What explains divergent levels of support for welfare spending in a non-Western authoritarian state? Can self-interest and ideology, two major theoretical frameworks from cross-national research, explain attitudinal patterns in China? Using data collected from an original survey in two provinces in 2017, we examined urban Chinese attitudes toward welfare spending. We focused on three social policy domains with distinctive characteristics: education, healthcare, and poverty alleviation. All domains received fairly high levels of support for increased spending from our sample. Our regression models suggest that self-interest and ideology are both associated with welfare attitudes in urban China, but self-interest variables operate in unexpected ways, reflecting the distinctive socio-economic and cultural context in which welfare attitudes are formed. This study concludes with broad policy implications for social policy reform in China. Copyright © 2020 Informa UK Limited.
CitationHe, A. J., Qian, J., & Ratigan, K. (2020). Attitudes toward welfare spending in urban China: Evidence from a survey in two provinces and social policy implications. Journal of Chinese Governance. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/23812346.2019.1709324
- Welfare attitudes
- Social spending
- Urban China