Making the Outsiders-Welfare Connection: How the Otherization of Welfare Affects Public Opinion on Social Assistance in the US and UK

Posted: 5 Apr 2010  

Rayna Flye

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Date Written: April 1, 2010

Abstract

This paper addresses the relationship between diversity and public support for welfare, with the question: is support for the welfare state in the US and UK dependent upon who the perceived recipients are? I specifically examine whether negative attitudes towards out-groups (minorities) coupled with the belief that these groups disproportionately and undeservedly receive welfare benefits leads to a decrease in public support for welfare. This is done through the use of ANES and ESS survey data. I further argue that this is a message that citizens are receiving from the media and entrepreneurial politicians. This finding is reinforced by previously conducted content analysis of newspapers and tabloids. I refer to this coupling of welfare with out-groups, or Others, as the Otherization of Welfare. This paper examines not only race, but ethnicity, religion, and citizenship status as well.

Keywords: welfare, race, ethnicity, United States, United Kingdom

Suggested Citation

Flye, Rayna, Making the Outsiders-Welfare Connection: How the Otherization of Welfare Affects Public Opinion on Social Assistance in the US and UK (April 1, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1583201

Rayna Flye (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) ( email )

405 Hilgard Avenue
Box 951361
Los Angeles, CA 90095
United States

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