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European Regional Welfare Attitudes: a Sub-National Multi-Dimensional Analysis


Public attitudes to welfare are key issues in social policy research and practice given their important roles in shaping demands for different types of welfare policies as well as the political parameters within which those welfare decisions are made by governments. Research into headline trends has shown important hardenings in public attitudes to welfare cross-nationally. However, more detailed geographical analysis of these patterns of welfare attitudes sub-nationally remains an important and surprisingly neglected area of understanding, in part due to the lack of suitable survey datasets with which to create sufficiently reliable direct sub-national comparative estimates. Responding to these gaps, this article employs small area estimation techniques to present reliable sub-national estimates and analyses of distinct economic, moral and social welfare attitudes across European regions for the first time in the literature. Compared to previous national analyses the richer spatial understanding enabled in these original analyses reveals previously neglected variation in welfare attitudes within as well as across national boundaries. Five geodemographic ‘families’ of regional welfare attitudes are found across Europe’s regions – from strong welfare supporters to consistent welfare sceptics – with their regional memberships cutting across national boundaries and current welfare typologies.

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  3. Full details from the diagnostic checks are available upon request from the authors.


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This research has been funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM) grant number ES/N011619/1.

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Correspondence to Angelo Moretti.

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Appendix: Confidence Intervals Plots Section 3

Appendix: Confidence Intervals Plots Section 3

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Moretti, A., Whitworth, A. European Regional Welfare Attitudes: a Sub-National Multi-Dimensional Analysis. Appl. Spatial Analysis 13, 393–410 (2020).

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  • Welfare attitudes
  • Welfare legitimacy
  • Welfare consequences
  • Welfare typology
  • Small area estimation
  • Composite estimation
  • European social survey