Beyond Performance: Racial Resentment and Whites’ Negativity Toward Government

27 Pages Posted: 7 May 2020

See all articles by Alexandra Filindra

Alexandra Filindra

University of Illinois at Chicago

Noah Kaplan


Date Written: April 13, 2020


We argue that since the 1960s, with increased descriptive representation in elected positions and in key administrative posts, government has become racialized. As a result, white racial conservatives are more likely to be less trusting and feel more threatened by government. The link between racial attitudes and beliefs about government suggests that the decline in public trust may not be simply a response to performance but rather a result of in-congruence in values between white racial conservatives and public institutions. Furthermore, the racialization of government constitutes a path for racial “spillover” in nonracial policy domains. Using a priming experiment and the 1988-2016 ANES we demonstrate a strong negative relationship between racial resentment and various measures of support for government. We also show that racial resentment has indirect effects on several nonracial and racialized policy domains through its effect on government attitudes.

Keywords: political trust, racial resentment, democracy

Suggested Citation

Filindra, Alexandra and Kaplan, Noah J., Beyond Performance: Racial Resentment and Whites’ Negativity Toward Government (April 13, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Alexandra Filindra (Contact Author)

University of Illinois at Chicago ( email )

1102 Behavioral Science Building (BSB)
Chicago, IL 60607-7137
United States

Noah J. Kaplan

Independent ( email )

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