Understanding the appeal of libertarianism: Gender and race differences in the endorsement of libertarian principles

Mary Kate Lizotte, Thomas Warren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

There is a stereotype of libertarians being young, college educated, white men and that the Libertarian Party lacks appeal among women and individuals of color. There is a great deal of research investigating gender differences in public opinion on a number of issues including the provision of government resources and government spending (Barnes and Cassese; Howell and Day). Nevertheless, there is no work specifically investigating why women and nonwhites do not find libertarianism appealing. We test several hypotheses using 2016 American National Election Study data and 2013 PRRI data. We find a sizeable and significant gender gap and race gap in support for libertarian principles. We investigate several explanations for these gaps finding moderate support for self-interest, racial attitudes, and egalitarianism as reasons for women and African Americans being less supportive of Libertarian Principles. We believe that the modest success of and media attention garnered by Ron Paul and Rand Paul in recent years along with the success of the Libertarian Party presidential ticket in 2016 highlights the need to understand who is drawn to libertarianism and why.1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAnalyses of Social Issues and Public Policy
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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