DIVERSITY….Do Americans hate welfare because they think all the money goes to blacks? Alberto Alesina and Edward Glaeser don’t put it quite that baldly, but that’s their basic thesis. Robert Tagorda says this argument is “a bit hard to swallow” but quotes a couple of other economists who say there’s something to it:
Over the last five years, at least 15 different empirical economic papers have studied the consequences of community heterogeneity, and all of these studies have the same punch line: heterogeneity reduces civic engagement. In more diverse communities, people participate less as measured by how they allocate their time, their money, their voting, and their willingness to take risks to help others.
I don’t really find this very hard to believe at all. It’s certainly not the entire explanation for varying attitudes toward welfare between America and Europe, but I imagine it accounts for some of it.
UPDATE: Stephen Bainbridge has more.