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7 - Attitudes toward redistributive social policies: the effects of social comparisons and policy experience

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 October 2009

Donna M. Garcia
Department of Psychology University of Kansas USA
Nyla R. Branscombe
Department of Psychology University of Kansas USA
Serge Desmarais
Department of Psychology University of Guelph Canada
Stephanie S. Gee
University of Windsor Windsor Canada
Serge Guimond
Université de Clermont-Ferrand II (Université Blaise Pascal), France
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An extensive body of research has examined the factors that shape attitudes toward employment-based redistributive policies such as affirmative action and comparable worth. Empirical work has focused particularly on individualistic predictors of opposition toward these policies, including prejudice or justice beliefs (Bobocel, Son Hing, Davies, Stanley, and Zanna, 1998; Sears, Henry, and Kosterman, 2000). Although some research has considered whether policy support varies as a function of the type of affirmative action program – preferential treatment versus equal opportunity (Bobocel et al., 1998) – little research has assessed how features of employment settings themselves might affect attitudes toward redistributive policies and ideological beliefs. Aspects of the work setting are likely to shape people's beliefs about inequality and group-based policies by cueing different self-categorizations and comparison standards that people draw on when they evaluate their employment outcomes (Tajfel and Turner, 1986; Turner, Hogg, Oakes, Reicher, and Wetherell, 1987). In this chapter, we argue that the presence or absence of gender-based redistributive policies in employment settings convey different identity and comparison information, which then affects people's responses to gender differences in employment outcomes and whether they support or oppose policies that alter these outcomes. We expect that women and men who have conscious experience with redistributive policies will respond differently to these policies and related ideological beliefs than will those who do not have this experience.

Social Comparison and Social Psychology
Understanding Cognition, Intergroup Relations, and Culture
, pp. 151 - 173
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2005

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