The Social Legitimacy of Targeted Welfare
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The Social Legitimacy of Targeted Welfare

Attitudes to Welfare Deservingness

Edited by Wim van Oorschot, Femke Roosma, Bart Meuleman and Tim Reeskens

This book addresses new perspectives on the perceived popular deservingness of target groups of social services and benefits, offering new insights and analysis to this quickly developing field of welfare attitudes research. It provides an up-to-date state of the art in terms of concepts, theories, research methods and data. The book offers a multi-disciplinary view on deservingness attitudes, with contributions from sociology, political science, media studies and social psychology. It links up with central welfare state debates about the allocation of collective resources between groups with particular needs, and wider categories of need.
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Chapter 17: Do the Rich Deserve a Tax Cut? Public Images, Deservingness Criteria and Americans’ Tax Policy Preferences

Jordan Ragusa


Since the onset of the recent Great Recession (2007–2009), American political scholars have paid greater attention to issues at the intersection of politics and economics. On balance, most of this renewed attention has focused on policy outcomes: whether the federal government enacts laws that benefit one socioeconomic class over others (Bartels, 2008; Carnes, 2013; Carnes and Sadin, 2015; Gilens, 2012; Gilens and Page, 2014; Hacker and Pierson, 2010). This research is emblematic of Lasswell’s (1936) claim that politics is about ‘Who gets what, when, and how?’ Considerably less work has explored the input side of the equation: what economic policy outcomes Americans favour in the first place.

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