Social identities, emotions and policy preferences

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Johanna Hornung University of Bern, Switzerland

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Nils C. Bandelow TU Braunschweig, Germany

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Emotions are gaining increasing attention in public policy. Policy process research so far has focused on the effects of emotions rather than their roots. In social psychology, emotions are a central part of social identity theory (SIT), and the relevance of social identities in the policy process (SIPP) has recently been acknowledged. This raises the question of how the identification with social groups is linked to emotions related to policies and policy preferences. Filling this research gap, this article analyses social identities and resulting emotions as potential explanations for public policy preferences. The findings reveal that the strength of social identities is a significant predictor for policy-related emotions. However, it also shows that the explanatory power of social identities and related emotions differs by policy field. Our results have implications for the study of social groups and emotions and for understanding and overcoming conflicts between people with different identities and emotions.

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Johanna Hornung University of Bern, Switzerland

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Nils C. Bandelow TU Braunschweig, Germany

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