Svallfors, Stefan | 2011
Social Policy & Administration issn 0144–5596. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9515.2011.00796.x. Vol. 45, No. 7, December 2011, pp. 806–825
This article reports findings about Swedes’ attitudes towards the welfare state from 1981 to 2010, building on data from the Swedish Welfare State Surveys. Attitudes towards social spending, willingness to pay taxes, attitudes towards collective financing and public organization, suspicion about welfare abuse, and trust in the task performance of the welfare state are tracked. Overall, there is a large degree of stability in attitudes, and where change is registered, it tends to go in the direction of increasing support. More people state their willingness to pay higher taxes for welfare policy purposes; more people want collective financing of welfare policies; and fewer people perceive extensive welfare abuse in 2010 than was the case in previous surveys. Class patterns change so that the salaried and the self-employed become more similar to workers in their attitudes. Hence, the unprecedented election loss of the Swedish Social Democrats in 2010, and the rise of the Moderates (conservatives) as the dominant party cannot be explained by changing attitudes towards the welfare state. Nor can any corrosive effects from increased marketization of the Swedish welfare state on public support for welfare policies be detected.