The Prejudice First Model and Foreign Policy Values: Racial and Religious Bias among Conservatives and Liberals

European Journal of International Relations (forthcoming). Available at https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1354066120930801.

52 Pages Posted: 10 Jul 2019 Last revised: 24 Jun 2020

See all articles by Richard Hanania

Richard Hanania

Columbia University - Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies

Robert Trager

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Date Written: June 24, 2020

Abstract

Scholars of foreign policy preference formation have accepted what Rathbun et al. (2016) call the “vertical hierarchy model,” which says that policy attitudes are determined by more abstract moral ideas about right and wrong. This paper turns this idea on its head by introducing the prejudice first model, arguing that foreign policy preferences and orientations are in part driven by attitudes towards the groups being affected by specific policies. Three experiments are used to test the utility of this framework. First, when conservatives heard about Muslims killing Christians, as opposed to the opposite scenario, they were more likely to support a humanitarian intervention and agree that the United States has a moral obligation to help those persecuted by their governments. Liberals showed no religious preference. When the relevant identity group was race, however, liberals were more likely to want to help blacks persecuted by whites, while conservatives showed no racial bias. In contrast, the degree of persecution mattered relatively little to respondents in either experiment. In another experiment, conservatives adopted more isolationist policies after reading a text about the country becoming more liberal, as opposed to a paragraph that said the United States was a relatively conservative country. The treatment showed the opposite effect on liberals, although the results fell just short of statistical significance. While not necessarily contradicting the vertical hierarchy model, the results indicate that prejudices and biases not only help influence foreign policy attitudes, but moral perceptions of right and wrong in international politics.

Keywords: political psychology; prejudice; foreign policy; international relations; public opinion; racism

Suggested Citation

Hanania, Richard and Trager, Robert, The Prejudice First Model and Foreign Policy Values: Racial and Religious Bias among Conservatives and Liberals (June 24, 2020). European Journal of International Relations (forthcoming). Available at https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1354066120930801., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3415527 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3415527

Richard Hanania (Contact Author)

Columbia University - Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies ( email )

420 West 118th Street
New York, NY 10027
United States

Robert Trager

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

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

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
127
Abstract Views
1,578
rank
248,034
PlumX Metrics