Members in the Media
From: The Huffington Post

Wealth, Welfare and the Brother-in-Law Rule

The Huffington Post:

One of the enigmas of the American political landscape is the impoverished Republican. This is the American with very little money, and many unmet needs, who nevertheless votes for people and policies that will deny him or her assistance. Indeed, many of the reddest states in the nation — those whose elected leaders want to gut the state’s welfare programs — are among the largest beneficiaries of government aid.

This makes no sense. With economic inequality at a historic high, why would so many Americans want to cut spending on social services targeted specifically for them? Are these Republicans such ideological purists — so opposed to wealth redistribution on principle — that they are willing to sacrifice their own self-interest?

These results, reported in a forthcoming issue of the journal Psychological Science, are the first experimental evidence that fluctuations in perceived status can actually change attitudes about wealth redistribution. Importantly, these subjects may have believed that conservative policies were serving their self-interest, but in fact they were not better off than those with liberal policy preferences. The scientists ran another version of this study, using an economic game to manipulate perceived status, and got similar results: Those who believed they had out-performed most of the others recommended rule changes that would let the wealthy keep their money. What’s more, the economic “winners” saw liberal policy advocates as economic losers who are biased by self-interest.

Read the whole story: The Huffington Post

Wray Herbert is an author and award-winning journalist who writes two popular blogs for APSWe’re Only Human and Full Frontal Psychology. Follow Wray on Twitter @wrayherbert.


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