Moral Foundations of Welfare Attitudes: The Role of Moral Intuition and Reasoning in Pursuing Social Justice

Open access

Abstract

The article interconnects the research on welfare attitudes and welfare chauvinism with moral psychology in order to develop an interdisciplinary analytical approach designed for studying attitudes to welfare policies and potentially overcoming the divisions prevalent in many European democracies. It introduces Moral Foundations Theory (MFT) - an empirical approach to analysing intuitions, reasoning, and emotions constituting moral judgment - and outlines its understanding of competing versions of fairness and distributive justice. The potential contributions of MFT are exemplified on a case study situated in contemporary Slovakia which deals with two conflicting conceptions of fairness, as equity and as equality, embodied in the diverging attitudes towards an amendment to the Act on the Assistance in Material Need (2013). The article argues that MFT and related research programmes are irreplaceable components in an interdisciplinary study of the plurality of welfare policy attitudes. It also highlights the transformative potential of MFT and related research programmes in devising interventions aimed at changing (political) attitudes to welfare and reducing their polarisation.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Arts W. & Gelissen J. (2001). Welfare States Solidarity and Justice Principles: Does the Type Really Matter? Acta Sociologica 44(4) 283-299. doi:10.1080/00016990152696385

  • Bloom P. (2013). Just Babies: The Origins of Good and Evil. New York: Crown Publishers.

  • Bocian K. & Wojciszke B. (2014). Self-Interest Bias in Moral Judgments of Others’ Actions. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 40(7) 898-909. doi:10.1177/0146167214529800

  • Bommes M. & Geddes A. (2000). Immigration and Welfare: Challenging the Borders of the Welfare State. London: Routledge.

  • Brady D. & Finnigan R. (2014). Does Immigration Undermine Public Support for Social Policy? American Sociological Review 79(1) 17-42. doi:10.1177/0003122413513022

  • Brooks C. & Manza J. (2007). Why Welfare States Persist: The Importance of Public Opinion in Democracies. Chicago: University Of Chicago Press.

  • Day M. Fiske S. Downing E. & Trail T. (2014). Shifting Liberal and Conservative Attitudes Using Moral Foundations Theory. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 40(12) 1559-1573. doi:10.1177/0146167214551152

  • Ditto P. & Koleva S. (2011). Moral Empathy Gaps and the American Culture War. Emotion Review 3(3) 331-332. doi:10.1177/1754073911402393

  • Dráľ P. (2009). Lenivosť ako ‘esencia’ rómskej etnickej identity: kritická analýza diskurzu slovenskej sociálnej politiky. In P. Dráľ & A. Findor (Eds.) Ako skúmať národ: deväť štúdií o etnicite a nacionalizme (pp. 189-224). Brno: Tribun EU.

  • Edlund J. (1999). Trust in Government and Welfare Regimes: Attitudes to Redistribution and Financial Cheating in the USA and Norway.European Journal of Political Research 35(3) 341-370. doi:10.1111/1475-6765.00452

  • Ervasti H. (2012). Who Hates the Welfare State? Criticism of the Welfare State in Europe. In H. Ervasti J. Goul Andersen & T. Fridberg‚The Future of the Welfare State: Social Policy Attitudes and Social Capital in Europe (pp. 231-248). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd.

  • Feinberg M. & Willer R. (2012). The Moral Roots of Environmental Attitudes. Psychological Science 24(1) 56-62. doi:10.1177/0956797612449177

  • Fernbach P. Rogers Fox C. & Sloman S. (2013). Political Extremism Is Supported by an Illusion of Understanding. Psychological Science‚24(6) 939-946. doi:10.1177/0956797612464058

  • Findor A. Maďarová Z. & Ostertágová A. (2014). Dotazník morálnych základov: adaptácia a využitie v kontexte Slovenskej republiky. In L. Bomba E. Kövérová & M. Smrek (Eds.) Fenomén moci a sociálne nerovnosti. Zborník príspevkov z nultého ročníka konferencie doktorandov a mladých vedeckých pracovníkov (pp. 55-80). Bratislava: Univerzita Komenského. Retrieved from https://mocnerovnosti.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/fenomen_moci_a_socialne_nerovnosti_0.pdf

  • Findor A. Maďarová Z. & Ostertágová A. (2015). Morálne základy sporu o sociálnu spravodlivosť na Slovensku. In T. Podolinská & T. Hrustič (Eds.) Rómovia v majoritnej spoločnosti (pp. 46-64). Bratislava: Veda. (in press)

  • Frey R. & Morris C. (1993). Value Welfare and Morality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Graham J. Haidt J. Koleva S. Motyl M. Iyer R. Wojcik S. P. & Ditto P. H. (2013). Moral Foundations Theory: The Pragmatic Validity of Moral Pluralism. In P. Devine (Ed.) P. Devine & A. Plant Advances in Experimental Social Psychology: Volume 47 (Vol. 47 pp. 55-130). New York: Academic Press Inc.

  • Graham J. Iyer R. & Meindl P. (2013). The Psychology of Economic Ideology: Emotion Motivation and Moral Intuition. Demos 1-16. Retrieved from http://www.demos.org/sites/default/files/publications/Graham.pdf

  • Graham J. Nosek B. A. Haidt J. Iyer R. Koleva S. & Ditto P. H. (2011). Mapping the Moral Domain. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 101(2) 366-385. doi:10.1037/a0021847

  • Graham J. Nosek B. & Haidt J. (2012). The Moral Stereotypes of Liberals and Conservatives: Exaggeration of Differences across the Political Spectrum. PLoS ONE 7(12). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0050092

  • Greene J. (2013). Moral Tribes. New York: Penguin Press.

  • Greve B. (2008). What is Welfare? Central European Journal of Public Policy 2(1) 50-73.

  • Haidt J. (2005). The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom. New York: Basic Books.

  • Haidt J. (2012). The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion. New York: Random House Inc.

  • Haidt J. (2013a). Moral Psychology for the Twenty-First Century.Journal of Moral Education 42(3) 281-297. doi:10.1080/03057240.2013.817327

  • Haidt J. (2013b). Of Freedom and Fairness. Democracy: A Journal of Ideas (28) 38-50. Retrieved from http://www.democracyjournal.org/28/of-freedom-and-fairness.php?page=all

  • Haidt J. Graham J. & Joseph C. (2009). Above and Below Left-Right: Ideological Narratives and Moral Foundations. Psychological Inquiry 20(2-3) 110-119. doi:10.1080/10478400903028573

  • Haidt J. & Joseph C. (2004). Intuitive Ethics: How Innately Prepared Intuitions Generate Culturally Variable Virtues. Daedalus 133(4) 55-66. doi:10.1162/0011526042365555

  • Iyer R. Koleva S. Graham J. Ditto P. & Haidt J. (2012). Understanding Libertarian Morality: The Psychological Dispositions of Self-Identified Libertarians. PLoS ONE 7(8). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0042366

  • Jo N. (2011). Between the Cultural Foundations of Welfare and Welfare Attitudes: The Possibility of an In-Between Level Conception of Culture for the Cultural Analysis of Welfare. Journal of European Social Policy 21(1) 5-19. doi:10.1177/0958928710385736

  • Kahneman D. (2011). Thinking Fast and Slow. New York: Farrar Straus & Giroux.

  • Koleva S. Graham J. Iyer R. Ditto P. & Haidt J. (2012). Tracing the Threads: How Five Moral Concerns (Especially Purity) Help Explain Culture War Attitudes. Journal of Research in Personality 46(2) 184-194. doi:10.1016/j.jrp.2012.01.006

  • Leon F. (2012). Reciprocity and Public Support for the Redistributive Role of the State. Journal of European Social Policy 22(2) 198-215. doi:10.1177/0958928711433657

  • Mau S. (2003). The Moral Economy of Welfare States: Britain and Germany Compared. London: Taylor & Francis Inc.

  • Milan Šimečka Foundation (2014). Ako na chudobu: prieskum verejnej mienky na Slovensku o vnímaní chudoby. Retrieved from: http://www.milansimecka.sk/akonachudobu/pdf/prieskum-verejnej-mienky.pdf

  • Petersen M. B. Sznycer D. Cosmides L. & Tooby J. (2012). Who Deserves Help? Evolutionary Psychology Social Emotions and Public Opinion about Welfare. Political Psychology 33(3) 395-418. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9221.2012.00883.x Rawls J. (1971). A Theory of Justice. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press.

  • Reeskens T. & van Oorschot W. (2012). Disentangling the ‘New Liberal Dilemma’: On the Relation between General Welfare Redistribution Preferences and Welfare Chauvinism. International Journal of Comparative Sociology 53(2) 120-139. doi:10.1177/0020715212451987

  • Roosma F. van Oorschot W. & Gelissen J. (2014). The Weakest Link in Welfare State Legitimacy: European Perceptions of Moral and Administrative Failure in the Targeting of Social Benefits. International Journal of Comparative Sociology 55(6) 489-508. doi:10.1177/0020715214565932

  • Sauer H. (2012). Educated Intuitions. Automaticity and Rationality in Moral Judgement. Philosophical Explorations 15(3) 255-275. doi:10.1080/13869795.2012.706822

  • Scheepers P. Gijsberts M. & Coenders M. (2002). Ethnic Exclusionism in European Countries. Public Opposition to Civil Rights for Legal Migrants as a Response to Perceived Ethnic Threat.European Sociological Review 18(1) 17-34. doi:10.1093/ esr/18.1.17

  • Schmidt A. & Spies D. (2014). Do Parties ‘Playing the Race Card’ Undermine Natives’ Support for Redistribution? Evidence From Europe. Comparative Political Studies 47(4) 519-549. doi:10.1177/0010414013488542

  • Schumacher G. & van Kersbergen K. (2014). Do Mainstream Parties Adapt to the Welfare Chauvinism of Populist Parties? Party Politics 1-13. doi:10.1177/1354068814549345

  • Shafir E. (Ed.). (2013). The Behavioral Foundations of Public Policy. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

  • Shionoya Y. (2005). Economy and Morality: The Philosophy of the Welfare State. London: Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd.

  • Sinnott-Armstrong W. (2008). Moral Psychology: The Cognitive Science of Morality: Intuition and Diversity: Volume 2. Cambridge MA: Bradford Books.

  • Stegmueller D. Scheepers P. Rossteutscher S. & de Jong E. (2011). Support for Redistribution in Western Europe: Assessing the role of religion. European Sociological Review 28(4) 482-497. doi:10.1093/esr/jcr011

  • Stewart M. (Ed.). (2012). The Gypsy ‘Menace’: Populism and the New Anti-Gypsy Politics. London: Hurst & Company.

  • Svallfors S. (Ed.). (2012). Contested Welfare States: Welfare Attitudes in Europe and Beyond. Stanford CA: Stanford University Press.

  • Tolman C. W. Cherry F. van Hezewijk R. & Lubek I. (Eds.). (1996). Problems of Theoretical Psychology. Concord ON: Captus Press.

  • Van der Waal J. de Koster W. & van Oorschot W. (2013). Three Worlds of Welfare Chauvinism? How Welfare Regimes Affect Support for Distributing Welfare to Immigrants in Europe. Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis: Research and Practice 15(2) 164-181. doi:10.1080/13876988.2013.785147

  • Van Oorschot W. (2006). Making the Difference in Social Europe: Deservingness Perceptions among Citizens of European Welfare States. Journal of European Social Policy 16(1) 23-42. doi:10.1177/0958928706059829

  • Wilson T. D. (2011). Redirect: The Surprising New Science of Psychological Change. New York: Little Brown and Company.

Search
Journal information
Impact Factor


CiteScore 2018: 0.50

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.156
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.430

Metrics
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 408 313 9
PDF Downloads 226 184 3