Measuring Attitudes Toward Affirmative Action Policies in Brazil

29.05.2017 - 12:00 bis 13:30
A 5,6 Raum A 231
Art der Veranstaltung: 
AB B-Kolloquium
Dr. Philip Habel
Zugehörigkeit des Vortragenden: 
University of Glasgow

In this paper we turn our attention to political attitudes toward a major public policy initiative in an important comparative context: attitudes toward affirmative action policies in Brazil. Brazil recently implemented a broad form of affirmative action for admission to federal universities, policies that include additional consideration of three attributes: one, whether the applicant attended a public school (versus a private one); two, the applicant’s income; and three, the applicant’s race. The broad and encompassing approach permits researchers to examine the ways in which the public evaluate differing affirmative action policies. Moreover, we can model the determinants of support or opposition, considering such explanations as ideology, prejudice and self-interest. Given concerns over social desirability biases affecting responses, we employ a creative research design that includes a list experiment. Our work is conducted on both a nationally representative sample and a university student sample---with the university sample representing those who have been personally affected by the policy change. We find that attitudes toward affirmative action policies vary considerably depending on the group targeted for preferential selection. Specifically we find notably higher levels of support for policies aimed at candidates' socioeconomic backgrounds as opposed to their race among White respondents in the university sample. Our results shed new light on public opinion in this contentious policy domain, revealing that evaluations of race-based affirmative action programs among an affected audience can differ markedly from other types of affirmative action policies.