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Title: Help Wanted: Unemployment and the Politicization of Economic Hardship
Authors: Incantalupo, Matthew
Advisors: Mendelberg, Tali
Contributors: Politics Department
Keywords: Behavior
Subjects: Political science
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation examines the effects of job loss and unemployment on Americans’ political attitudes and behavior. Previous attempts to study unemployment focus on job loss during periods of economic decline and fail to account for pre-existing socioeconomic differences between the unemployed and the gainfully employed. I examine the individual-level hardship of losing one’s job in the context of broader economic and social trends in unemployment, and argue that the effects of job loss vary as a function of this context. I use a combination of aggregated surveys (both cross-sectional and longitudinal), a natural experiment, and an original survey experiment. In high-unemployment contexts, out-of-work individuals perceive unemployment as a political issue, pursue politicized solutions to the hardship of unemployment, believe that government is responsible for helping them, are less blaming of immigrants for their job loss, and are more likely to turn out to vote. In low-unemployment contexts, the jobless perceive unemployment as a personal problem with individualized or idiosyncratic solutions and are less likely to turn out to vote. This implies that we must consider the broader contexts in which Americans endure economic hardships in order to understand fully how personal experience shapes political behavior.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Politics

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