ATTITUDES TOWARDS THE SCOPE OF GOVERNMENT: DO WE HAVE A GENERATION GAP?
Today an impact of government on citizens’ daily life is bigger than ever before. The extent to which people support governmental actions is related with their support of the whole political system. The scope of government varies across different states as well as people’s attitudes towards it also vary considerably.
The scope of government, according O. Borre and E. Scarbrough (1998), is referred to both the range of government activity and the degree to which governments engage in activities, such as spending on services, taxing, regulating citizens and regulating their behaviour, providing resources for defence, improving the environment and sometimes doing nothing what concerns societal problems. Depending on the role of government in economy and social sphere we can distinguish how small or big the government is.
The ISSP Role of Government module data provides a wide range of variables indicating people’s attitudes towards different elements of governments’ actions. Recent research, e. g. a study of Pew Research – The Generation Gap in American Politics (March, 2018) – shows the important difference in generational attitudes towards the scope of government. According to this study two younger USA generations, Millennials and Gen Xers, stand apart from the two older cohorts, Baby Boomers and Silents – especially Millennials (those, who were born in 1981 and later) have increasingly liberal outlook. Thus, the main question of this article - does the same generational divide might be observed in other countries and what are the main differences in generational attitudes towards the scope of government from the cross-national perspective?