Faith in Trump and the willingness to punish white-collar crime: Chinese Americans as an out-group

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Abstract

Objectives: The first goal of the study was to investigate the willingness of former President Trump’s supporters to punish a particular form of white-collar crime (i.e., bank fraud). The second objective was to test whether the race of the person who committed the bank fraud influenced Trump supporters’ willingness to punish. Methods: This study used data from factorial vignettes that were administered to a national sample of adults in 2021 (N = 1509). A 2 (race of the individual who committed bank fraud) × 2 (prior criminal record) × 2 (COVID-19 related fraud) between-subject experimental design was used. Multivariate techniques were used to regress the dependent variables (e.g., length of prison sentence) onto the faith in Trump scale, the experimental conditions, and other variables. Results: Participants who expressed a strong faith in Trump were less likely to support sending an adult male who committed bank fraud to prison, but they were more supportive of deporting the individual to another country. The effect of faith in Trump changed when the race of the person who committed bank fraud was manipulated. Specifically, participants who expressed greater faith in Trump were more likely to view bank fraud as harmful and wrong, more likely to support the use of prison and recommend longer prison sentences, and expressed greater support for deporting the individual when he was depicted as Chinese American. Conclusions: Allegiance to the former president likely increased the targeting of Chinese Americans as out-group members in need of greater social control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Experimental Criminology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • Deportation
  • Politics
  • Public opinion
  • Punishment
  • White-collar crime

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law

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