Bootstrapping Young Lads
December 10, 2013 10:34 AM Subscribe
Just two sentences make Americans as pro-welfare as Danes
posted by MisantropicPainforest (29 comments total)
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People’s attitudes to welfare depend on their perceptions of welfare recipients. If they believe that welfare recipients are lazy, they are unlikely to support welfare. If they believe that welfare recipients are making an effort to find work, they are likely to take a different attitude.
Aarøe and Petersen conducted survey experiments in the United States and Denmark to investigate whether stereotypes shaped Danish and European attitudes. They randomly exposed some participants in both countries to canned information suggesting that a welfare recipient was lazy, others to information suggesting that a welfare recipient was motivated to find work, and others to no substantial information about the recipient. They then asked people to evaluate social welfare benefits.
On average, Americans were considerably more likely to associate welfare with laziness than Danes. But what’s interesting is that these stereotypes were largely overwhelmed by the canned information when it was available. When the man on welfare was described in the following terms:
"He has always had a regular job, but has now been the victim of a work-related injury. He is very motivated to get back to work again"
the differences between Americans and Danes disappeared. Both were largely willing to support social welfare measures.
Link to paper: Crowding Out Culture: Scandinavians and Americans Agree on Social Welfare in the Face of Deservingness Cues
of Martin Gilens's book, Why Americans Hate Welfare.
Why do Americans still hate welfare?