Advertisement

Does Population Ageing Change Pension Reform Attitudes? A Survey Experiment on Political Knowledge, Ideology, and Preferences

  • Elias Naumann
Chapter

Abstract

Do increased pressures to reform due to the financial crisis or population ageing erode welfare state support? Surprisingly, our knowledge of how individuals change their attitudes in hard times is still limited. Relying on a survey experiment in a representative German online survey, this chapter exogenously manipulates the perceived pressure to reform (due to an ageing society). It shows that people indeed change their reform preferences when faced with an ageing society: the strong opposition to increasing the retirement age decreases. Further analyses reveal that not all groups within society react to increased reform pressures in the same way: political knowledge but also political partisanship do moderate the strength and the direction of the attitude change.

References

  1. Alt, J.E. 1979. The politics of economic decline. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Althaus, S.L. 1998. Information effects in collective preferences. American Political Science Review 92 (3): 545–558.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Blekesaune, M. 2007. Economic conditions and public attitudes to welfare policies. European Sociological Review 23 (3): 393–403.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Blinder, A.S., and A.B. Krueger. 2004. What does the public know about economic policy, and how does it know it? Brookings Papers on Economic Activity 1: 327–397.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Blom, A., C. Gathmann, and U. Krieger. 2015. Setting up an online panel representative of the general population. The German internet panel. Field Methods 27 (4): 391–408.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Boeri, T., A. Borsch-Supan, and G. Tabellini. 2001. Would you like to shrink the welfare state? A survey of European citizens. Economic Policy 16 (32): 7–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Boeri, T., and G. Tabellini. 2012. Does information increase political support for pension reform? Public Choice 150 (1–2): 327–362.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Boudiny, K. 2013. Active ageing. From empty rhetoric to effective policy tool. Ageing and Society 33 (6): 1077–1098.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Brooks, C., and J. Manza. 2006. Social policy responsiveness in developed democracies. American Sociological Review 71 (3): 474–494.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Burstein, P. 2003. The impact of public opinion on public policy. A review and an agenda. Political Research Quarterly 56 (1): 29–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Castles, F.G. 2009. What welfare states do. A disaggregated expenditure approach. Journal of Social Policy 38 (1): 45–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Chong, D., and J.N. Druckman. 2007. Framing public opinion in competitive democracies. American Political Science Review 101 (4): 637–655.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. ———. 2010. Dynamic public opinion. Communication effects over time. American Political Science Review 104 (4): 663–680.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dallinger, U. 2010. Public support for redistribution. What explains cross-national differences? Journal of European Social Policy 20 (4): 333–349.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. DelliCarpini, M.X., and S. Keeter. 1993. Measuring political knowledge. Putting first things first. American Journal of Political Science 37 (4): 1179–1206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. ———. 1996. What Americans know about politics and why it matters. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Druckman, J.N., J. Fein, and T.J. Leeper. 2012. A source of bias in public opinion stability. American Political Science Review 106 (2): 430–454.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Druckman, J.N., and K.R. Nelson. 2003. Framing and deliberation. How citizens’ conversations limit elite influence. American Journal of Political Science 47 (4): 729–745.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Druckman, J.N., E. Peterson, and R. Slothuus. 2013. How elite partisan polarization affects public opinion formation. American Political Science Review 107 (1): 57–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Ebbinghaus, B., ed. 2011. Varieties of pension governance. The privatization of pensions in Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Erikson, R.S., M.B. Mackuen, and J.A. Stimson. 2002. The macro polity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Fernandez, J.J., and A.M. Jaime-Castillo. 2013. Positive or negative policy feedbacks? Explaining popular attitudes towards pragmatic pension policy reforms. European Sociological Review 29 (4): 803–815.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Gaines, B.J., J.H. Kuklinski, and P.J. Quirk. 2007. The logic of the survey experiment reexamined. Political Analysis 15 (1): 1–20.Google Scholar
  24. Giger, N. 2011. The risk of social policy? The electoral consequences of welfare state retrenchment and social policy performance in OECD countries. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  25. Goul-Andersen, J., P.A. Pettersen, S. Svallfors, and H. Uusitalo. 1999. The legitimacy of the nordic welfare states. In Nordic social policy: Changing welfare states, ed. M. Kautto, M. Heikkila, B. Hvinden, S. Marklund, and N. Ploug. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  26. Häusermann, S. 2010. The politics of welfare state reform in continental Europe. Modernization in hard times. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Hinrichs, K. 2005. New century-new paradigm. Pension reforms in Germany. In Ageing and pension reform around the world, ed. G. Bonoli and T. Shinkawa. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  28. Hofäcker, D. 2015. In line or at odds with active ageing policies? Exploring patterns of retirement preferences in Europe. Ageing and Society 35 (7): 1529–1556.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Huber, E., and J.D. Stephens. 2001. Development and crisis of the welfare state. Parties and policies in global markets. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Jaime-Castillo, A.M. 2013. Public opinion and the reform of the pension system in Europe. The influence of solidarity principles. Journal of European Social Policy 23 (4): 390–405.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Jeene, M., and W. van Oorschot. 2014. The dynamics of welfare opinions in changing economic, institutional and political contexts. An empirical analysis of Dutch deservingness opinions, 1975–2006. Social Indicators Research 115 (2): 731–749.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kahneman, D., and A. Tversky. 1979. Prospect theory—Analysis of decision under risk. Econometrica 47 (2): 263–291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kam, C.D. 2005. Who toes the party line? Cues, values, and individual differences. Political Behavior 27 (2): 163–182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kinder, D.R., and D.R. Kiewiet. 1981. Sociotropic politics. The American case. British Journal of Political Science 11 (2): 129–161.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Krosnick, J.A. 1990. Lessons learned—A review and integration of our findings. Social Cognition 8 (1): 154–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Kumlin, S. 2007. The welfare state. Values, policy preferences, and performance evaluations. In Oxford handbook of political behavior, ed. R. Dalton and H.-D. Klingenmann. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Larsen, C.A. 2006. The institutional logic of welfare attitudes: How welfare regimes influence public support. Hampshire: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  38. Lau, R.R., and D.P. Redlawsk. 2001. Advantages and disadvantages of cognitive heuristics in political decision making. American Journal of Political Science 45 (4): 951–971.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Leeper, T.J., and R. Slothuus. 2014. Political parties, motivated reasoning, and public opinion formation. Political Psychology 35 (1): 129–156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Lodge, M., and C. Taber. 2000. Three steps toward a theory of motivated political reasoning. In Elements of reason: Cognition, choice, and the bounds of rationality, ed. A. Lupia, M. McCubbins, and S. Popkin. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  41. Long, J.S., and J. Freese. 2006. Regression models for categorical dependent variables using Stata. College Station, TX: Stata Press.Google Scholar
  42. Luskin, R.C., J.S. Fishkin, and R. Jowell. 2002. Considered opinions. Deliberative polling in Britain. British Journal of Political Science 32: 455–487.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Mettler, S., and J. Soss. 2004. The consequences of public policy for democratic citizenship. Bridging policy studies and mass politics. Perspectives on Politics 2 (1): 55–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Mutz, D. 2011. Population-based survey experiments. Princeton: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Naumann, E. 2014. Raising the retirement age. Retrenchment, feedback and attitudes. In How welfare states shape the democratic public. Policy feedback, participation, voting, and attitudes, ed. S. Kumlin and I. Stadelmann-Steffen. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing.Google Scholar
  46. Page, B.I., and R.Y. Shapiro. 1983. Effects of public-opinion on policy. American Political Science Review 77 (1): 175–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Pierson, P. 1996. The new politics of the welfare state. World Politics 48 (2): 143–179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. ———., ed. 2001. The new politics of the welfare state. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  49. Prinzen, K. 2014. Intergenerational ambivalence. New perspectives on intergenerational relationships in the german welfare state. Ageing and Society 34 (3): 428–451.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Raven, J., P. Achterberg, R. van der Veen, and M. Yerkes. 2011. An institutional embeddedness of welfare opinions? The link between public opinion and social policy in the Netherlands (1970–2004). Journal of Social Policy 40 (2): 1–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Redlawsk, D.P. 2002. Hot cognition or cool consideration? Testing the effects of motivated reasoning on political decision making. Journal of Politics 64 (4): 1021–1044.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Schmidt, V.A. 2010. Taking ideas and discourse seriously. Explaining change through discursive institutionalism as the fourth ‘new institutionalism’. European Political Science Review 2 (1): 1–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Sihvo, T., and H. Uusitalo. 1995. Economic crises and support for the welfare state in Finland 1975–1993. Acta Sociologica 38 (3): 251–262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Soroka, S.N., and C. Wlezien. 2009. Degrees of democracy. Politics, public opinion, and policy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Svallfors, S. 2010. Policy feedback, generational replacement, and attitudes to state intervention. Eastern and Western Germany, 1990–2006. European Political Science Review 2 (1): 119–135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Taylor-Gooby, P. 2001. Sustaining state welfare in hard times. Who will foot the bill? Journal of European Social Policy 11 (2): 133–147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. van Dalen, H., and K. Henkens. 2005. The double standard in attitudes toward retirement—The case of the Netherlands. The Geneva Papers 30: 693–710.Google Scholar
  58. van Oorschot, W., and B. Meuleman. 2014. Popular deservingness of the unemployed in the context of welfare state policies, economic conditions and cultural climate. In How welfare states shape the democratic public, ed. S. Kumlin and I. Stadelmann-Steffen. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing.Google Scholar
  59. van Oorschot, W., T. Reeskens, and B. Meuleman. 2012. Popular perceptions of welfare state consequences. A multilevel, cross-national analysis of 25 european countries. Journal of European Social Policy 22 (2): 181–197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. WHO. 2002. Active ageing: A policy framework. Geneva: WHO.Google Scholar
  61. Zaller, J. 1990. Political awareness, elite opinion leadership, and the mass survey response. Social Cognition 8 (1): 125–153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Zaller, J.R. 1992. The nature and origins of mass opinion. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elias Naumann
    • 1
  1. 1.SFB 884 “Political Economy of Reforms”University of MannheimMannheimGermany

Personalised recommendations