Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Empowering the People: Public Responses to Welfare Policy Change

an article by Anna Bendz (University of Gothenburg, Sweden) published in Social Policy & Administration: an international journal of policy and practice Volume 51 Issue 1 (January 2017)


How and when does welfare policy contribute to shape public opinion?

This article departs from the policy feedback research tradition and seeks to contribute to the understanding of how policy influences public opinion (public responsiveness). The argument here suggests that personal experiences in terms of empowerment condition the dynamics between policy and opinion.

The empirical case concerns the implementation of a consumer's choice model in Swedish primary health care, which resulted an intended increase in private health care centres. In this case, empowerment is assumed to be enhanced by increased exit options and freedom of choice. The specific question in the analysis is whether citizens who have empowering experiences, as a consequence of the reform, are more likely to be positive towards further privatization of welfare services.

The results show few effects in general, but there seems to be a correlation between the experience of exiting and more positive attitudes towards privatization.

Full text (PDF 19pp)

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