The Intersectionality of Deservingness for State Support

Michaela Assouline, Sharon Gilad*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Studies of the ramifications of client race and ethnicity for bureaucrats' judgments treat minority status as homogenous. Yet, individual identity does not boil down to race or ethnicity. Members of racial and ethnic minority groups likely vary in their experiences and capacity to overcome the negative sentiments and stereotypes that burden their inherited group. To transcend unidimensional explanations, we combine Van Oorschot's deservingness framework and a gendered lens to study how the intersection of group identity and gender, as well as individuals' work history, co-shape bureaucrats' categorization of clients. Empirically, we analyze Israeli professionals' categorization of applicants for state benefits, comparing their assessments of men and women of three social groups: the Jewish majority, ultra-orthodox Jews, and Muslims. Interpreting the empirical findings, we offer that underlying the effect of applicants' group demographics are perceived cultural affinity to the majority and social contributions that vary with gender. Evidence for Practice: Minority status, based on race, ethnicity, or nationality, and the perceived contributions of different groups, shape bureaucrats' judgments of individuals' deservingness for state support. Minorities' workforce opportunities and interactions with members of the majority likely vary with gender roles. If traditional gender roles among some minority communities provide men with greater opportunities for workforce participation and for interaction with members of the majority, bureaucrats may perceive women as less deserving than men. Depending on the task at hand, this could hamper women's likelihood of attaining benefits for which they are entitled.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)487-502
Number of pages16
JournalPublic Administration Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 May 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Public Administration Review published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of American Society for Public Administration.


Dive into the research topics of 'The Intersectionality of Deservingness for State Support'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this