Notes on an Attribution Model of Welfare Preferences

Janky, Béla and Horváth, Ágnes (2012) Notes on an Attribution Model of Welfare Preferences. Working Paper. -. (Unpublished)

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DOI: 10.17203/KDK11


In this short paper, we put forward an argument which connects inequality and ethnicity to welfare attitudes, and is grounded on four major propositions. First, instead of referring to racism, we follow Gilens (1999), van Oorschot (2000) and others by assuming that most voters support public assistance for the „deserving” poor of any color, and the stereotypes on crosscultural variance of deservingness lay the ground for ethnicization of welfare attitudes. Second, the role of stereotypes stem from the middle class voters’ lack of perfect information on the behavioral patterns and intentions of the poor. Third, some indicators of the economic status may serve as information shortcuts on the efforts of welfare beneficiaries: middle-class voters interpret lower status as a noisy signal of lower efforts. Fourth, the degree of uncertainty about a poor person’s proper behavior is, itself, dependent on his economic status: lower status – to some degree –, implies higher level of uncertainty. We argue that the poor are deprived of many opportunities to prove their deservingness. This might contribute to stigmatizing poverty, but also leaves room for prior stereotypes – positive and negative ones alike – to shape judgements on welfare recipients. Thus, we conclude that poverty-related attitudes are prone to become stigmatizing and racialized, but do so only in sufficiently unequal societies.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Keywords: szegénység, etnicitás, szociálpolitika
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Institute for Sociology
Depositing User: Adminisztrátor
Date Deposited: 09 Oct 2013 13:44
Last Modified: 29 Oct 2015 10:17
Related papers or data collections: Janky, Béla (2013) Stereotypes and welfare preferences. [Data Collection]

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