Means-Tested Public Assistance Programs and Adolescent Political Socialization.
In recent years, scholars have pointed to the politically demobilizing effects of means-tested assistance programs on recipients. In this study, we bridge the insights from policy feedback literature and adolescent political socialization research to examine how receiving means-tested programs shapes parent influence on adolescent political participation. We argue that there are differences in pathways to political participation through parent political socialization and youth internal efficacy beliefs for adolescents from households that do or do not receive means-tested assistance. Using data from a nationally representative sample of 536 Black, Latino, and White adolescents (50.8% female), we find that adolescents from means-tested assistance households report less parent political socialization and political participation. For all youth, parent political socialization predicts adolescent political participation. Internal political efficacy is a stronger predictor of political participation for youth from a non-means-tested assistance household than it is for youth from a household receiving means-tested assistance. These findings provide some evidence of differential paths to youth political participation via exposure to means-tested programs.
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