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Antidiscrimination Laws, Policy Knowledge and Political Support

  • Conrad Ziller and Marc Helbling

This study investigates how antidiscrimination policy and related policy knowledge influence citizens’ support for the democratic system and its institutions. The article argues that antidiscrimination measures and knowledge about rights to equal treatment foster perceptions of government responsiveness, which increase political support among target groups and citizens who advocate egalitarianism. Utilizing a longitudinal design and more valid measures to resolve causality issues, the results of the empirical models show that increases in policy knowledge over time systematically predict higher political support, especially among individuals who hold egalitarian values. Individuals who are discriminated against express particularly high political support in contexts where antidiscrimination laws are expanded. Overall, the results amplify the role of policy knowledge as a key factor in studying policy feedback effects.

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University of Cologne, Institute of Sociology and Social Psychology and Cologne Center for Comparative Politics (email:; University of Bamberg, Department of Political Science and WZB Berlin Social Science Center (email: A previous version of this article was presented at the 2016 American Political Science Association meeting. The authors would like to thank Sarah Carol, Sara Wallace Goodman, Laura Katz Olson, Isabelle Stadelmann-Steffen and Markus Wagner, as well as the anonymous reviewers and Shaun Bowler for valuable comments and suggestions. This study uses data from the 2013 release of the anonymized EU Labour Force Survey, provided by the European Commission, Eurostat. Eurostat has no responsibility for the results and/or conclusions of this study. Data replication sets are available in Harvard Dataverse at: and online appendices are available at

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British Journal of Political Science
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