Fifty shades of deservingness: an analysis of state-level variation and effect of social constructions on policy outcomes

Rebecca J. Kreitzer, Elizabeth A. Maltby, Candis Watts Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

A patchwork of policies exists across the United States. While citizens' policy preferences in domains such as the criminal legal system, gun regulations/rights, immigration, and welfare are informed by their political predispositions, they are also shaped by the extent to which policy targets are viewed as deserving. This article centres the idea that collective evaluations matter in policymaking, and it ascertains whether subnational levels of deservingness evaluations of several target groups differ across space to illuminate the link between these judgements and state policy design. We leverage original survey data and multilevel regression and poststratification to create state-level estimates of deservingness evaluations. The analyses elucidate the heterogeneity in state-level deservingness evaluations of several politically relevant groups, and they pinpoint a link between these social reputations and policy design. The article also delivers a useful methodological tool and measures for scholars of state policy design to employ in future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)436-464
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Public Policy
Volume42
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 28 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Administration
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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