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Do Finnish young people support the Nordic welfare state?

Teemu Rantanen (Laurea University of Applied Sciences, Vantaa, Finland)
Thomas Chalmers McLaughlin (Department of Social Work, University of New England, Portland, Maine)
Timo Toikko (Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences, Seinäjoki, Finland)

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy

ISSN: 0144-333X

Article publication date: 9 March 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine young people’s attitudes toward social welfare and their perceptions of who is responsible for providing social welfare benefits.

Design/methodology/approach

Social welfare attitudes were examined related to three themes: government responsibility, trust in society, and individual responsibility. A sample of 725 students from 12 high and vocational schools in south Finland was used for analysis.

Findings

The data suggest that young people have a high regard for the importance of the government’s role as a social support and a mechanism of social welfare for all citizens. In addition, the results show that women highlight government responsibility more than men, and that men highlight the individual’s own responsibility for social issues. According to the results, there is a weak relationship between cultural values and social welfare attitudes. Collective values relate positively to an emphasis on trust in government and government responsibility for social problems, and relate negatively to an emphasis on individuals’ personal responsibility.

Originality/value

The study shows that the main principles of the welfare state are still accepted by the Finnish youth, although recent speculations about the future of welfare states.

Keywords

Citation

Rantanen, T., McLaughlin, T.C. and Toikko, T. (2015), "Do Finnish young people support the Nordic welfare state?", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 35 No. 1/2, pp. 47-66. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSSP-04-2014-0031

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited