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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Belief in a Just World and Attitudes Toward Affirmative Action

By Vicky M. Wilkins and Jeffrey B. Wenger
Policy Studies Journal
Volume 42, Issue 3, pages 325–343, August 2014

The effect of identity, as socially constructed by race and gender, on social policies has been widely examined in policy analysis. Policy analysis would be improved by a wider discussion that includes the influence of social-psychological constructs on social provision. We fill this gap by drawing on the theory of the “belief in a just world” and link this theory to attitudes toward the support of controversial government programs. We argue that this theory is a critical antecedent to the previous research on social construction. We hypothesize that citizens who perceive that the world is just and that opportunities are equal between groups are much less likely to favor government interventions altering market outcomes. We find that after controlling for race, sex, and political ideology, respondents who believe that luck is the primary determinant of success (low belief in a just world) are more supportive of preferential hiring programs for African Americans and women.

The article is here.