment 

References

  1. Aiken, L. S., & West, S. G. (1991). Multiple regression: Testing and interpreting interactions. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  2. Bauman, Z. (2005). Work consumerism and the new poor. Maidenhead, UK: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Binswanger, M. (2006). Why does income growth fail to make us happier? Searching for the treadmills behind the paradox of happiness. Journal of Socio-Economics, 35, 366–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Blomberg, H., & Kroll, C. (1999). Do structural contents matter? Macro-sociological factors and popular attitudes towards public welfare services. Acta Sociologica, 42, 319–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brand, P. (1999). The environment and postmodern spatial consciousness: A sociology of urban environmental agendas. Journal of Environmental Planning & Management, 42(5), 631–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Campbell, A. L. (2003). How policies make citizens: Senior political activism and the American welfare state. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Carter, J. (1998). Studying social policy after modernity. In J. Carter (Ed.), Postmodernity and the fragmentation of welfare, (pp. 15–0). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  8. Cheng, S.-T., & Chan, A. C. M. (2003). Regulating quality of care in nursing homes in Hong Kong: A social-ecological investigation. Law & Policy, 25(4), 403–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Crampton, S. M., & Wagner, J. A. III (1994). Percept-percept inflation in microorganizational research: An investigation of prevalence and effort. Journal of Applied Psychology, 79(1), 67–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Crocker, J., Luhtanen, R., Blaine, B., & Broadnax, S. (1994). Collective self-esteem and psychological well-being among white, black, and Asian college students. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 20, 503–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Derks, A. (2004). Are the underprivileged really that economically leftist? Attitudes towards economic redistribution and the welfare state in Flanders. European Journal of Political Research, 43, 509–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Diener, Ed., & Fujita, F. (1995). Resources, personal strivings, and subjective well-being: A nomothetic and idiographic approach. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 68(5), 926–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Diener, Ed., & Lucas, R. E. (2000). Explaining differences in societal levels of happiness: Relative standards, need fulfillment, culture, and evaluation theory. Journal of Happiness Studies, 11, 41–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Diener, Ed., & Biswas-Dierner, R. (2002). Will money increase subjective well-being? Social Indicators Research, 57, 119–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Duncan, K. (2000). Incentive and the work decisions of welfare recipients: Evidence from the panel survey of income dynamics, 1981–988. American Journal of Economy and Sociology, 59(3), 433–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Euromonitor. (2002). European marketing data and statistics 2002/international marketing data and statistics 2002 (London).Google Scholar
  17. Flood, C. M. (2000). International health care reform: A legal, economic and political analysis. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  18. Folster, S., Gidehag, R., Orszag, M., & Snower, D. J. (2003). Assessing the effect of introducing welfare accounts in Sweden. In T. M. Andersen & P. Molander (Eds.), Alternatives for welfare policy: Coping with internationalisation and demographic change (pp. 255–75). Cambridge UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Fraile, M., & Mariona, F. (2005). Explaining the determinants of public support for cuts in unemployment benefits spending across OECD countries. International Sociology, 20(4), 459–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Garcia-Gutierrez, A., Rosas, J. M., & Nelson, J. B. (2005). Extensive interference attenuates reinstatement in human predictive judgments. International Journal of Comparative Psychology, 18, 240–48.Google Scholar
  21. Gelissen, J. (2002). Worlds of welfare, worlds of consent? Public opinion on the welfare state. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill.Google Scholar
  22. Gevers, J., Gelissen, J., Arts, W., & Muffels, R. (2000). Public health care in the balance: Exploring popular support for health care systems in the European union. International Journal of Social Welfare, 9, 301–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Gibbins, J. R. (1998). Postmodernism, poststructuralism and social policy. In J. Carter (Ed.), Postmodernity and the fragmentation of welfare (pp. 31–8). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  24. Gibbins, J. R., & Reimer, Bo. (1995). Postmodernism. In, J. W. Van Deth & E. Scarbrough (Eds.), The impact of values (pp. 301–31). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Gidding, L., Dingeldey, I., & Ulbricht, S. (2004). The commodification of lone mothers' labor: A comparison of US and German policies. Feminist Economics, 16(2), 115–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Goulding, C. (2000). The commodification of the past, postmodern pastiche, and the search for authentic experiences at contemporary heritage attraction. European Journal of Marketing, 3(7), 835–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Holliday, I. (2000). Productivist welfare capitalism: Social policy in East Asia. Political Studies, 48, 706–23.Google Scholar
  28. Inglehart, R. (1997). Modernization and postmodernization: Cultural, economic, and political change in 43 societies. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Katz, L. F. (1998). Wage subsidies for the disadvantaged. In R. B. Freeman & P. Gottschalk (Eds.), Generating jobs: How to increase demand for less-skilled workers (pp. 21–3). New York: Russell Sage.Google Scholar
  30. Kulik, L. (2006). The impact of spousal variables on life satisfaction of individuals in life adulthood. International Journal of Comparative Sociology, 67(1), 54–2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kyle, G., & Chick, G. (2004). Enduring leisure involvement: The importance of personal relationships. Leisure Studies, 23(3), 243–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Lane, R. E. (2000). The Loss of Happiness in Market Democracies. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  33. Leonard, P. (1997). Postmodern welfare: Reconstructing an emancipatory project. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  34. Leonardi, F., Spazzafumo, L., & Marcellini, F. (2005). Subjective well-being: The constructionist point of view: A longitudinal study to verify the predictive power of top-down effects and bottom-up processes. Social Indicators Research, 70, 53–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Marshall, T. H., & Bottomore, T. (1992). Citizenship and social class. London: Pluto.Google Scholar
  36. McCall, N., & Driver, S. (1997). The partnership for long-term care: Who are the partnership policy purchasers? Medical Care Research & Review, 54(4), 472–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Mehrtens, F. J. III (2004). Three worlds of public opinion? Values variation, and the effect on social policy, International Journal of Public Opinion Research, 16(2), 115–43.Google Scholar
  38. Meyers, M. K., & Gornick, J. C. (2003). Public or private responsibility? Early childhood education and care, inequality, and the welfare state. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 34(3), 379–11.Google Scholar
  39. Munch, R. (1987). Theory of action: Towards a new synthesis going beyond parsons. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  40. Mustakova-Possardt, E. (1998). Critical consciousness: An alternative pathway for positive personal and social development. Journal of Adult Development, 5(1), 13–0.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Oesterle, S., Johnson, M. K., & Mortimer, J. T. (2004). Volunteerism during the transition to adulthood: A life course perspective. Social Forces, 82(3), 1123–149.Google Scholar
  42. Reed, P. B., & Selbee, L. K. (2000). Distinguishing characteristics of active volunteers in Canada. Nonprofit & Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 29(4), 471–92.Google Scholar
  43. Rodger, J. J. (2000). From a welfare state to a welfare society: The changing context of social policy in a postmodern era. Houndmills, UK: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  44. Rosenau, P. M. (1992). Postmodernism and the social sciences: Insights, inroads, and intrusions. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  45. Saris, W. E. (2001). The strength of the causal relationship between living conditions and satisfaction. Sociological Methods & Research, 30(1), 11–4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Schlesinger, M. (1998). Deceptive dichotomies: Political reasoning and government involvement in long-term care. In L. C. Walker, E. H. Bradley, & T. Wetle (Eds.), Public and private responsibilities in long-term care: Finding the balance (pp. 25–1). Baltimore, MY: John Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  47. Schyns, P. (2000). The relationship between income changes in income and life satisfaction in West Germany and the Russian federation: Relative, absolute, or a combination of both? In Ed. Diener & D. R. Rahtz (Eds.), Advances in quality of life theory and research (pp. 83–09). Dordrecht, Netherlands: Kluwer Academic.Google Scholar
  48. Schyns, P. (2001). Income and satisfaction in Russia. Journal of Happiness Studies, 2, 173–04.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Sears, D. O. (2001). The role of affect in symbolic politics. In J. H. Kuklinski (Ed.), Citizens and politics: Perspectives from political psychology (pp, 14–0). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  50. Seippel, O. (1999). Political environmentalism: Class interests, modern values or postmodern feelings? Innovation: European Journal of Social Sciences, 12(2), 129–53.Google Scholar
  51. Singh, M. (1999). Health and health policy in Singapore. ASEAN Economic Bulletin, 16(3), 330–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Sirgy, M. J. (1998). Materialism and quality of life. Social Indicators Research, 43(3), 227–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Sirgy, M. J. (2001). Handbook of quality-of-life research: An ethical marketing perspective. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Kluwer Academic.Google Scholar
  54. Sotirovic, M. (2001). Media use and perceptions of welfare. Journal of Communication, 51, 750–74.Google Scholar
  55. Stolzenberg, R. M., Relles, D. A. (1997). Tools for intuition about sample selection bias and its correction. American Sociological Review, 62, 494–07.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Svallfors, S. (1991). The politics of welfare policy in Sweden: Structural determinants and attitudinal cleavages. British Journal of Sociology, 42(4), 609–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Taylor-Gooby, P. (1997). In defence of second-best theory: State class and capital in social policy. Journal of Social Policy, 26(2), 171–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Tung, C.-h. (1997). Building Hong Kong for a new era. Hong Kong, China: Printing Department.Google Scholar
  59. van Hook, J. (2003). Welfare reform's chilling effects on noncitizens: Changes in noncitizen welfare recipiency or shifts in citizenship status? Social Science Quarterly, 84(3), 613–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Will, J. A. (1993). The deserving poor. New York: Garland.Google Scholar
  61. Williamson, J. B., McNamara, T. K., & Howling, S. A. (2003). Generational equity, generational interdependence, and the framing of the debate over social security reform. Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare, 30(3), 3–4.Google Scholar
  62. Wilson, G. (1997). A postmodern approach to structured dependency theory. Journal of Social Policy, 26(3), 341–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Wilson, G. (2000). Race, class, and support for egalitarian statism among the African American middle class. Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare, 27(3), 75–1.Google Scholar
  64. Wong, C. K., Wong, K. Y., & Mok, B. H. (2006). Subjective well-being, societal condition and social policy: The case study of a rich Chinese society. Social Indicators Research, 78, 405–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Wright, E. O. (1997). Class counts: Comparative studies in class analysis. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  66. Zagorski, K. (1999). Egalitarianism, perception of conflicts, and support for transformation in Poland. In S. Svallfors & P. Taylor-Gooby (Eds.), The end of the welfare state? Responses to state retrenchment (pp. 190–17). London: Routledge.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

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

Personalised recommendations