Explaining welfare attitudes: general moral principles, issue framing and survey design

Project website

The research aims to investigate certain determinants of opinions about welfare provision. We focus on revealed attitudes measured in questionnaire surveys. We suggest that one should not explain opinions only by referring to self-interest and some minor idiosyncratic factors. We suppose that certain moral considerations also play a role in shaping attitudes. Furthermore, we suppose that revealed attitudes also are shaped by public discourse and survey design which frame the moral dilemmas respondents face.

Our aim is to understand the effects of moral principles, public discourse and questionnaire design on judging deservingess of welfare beneficiaries. We are particularly interested in the interactions between those effects. The major contributions of the project are related to the investigations of those interactions.

We intend to carry out survey-experiments in which the presentations of certain welfare issues vary across randomly selected sub-groups of respondents.  This makes the testing of causal effects of issue-framing possible. However, theoretical discussions, including constructive critiques of our empirical strategies are important parts of our project.

The research program adresses methodological and social policy questions at the same time. We would like to show that the dilemmas of survey-methodology and discourse on social policy are closely intertwined in this field of research.

Project leader: Béla Janky

Project team:

Bognár, Adrienn
Bognár, Bulcsú
Gulyás, Attila
Kmetty, Zoltán
Koltai, Júlia
Lakatos, Zoltán
Rajkó, Andrea
Ságvári, Bence
Szakadát, István