Social policy, public investment or the environment? Exploring variation in individual-level preferences on long-term policies


This article studies individual-level attitudes towards long-term investment policies using novel survey data for the case of Germany. Building on a budding literature on the relationship between environmental and social policy attitudes, our first contribution to research is to show that citizens, when prompted to think about their support for long-term investment policies, support welfare state related policies such as investments in education and pensions to a greater degree than non-welfare state issues such as public infrastructure investment or renewable energy. Citizens are most supportive of using present-day redistributive policies – in our case increasing income taxes on the rich – in order to finance long-term investment. We also find evidence that political trust is positively associated with support for long-term investment policies, but in particular investments in education and renewables. Furthermore, our analysis reveals the importance of individual political ideology. These findings have implications for public demand for tackling the long-term issues faced by society today.

Journal of European Social Policy
Liam F. Beiser-McGrath
Liam F. Beiser-McGrath
Assistant Professor in International Social and Public Policy