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Maxwell School

Christopher Faricy

Assistant Professor, Political Science

Chris Faricy

Contact Information

405B Maxwell Hall
(315) 443-8828


Ph.D., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2010


American politics, social policy, political economy, income inequality, public opinion

Personal Website


Introduction to American Politics, The Politics of Income Inequality



with Christopher Ellis. 2013. “Public Attitudes towards Direct Spending vs. Tax Expenditures in the United States.” Forthcoming at Political Behavior 

with Christopher Ellis. 2011. “Social Policy and Public Opinion: How the Ideological Direction of Spending Influences Public Mood.” The Journal of Politics  (73):1095-1110) 

Christopher Faricy. 2011. “The Politics of Social Policy in America: The Causes and Effects of Indirect versus Direct Social Spending.” The Journal of Politics (73):74-83

Michele Hoyman & Christopher Faricy. 2009. “It Takes a Village: A Test of the Creative Class, Social Capital and Human Capital Theories.” Urban Affairs Review (44): 311-333

Research Projects

The Politics of Welfare vs. “Wealthfare” in America

This project addresses one of the central questions in American politics – how does political party control of government determine federal social policy and who benefits? Since the New Deal, scholars have found that Democratic Party control of the federal government produces more social spending on public programs, which mainly benefits the elderly and working-class. However, public policy scholars recognize the American social welfare state as a ‘‘divided’’ system in which the government finances both public programs through direct spending and private benefits through indirect spending otherwise known as tax expenditures. This project theorizes and empirically tests how changes to political party power in government impacts the financing of both the public and private social systems. Using new measures of social spending, I find that increased Republican control of government produces higher levels of tax expenditures for private social programs, reduced spending on public benefits, and both of these spending changes result in higher levels of income inequality. The implications of this research are that changes to political party control of government and social policy influences which sector of the economy administers social programs (public bureaucracies or private businesses), which citizens receive government support for social benefits (the working class or wealthy), and the balance between public and private power in America.

Public Opinion and the Subsidy State (with Chris Ellis)

Our project examines public attitudes toward social welfare spending in the United States, focusing on public opinion toward the government’s role in subsidizing private social benefits through the tax code. There is an extensive body of research on public opinion toward government spending in the United States, but nearly all of this research focuses on public spending for programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and welfare. The lack of attention to ‘indirect’ social welfare spending is important given that the United States has a divided social welfare system that administers social benefits through both the public and private sector. Although both appropriations and tax expenditures are considered spending for budgetary purposes they diverge in the following areas: public spending tends to redistribute money down towards the working class while tax expenditures distribute money upwards, tax expenditures are more commonly used to finance private businesses, and tax expenditures are passed through an opaque policy process. These distinctions all have serious repercussions for understanding social inequality in the United States, and how citizens view the proper role of the federal government. What do citizens call upon when determining their preference for social tax subsidies aimed at private programs? attitudes about tax policy? preferences for social programs? attitudes towards government spending? feelings towards the target groups of social tax expenditures? In essence, how similar or dissimilar are the factors that we know determine preferences for public social spending to the attitude formation of preferences for social tax expenditures used for private welfare?

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