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Reproducible and Replicable: An Empirical Assessment of the Social Construction of Politically Relevant Target Groups

  • Rebecca J. Kreitzer (a1) and Candis Watts Smith (a1)
Abstract

Schneider and Ingram introduced the pivotal theory of social construction of target populations in the American Political Science Review nearly 25 years ago. There, they developed four ideal type groups: advantaged, contenders, dependents, and deviants. They noted that there may be contention around the construction of the groups but implied an expectation of consensus. There has not been, however, a systematic categorization of politically salient target groups based on these categories, nor has there been an empirical assessment of whether or the extent to which consensus around the social constructions of salient target groups exists. We revisit this theory to offer a novel perspective and do so by leveraging advances in technology and methodological strategies. By crowdsourcing the task of evaluating the social construction of various target populations, we are able to assess underlying assumptions of theory as well as outline avenues for future research on policy design.

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The author order is alphabetical. Both authors contributed equally to this article.

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References
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Benoit, Kenneth, Conway, Drew, Lauderdale, Benjamin E., Laver, Michael, and Mikhaylov, Slava. 2016. “Crowd-Sourced Text Analysis: Reproducible and Agile Production of Political Data.” American Political Science Review 110 (2): 278–95.
Lyon, Aidan, and Pacuit, Eric. 2013. “The Wisdom of Crowds: Methods of Human Judgement Aggregation.” In Handbook of Human Computation, ed. Michelucci, Pietro, 599614. New York: Springer Publishing.
Rouse, Steven V. 2015. “A Reliability Analysis of Mechanical Turk Data.” Computers in Human Behavior 43: 304307.
Sabatier, Paul A. (Ed.). 1999. Theories of the Policy Process. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
Schneider, Anne, and Ingram, Helen. 1993. “Social Construction of Target Populations: Implications for Politics and Policy.” American Political Science Review 87 (2): 334–47.
Schneider, Anne, and Ingram, Helen. 2005. “Public Policy and the Social Construction of Deservedness.” In Deserving and Entitled: Social Constructions and Target Populations, ed. Schneider, Anne and Ingram, Helen, 128. Albany: State University of New York.
Schneider, Anne L., Ingram, Helen, and DeLeon, Peter. 2014. “Democratic Policy Design: Social Construction of Target Populations.” In Theories of the Policy Process, ed. Sabatier, Paul A. and Weible, Christopher, 105–49. Boulder, CO: Westerview Press.
Schneider, Anne, and Sidney, Mara. 2009. “What Is Next for Policy Design and Social-Construction Theory?” Policy Studies Journal 37 (1): 103–19.
Schroedel, Jean Reith, and Jordan, Daniel R.. 1998. “Senate Voting and Social Construction of Target Populations: A Study of AIDS Policy Making, 1987–1992.” Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law 23 (1): 107–32.
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PS: Political Science & Politics
  • ISSN: 1049-0965
  • EISSN: 1537-5935
  • URL: /core/journals/ps-political-science-and-politics
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Kreitzer and Smith supplementary material
Kreitzer and Smith supplementary material 1

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