Elias Naumann
Support for the welfare state over the life course: analysing individual attitude change with multiwave panel data

Pp. 161-180 in: Femke Roosma, Tijs Laenen (Eds.): A Research Agenda for Public Attitudes to Welfare. 2023. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar

Do people adapt attitudes in reaction to changing life circumstances or are attitudes stable and unlikely to change? This chapter summarizes the main theoretical approaches on welfare state attitudes and links them to recent empirical analyses of individual level panel data. An exemplary application to a German panel study focusing on the effect of job loss on attitudes showcases the potential of analysing multiwave panel data and provides methodological guidance on how to analyse such data. In contrast to most of the published previous studies, I do not find evidence that job loss affects support for the welfare state, neither instantaneously in the year of job loss, nor in the three years after the job loss occurred. The chapter concludes by discussing what potential the examination of other life course events like marriage, having children or retiring has for the future agenda of welfare state attitudes research.