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Religion and Preferences for Redistributive Policies in an East Asian Country
Poverty & Public Policy (2010)
  • Wen-Chun Chang

This paper investigates the role of religion in shaping people’s preferences for redistributive policies in an East Asian country, where traditional values mostly stem from the beliefs of Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism that influence people’s perceptions about the principles of social justice. Using data from Taiwan Social Change Survey of 2006, the findings from this study provide supportive evidence for the arguments of previous literature and offer some further distinct results. In particular, under the social and cultural context of an East Asian country, the linkages between religious affiliation and frequency of religious attendance and preferences for redistributive policies are different from what have been found in studies of Western Christian societies. Being Protestant leads to a more favorable attitude toward several social insurance and welfare programs in Taiwan, while Buddhists and Taoists tend to be more supportive of a government’s role in providing health care and believers of folk religions are more favorable for the provision of financial help to students from low-income families. By contrast, the frequency of religious attendance displays some negative relationships with preferences for redistributive policies. As an important part of traditional cultures, religion is influential to the cultivation and indoctrination of people’s beliefs about fairness, social justice, and the legitimization of redistributive policies.

  • redistribution,
  • religion,
  • welfare policies
Publication Date
November 24, 2010
Citation Information
Wen-Chun Chang. "Religion and Preferences for Redistributive Policies in an East Asian Country" Poverty & Public Policy Vol. 2 Iss. 4 (2010)
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