Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)




Ronald Rapoport

Committee Members

Jaime Settle

Caroline Hanley


This thesis examines what circumstances compel individuals to take policy preferences in line with their objective self-interest. In particular, I argue that social class plays an important role in shaping individuals' policy preferences. Whereas recent work in political science has examined social class from the perspective of socioeconomic status, I contend that conceptualizing social class as a group identity plays an important complementary role. I show that social class identification has a statistically and substantively significant effect – comparable to changes in partisanship, ideology, and income – on individuals' preferences for a policy related to their economic situation. Ignoring social class identification when evaluating class effects prevents us from fully understanding individuals' preferences, a weakness especially consequential amidst concerns about politicians' responsiveness to low-income people.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


Thesis is part of Honors ETD pilot project, 2008-2013. Migrated from Dspace in 2016.

On-Campus Access Only