Religious and ethnic identities influence on public views of privatization: the case of Israel

Baruch Levi*, Amos Zehavi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Public attitudes regarding privatization are important for both political and normative reasons. Past studies of public opinion on privatization have shown how socio-economic variables and ideology shape public views. In this study, we focus on a relatively under-researched factor: identity as it relates to actor preference formation. We explore attitudes toward different privatization types in a society, in which the main political fault lines are not economic, but identity-based: primarily predicated on ethnic group membership and religiosity. Based on a random sample of 1142 Israeli adults, we find that unlike most other countries, identity variables matter more than Socio-Economic Status (SES) in this type of society despite the fact that privatization is primarily perceived as an economic policy. While high levels of religiosity are associated with support for privatization, membership in an ethnic minority, in contrast, is related to negative attitudes. The contrast between the relatively favourable views of ultra-orthodox Jews to the negative ones of Arabs suggests that identity group attitudes toward neoliberal policies cannot simply be explained by SES. Moreover, not only does identity matter for shaping views on public policy, but also the particular specifics of a given identity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)236-257
Number of pages22
JournalPolicy Studies
Volume44
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2023

Keywords

  • Israel
  • Privatization
  • ethnicity
  • public views
  • religiosity

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