New Paper: Economic Insecurity and Citizens’ Attitudes Toward Government

A new paper, “Insecure American: Economic Experiences, Financial Worries, and Policy Attitudes,” by Jacob Hacker (co-authored with Philipp Rehm, Ohio State University and Mark Schlesinger, Yale University) appears in the March issue of the journal Perspective on Politics.

Using original survey data, the authors examine how insecurity shapes citizens’ policy attitudes and political behavior, concluding that “economic insecurity systematically and substantially affects citizens’ attitudes toward government’s role. Citizens’ economic worries largely track exposure to substantial economic shocks. Citizens’ policy attitudes in turn appear highly responsive to economic worries, as well as to the experience of economic shocks—with worries and shocks creating greater support for government policies that buffer the relevant economic risk. Attitudes seem most affected by temporally proximate shocks, shocks befalling households that have weak private safety nets, and shocks occurring within the domain most relevant to the policy in question, though attitudes are also (more weakly) correlated with shocks in other domains.”