Renzo Carriero Marianna Filandri Francesco Molteni

Religion, welfare regimes and attitudes toward government responsibility for citizens' welfare. A European comparative analysis

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The article aims to investigate the relationship between individual religiosity and attitudes towards government responsibility for citizens' welfare. The rationale for such a relationship stems from the idea that religion and government spending can be intended as substitute mechanisms that may insure individuals against negative life events. We theorized the existence of an additional and opposite mechanism working in certain contexts: complementarity of responsibility. The local solutions provided by Church organizations and State interventions are not always perceived to be in opposition, but they can reinforce each other. In testing the relationship between religiosity and attitudes toward public support, we hypothesized a moderating impact of contextual features: the prevalent religious denomination in a country and the type of welfare state regime. Both may have indeed influence on citizens' opinions about the role of government responsibility because they contribute to shape individual preferences. To address these issues in a multilevel framework, we analyse the integrated European Value Study database for 31 European countries. Our results confirm that the different Christian doctrines, the various types of welfare state regimes, as well as the combinations of the two, shape differently the relationship between religiosity and attitudes toward government responsibility.


  • Religious Practice
  • Welfare State
  • Public Attitudes
  • Role of Government
  • European Values Study


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