Motivational and Ideological Underpinnings of Welfare Preferences in Eastern and Western Europe


  • Márton Hadarics


In our study we investigated the motivational and ideological correlates of the approval of welfare services in postsocialist Central Eastern and Western Europe. In the centre of our inquiry stood how the motivations of selflessness and conventionality, along with distributional justice principles, are related to our welfare preferences beyond our rational self-interest, furthermore, how these associations depend on social-cultural circumstances. We have found that the motivational background of egalitarian economic and welfare attitudes are substantially different in the two regions. While beside of the rationalisation of self-interest, it seems to be related to selflessness-driven solidarity in Western Europe, pro-welfare and egalitarian distributional views are primarily motivated by conventionality-driven norm adherence in postsocialist countries in the form of the mechanism of postsocialist economic system nostalgia. Our results highlight the benefits of a context-specific ’motivated social cognition’ approach to ideological and political attitudes.