Responsibility for Impairment Shapes the Perceived Deservingness of Welfare Claimants with Disabilities

04 April 2022, Version 1


In this article, we test the extent to which the perceived deservingness of people with disabilities (PWD) for state support is conditional. To do so, we use two novel survey experiments asking respondents to assess the deservingness of a fictitious subject. We manipulate two characteristics of the subject: how they acquired their impairment, and an ethnic in-group/out-group cue. We find that PWD perceived as even some- what responsible for their impairments are considered substantially less deserving of government assistance than those perceived not responsible, even when their needs are identical. Further, we find that all else equal, migrant and ethnic minority PWD are seen as less deserving of assistance than ethnic majority and native-born PWD. The results challenge the existing orthodoxy of the universality of support for PWD and highlights the shortcomings of research that treats PWD as a homogenous group.



Comments are not moderated before they are posted, but they can be removed by the site moderators if they are found to be in contravention of our Commenting Policy [opens in a new tab] - please read this policy before you post. Comments should be used for scholarly discussion of the content in question. You can find more information about how to use the commenting feature here [opens in a new tab] .
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy [opens in a new tab] and Terms of Service [opens in a new tab] apply.