FSD1212 Opinions on Social Policy and Public Services 1993

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attitudes, private sector, public expenditure, public sector, public services, social economy, social policy, social security, social services, social welfare, taxation

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The survey studied Finnish trade union members' attitudes towards the welfare state in a difficult economic situation. The data were collected with the help of two questionnaires, in the second of which statements were manipulated (variables q1, q11, q12, q13, q19, q21, q26). In some statements only one word had been changed, in others a line of thought. The manipulation was based on the theory that selfish goals, social norms which emphasize solidarity and sufficient knowledge of the subject influence people's behaviour. The respondents were asked whether they agreed or disagreed with the statements covering topics such as social security benefits, social policy, taxation, public services, pensions, unemployment benefits, privatizing public services and financing public expenditure.

The respondents were asked how much they themselves had benefited from public sector benefits and services. The survey charted opinions on the likelihood of respondents taking a supplementary pension if statutory pension schemes were cut. Opinions on how to rein in public spending were canvassed: introduce service fees, increase taxation, introduce means-tested benefits, cut services. The respondents were asked which services, social security benefits or parts of social insurance could be cut. Opinions on who should take care of certain services were canvassed; options included the public, private and third sectors, neighbours and relatives. One question surveyed what a sufficient level for different social security benefits would be (as percentage of wages).

Background variables included the respondents' sex, age, type of household, basic and vocational education, occupation, monthly gross income, interest in politics, trade union, activity in trade union and party preference.

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