John Wesley Powell Research Conference

POLITICAL CULTURE AND CHILD POVERTY

AN EXAMINATION OF WESTERN AND POST-COMMUNIST EUROPEAN STATES

Paul Finch and Kathleen Montgomery*

Department of Political Science, Illinois Wesleyan University

Although the European Union consists of advanced economies and has committed itself to the eradication of child poverty, variation in welfare policies as well as child poverty outcomes exists across Europe. The variation in child poverty and welfare regimes in the EU is about to increase with the entry of new members in the coming weeks. This presentation will examine political culture in relation to child poverty outcomes in Western European and post-communist Central and Eastern European (CEE) states. Research has shown that egalitarian attitudes towards redistribution are linked with lower rates of poverty. In addition to egalitarianism, this paper examines the relationship between gender roles and child poverty. The findings of this study indicate that support for feminist gender roles and an egalitarian distribution of wealth are related to lower child poverty outcomes. The situation in Eastern Europe, however, is complicated by a communist past that has left behind a political culture of egalitarian ideals of redistribution combined with a backlash of traditional values regarding gender roles.