Individual Level Evidence
- Americans believe that the poor are lazy; Europeans believe that the poor are unfortunate.
- At the individual level, these beliefs correlate with voting Democratic or identifying yourself as left wing.
- 88 percent of those who think that the U.S. is spending too much on welfare think that the poor are lazy
- 35 percent of those who think that U.S. is spending too little on welfare think that the poor are lazy
- There is no way to show causality here, but the correlations are strong and provocative.
Examples of Indoctrination
- The early attempt to sell America
- 1624 John Smith: if a settler “have nothing but his hands, he may set up this trade; and by industrie quickly grow rich”
- 1732 Georgia is “a land of liberty and plenty where [the poor] immediately find themselves in possession of a competent estate”
- The ideology of republican revolution
-“If citizens don’t find themselves free and happy, the fault will be intirely their own” (Washington)
- Political institutions seem to matter– particularly proportional representation.
- We interpret this as a proxy for a broad range of U.S. institutions that block transfers to the poor.
- This shouldn’t surprise us– the founders of the U.S. intended these institutions to do exactly
what they are doing.
- But Europe once had even more right wing institutions than the U.S.
Edward Glaeser, "Fighting poverty in the U.S. and Europe: a world of difference" (pdf), presentation vid världsbanken år 2004 utifrån denna bok.