Linked Fate, Context Effects, and Group Comparisons

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Principal investigators:

Jennifer Hochschild

Harvard University

Email: hochschild@gov.harvard.edu

Homepage: http://scholar.harvard.edu/jlhochschild

Claudine Gay

Harvard University

Email: cgay@gov.harvard.edu

Homepage: http://scholar.harvard.edu/cgay/


Sample size: 2400

Field period: 7/29/2009-10/21/2009

Abstract

Since the 1980s, a voluminous scholarly literature has found a sense of common or linked fate to be a strong indicator of racial group consciousness, and to be associated with a variety of politically relevant beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. However, most occurrences appear on surveys focusing on race or ethnicity and they tend to be deep within the survey – suggesting priming effects.  Furthermore, very few scholars have examined the possibility of linked fate in other arenas of life such as gender, age, religion, economic class, or political ideology.  This study investigated context effects and non-racial views of linked fate, by assigning respondents to one of three groups:  1) the control group received the standard racial linked fate item, followed by a similar item asking (randomly) about gender, religion, or class linked fate; 2) the second group received an item asking (randomly) about either gender, religion or class linked fate, followed by the standard racial linked fate item; 3) the third group received 3 race-related items, followed by the standard racial linked fate item.

Hypotheses
  • The second group will be less likely to see their fate as linked to that of others of their race than will the control group.
  • The second group will be more likely to see their fate as linked to that of others of their gender, religion, or class than will the control group.
  • The third group will be more likely to see their fate as linked to that of others of their race than will the control group.
  • Respondents will agree more to questions about racial linked fate than to questions about linked fate in gender, religion, or social class.
  • Experimental Manipulations

    Respondents were randomly assigned to one of three groups:  1) the control group received the standard racial linked fate item, followed by a similar item asking (randomly) about gender, religion, or class linked fate; 2) the second group received an item asking (randomly) about either gender, religion or class linked fate, followed by the standard racial linked fate item; 3) the third group received 3 race-related items, followed by the standard racial linked fate item.

    Outcomes
  • perceptions of linked fate by race or ethnicity (all Rs)
  • perceptions of linked fate by gender (2 of the 3 groups)
  • perceptions of linked fate by religion (2 of the 3 groups)
  • perceptions of linked fate by subjective social class (2 of the 3 groups)
  • Summary of Results

    Perceptions of linked fate are widespread, extending beyond African Americans and women and focused on identities other than just race and gender; class linked fate is particularly salient. Linked fate perceptions are real, and not easily manipulated by survey context, understood in this case as priming.  Beliefs in linked fate cohere in distinctive patterns reflecting an individual’s propensity to adopt either a group-centered or individualistic view of life chances. Views associated with intersectionality occur sometimes, but not consistently and not in a clear pattern.  Finally, with few exceptions, linked fate perceptions are neither consistently nor highly politicized. 

    References

    Gay, Claudine and Hochschild, Jennifer, Is Racial Linked Fate Unique? Comparing Race, Ethnicity, Class, Gender, and Religion (2010). APSA 2010 Annual Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1644497