The Changing Color of Welfare? How Whites' Attitudes toward Latinos Influence Support for Welfare

Cybelle Fox
2004 American Journal of Sociology  
This article uses the National Election Study to consider how stereotypes about Latinos influence white support for welfare. It shows that whites' stereotypes about Latino work ethic grow more positive as the size of the Latino population increases, suggesting positive effects of contact. Moreover, the effect of whites' stereotypes about Latino-but not black-work ethic on support for welfare is contingent on ethnic context. In areas with few Latinos, the lazier whites think Latinos are, the
more » ... atinos are, the less whites want to spend on welfare. However, in areas that are disproportionately Latino the more hardworking whites think Latinos are (controlling for whites' stereotypes about blacks), the less whites want to spend on welfare as well. This last result, this article argues, is the product of a social comparison between black and Latino work ethic. 5 The passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, better known as welfare reform, replaced AFDC with TANF, thereby eliminating the entitlement to welfare, imposing a five-year lifetime limit on federal benefits, and devolving much of the responsibility for the program-through the use of block grants-to the states. The new law also required that states adopt stringent new work requirements for most welfare recipients or cut their caseload size.
doi:10.1086/422587 fatcat:6m7pm3rlibgvtkzgjn7jatetki