Essay on Volunteering and Attitudes Toward Social Welfare Spending

Essay on Volunteering and Attitudes Toward Social Welfare Spending

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Volunteering and Attitudes Toward Social Welfare Spending

Despite extensive research having been done on explaining why some individuals are more likely to support spending on social welfare than others, to this date, no one has examined the effect that a person’s level of volunteerism has on support for spending. However, the level of community involvement is worthy of consideration as an explanation for support for social welfare spending because, as has been reported by previous research, volunteers often find that structural problems exist that can only be remedied by government intervention. Using data from the 1996 General Social Survey, this research tests the hypothesis that the more areas in which a person volunteers, the more likely he or she is to support increases in social welfare spending. Additionally, the control variable of political ideology was tested. Although the original hypothesis was rejected, the results examining the effect of both volunteerism and political ideology on support for welfare spending revealed that conservatives who volunteered the most were more likely to support increases than their liberal counterparts.

Unfortunately, living in poverty is a painful reality for many Americans. Although people earning meager wages and living in less-than-desirable conditions have always been present in this country, the government was not an active force in bettering the situation of the poor until the Great Depression of the 1930’s. With the advent of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, however, the role of government was expanded in an attempt to help those in need, especially the unemployed and the elderly, through social welfare programs such as Social Security. As the twentieth century...

... middle of paper ... R. (2001). The Humanitarian Foundation of Public Support for Social Welfare. American Journal of Political Science, 45, 658-677.

Groskind, Fred (1994). Ideological Influences on Public Support for Assistance to Poor Families. Social Work, 39, 81-89.

National Opinion Research Center, 6 Feb. 2005.

Pumphrey, Ralph E. (1959). Compassion and Protection: Dual Motivations in Social Welfare. In Frank R. Breul & Steven J. Diner (Eds.), Compassion and Responsibility: Readings in the History of Social Welfare Policy in the United States, (pp. 5-13).

Chicago: University of Chicago
What Welfare Reform Did for Me (2000), 1 Feb 2005. Timeline.

Wuthnow, Robert (1991). Acts of Compassion: Caring for Others and Helping Ourselves. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

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