When do voters prefer credit-funded social policies over tax-financed welfare?
Some countries fund education publicly, offer generous social insurance systems, or provide public housing, in others higher education is privately funded, social insurance is limited, housing is largely market-driven. Yet we know little about voters’ preferences over credit-financed welfare policies and, hence, if households are forced into private indebtedness or if some voters actually prefer credit over publicly-funded welfare.
We aim to fill this gap by conducting a vignette experiment in two countries, Germany and the US, that presents participants with different frames of credit-funded welfare, namely an ideology frame as well as a public-finances frame of bank credit. While the former emphasizes the role of credit in opening up new opportunities for consumers, the latter stresses that credit-funded social policies help governments reduce public spending. The vignettes are followed by a battery of questions on participants’ welfare preferences. The survey experiment provides insight into when voters accept bank credit as a substitute to the welfare state and how this differs across two countries that differ in their welfare regimes and reach of credit markets.
The colloquia are organised by the Centre for Experimental Social Sciences.