Date Thesis Awarded
Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only
Bachelors of Arts (BA)
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.
Engelhardt, Andrew M., "Disadvantage and Self-interest: Social Class and Policy Preferences" (2013). Undergraduate Honors Theses. William & Mary. Paper 627.
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