The two faces of government spending

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Scholars have known for some time that attitudes toward federal spending on welfare are shaped by racial antipathies. Are attitudes toward spending on nonwelfare social programs similarly grounded? This article explores the dimensionality of spending attitudes and the extent to which they are rooted in stereotypical beliefs about blacks. Analysis of data from the 1992, 1996, and 2000 National Election Studies demonstrates that whites' attitudes toward welfare spending and social spending are structured in two-dimensional terms and that stereotypical beliefs about the work ethic of blacks systematically constrain their welfare attitudes and do not affect attitudes toward other social programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)147-157
Number of pages11
JournalPolitical Research Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2008


  • Government spending
  • Racial stereotypes
  • Social welfare attitudes


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