Public Attitudes Towards a Supplementary Income Program for Low-wage Workers: A Study of the Effects of Framing, Distributive Justice Criteria and Material Interests

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Principal investigator:

Pablo A. Mitnik

Stanford University



Sample size: 1925

Field period: 01/28/2005-02/04/2005


This study examines how support for a proposed federal program called Supplemental Income for Workers (SIW) is affected by framing effects, the beneficiaries' perceived needs and the respondents' material interests. This is done through a 5x3 factorial design. The first factor features four frames for the SIW -- dominant ideology, reduced opportunities, earnings floor and laissez-faire -- and a neutral condition. The second factor presents vignettes describing a married couple of low-wage workers who have no, one or two children. Respondents were also asked for their support of SIW, perception of the described family's eligibility for SIW, and the respondents' own level of material interest in the SIW.


In Table 1 of the attached proposal.

Experimental Manipulations

First Factor: Four SIW frames: (1)dominant ideology, (2)reduced opportunities, (3)earnings floor and (4)laissez-faire, and a (5)neutral condition.
Second Factor: Three vignettes describing a married couple of low-wage workers who have (1)zero, (2)one or (3)two children.


Mean SIW support.