Job Authority and Support for Income Redistributive Policy

George Wilson, David J. Maume

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Building on substantive yet neglected foundations provided by classical sociological theorists—theorists who emphasized the experiential conditions of work in structuring ideology—we examine in this article the impact of job authority tasks on levels of support for policy to redistribute income. Such a focus contributes to a broader sociological understanding of the links between status, ideology, and political action. With data drawn from the 2010 and 2012 National Election Studies, we find that workplace experiences and tasks involving sanctioning/organizational responsibility as well as the hierarchical patterning of interactions on one’s job help structure generalized views regarding inequality and policy orientations ultimately enacted outside of the workplace. In this regard, the number of authority tasks is inversely related to support for redistributive policy. Subsequent analyses, however, reveal this general pattern does not hold on the basis of race: less variation in policy support as well as greater levels of policy support is expressed by African Americans than Whites across all authority task levels. We conclude by discussing how our findings inform broader conceptions regarding the link between work, ideology, and politics, as well a deeper sociological sense of the attitudinal consequences of work and the underpinnings of tenets of American stratification ideology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-202
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Behavioral Scientist
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016


  • ideology
  • inequality
  • work

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences(all)


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