New Article: Mizrahi et al, Alternative Politics and Attitudes toward the Welfare State

Mizrahi, Shlomo, Fany Yuval, and Nissim Cohen. “Alternative Politics and Attitudes toward the Welfare State: Theory and Empirical Findings from Israel.” Politics & Policy 42.6 (2014): 850-80.





This article introduces and explores two interesting phenomena: the phenomenon of alternative politics and attitudes toward the welfare state. The concept of alternative politics refers to a “do-it-yourself” approach where citizens on their own adopt extra-legal, and often illegal, strategies to improve the services provided by the government. Through a theoretical framework and empirical model, we explore the extent to which attitudes toward alternative politics strategies are influenced by sociodemographic variables and attitudes toward the welfare state. The study utilizes the distinction between normative perceptions (imputed preferences) and induced preferences. We show that short-term activities guided by the motivation of narrow self-interests do not necessarily reflect public attitudes or the values and norms that people hold vis-à-vis the public sphere. This finding may reflect the (mis)interpretation that politicians and decision makers make by concluding that short-term actions are indicative of long-term attitudes.