Migration Dialogues Speaker Series: Angie Ocampo, PhD

Boundaries of American Identity: Comparing Support for Redistributive Policies Toward Latino and White Businesses in the Aftermath of COVID-19

Angie Ocampo, PhD | Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Pittsburgh

National identity remains an important boundary that defines differences between “us” and “them.” Although national identity can operate as an exclusionary boundary, scholars argue that priming national identity can also improve attitudes between groups in conflict. Understanding whether the benefits of the in group extend to Latinos as they do to Whites is helpful for understanding the incorporation of the group into American society. This paper assesses support for economic relief for small businesses in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, this paper examines whether priming American identity results in positive attitudes toward redistribution for Mexican and Italian restaurants. This paper also explores whether highly-assimilated individuals are more likely to elicit support. Results indicate that although priming a common in-group identity results in more support for redistribution toward Latinos, this does not fully extend to behavior. Highly-assimilated individuals do not elicit more support relative to when this information is omitted. Furthermore, these results are generally consistent across parties.


Noon Dec. 3, 2021