Public attitudes to welfare, climate change and energy in the EU and Russia



Anette Scoppetta


Orsolya Lelkes


GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences (Germany)


Institute for Comparative Social Research Ltd. (Russia)

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium)

Institut für Höhere Studien (Austria)

University of Tampere (Finland)

Swiss Centre of Expertise in the Social Sciences (Switzerland)

Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques (France)

Cardiff University (United Kingdom)


The goal of the PAWCER project was to conduct comparative research on public attitudes to welfare, climate change and energy, all of which are relevant to understanding conflict, identity, and memory. While economic challenges threaten the fundamental relations of solidarity in European welfare states, climate change is likely to become the leading environmental driver of human conflict, and energy to continue fueling geopolitical tensions.


Cross-national analyses of survey and contextual data were used to examine discrepancies and similarities, as well as diverging and converging trends between public attitudes to these topics, thus unraveling the sources and patterns of mutual understanding and cooperation and of potential conflicts in and between EU countries and Russia. The research was based on the collection of survey data and the analyses of both existing and new data sets. Data were collected through the European Social Survey. The ESS is an academically driven biennial cross-national survey, measuring the attitudes, beliefs and behaviour patterns of diverse populations. It has been awarded European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) status in December 2013. PAWCER allowed Russia to join ESS Round 8, for which fieldwork started in September 2016 and so created a basis for long-term cooperation. PAWCER delivered innovative and relevant knowledge on attitudes towards solidarity and energy issues by:

  1. delivering high quality, comprehensive and cross-culturally comparable data on two important issues for today’s societies in Europe and Russia integrated in a broad survey including other important public attitudes like political trust or basic human values;
  2. building on current state-of-the-art research in the two topics but expanding it to the Russian context;
  3. disclosing similarities and differences between attitudes towards solidarity and energy issues within and between countries in Europe and Russia, thus pointing towards areas of mutual understanding as well as potential conflict using the ESS data.

The European Centre was involved in WP 3 that focuses on “Public Attitudes towards the Welfare State”. The aim was to explore similarities and differences of attitudes and values towards solidarity and welfare states within and between countries in Europe and Russia.

The European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research supports the Sustainable Development Goals

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UN SDG Good Health and Well-Being
UN SDG Decent Work and Economic Growth
UN SDG Reduced Inequalities
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FUNDED BY, RUS Plus Joint Call for S&T Projects, FWF Austrian Science Fund (FWF Der Wissenschaftsfonds)


03/2016 – 09/2018