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Maxwell School

Christopher Faricy

Assistant Professor, Political Science

Chris Faricy

Contact Information

316 Eggers 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, Introduction to Political Analysis, Social Welfare Seminar, Political Parties and Elections Seminar


Christopher Faricy. 2016. “The Distributive Politics of Tax Expenditures: How Parties Use Policy Tools to Distribute Federal Money to the Rich and the Poor." Politics, Groups, and Identities 4(1): 110-125.

Christopher Faricy. 2015. Welfare for the Wealthy: Parties, Social Spending, and Inequality in the United States. New York: Cambridge University Press.

with Christopher Ellis. 2014. “Public Attitudes Toward Direct Social Spending in the United States: The Differences Between Direct Spending and Tax Expenditures." Political Behavior 36(1): 53-76.

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

Welfare for the Wealthy: Parties, Social Spending, and Inequality in the United States (Cambridge University Press 2015).

How does political party control of the federal government determine changes to social policy and by extension influence inequality in America? Conventional theories show that the Democratic Party when in power produces more social expenditures and consequently less inequality. Welfare for the Wealthy reexamines the relationship between parties and social policy by recognizing the social system as divided and government spending as a choice between public spending and private subsidies. Christopher Faricy argues that both Democrats and Republicans have electoral and policy incentives to increase social spending just delivered through different policy mechanisms and targeted towards divergent socioeconomic classes. Faricy using a unique data set of federal tax expenditures shows that Republicans increase social spending through the tax code, which benefits businesses and wealthier workers. In particular, he demonstrates that increases in the level of social tax expenditures are paid for with cuts to discretionary public social spending, which taken together contribute to higher levels of inequality. This analysis has implications for who provides social services, who receives government assistance for social benefits, and income inequality in the United States.

Public Opinion, Race, and Social Spending in America (Forthcoming)

This is a working book manuscript coauthored with Christopher Ellis and funded by the Russell Sage Foundation. We are interested in how citizens form opinions toward social spending issues, and how policymakers respond to such opinions when crafting policy. We examine the relationship between public opinion and government spending through illustrating how the predictors of support for specific social tax expenditures differs from the predictors of support for both traditional social spending and tax policy more generally. Next, we analyze the role that tax expenditures play in conditioning how citizens view recipients of government aid. We use survey experiments to find that, all else equal, citizens view recipients of social tax expenditures both more positively and more deserving of the aid than benefits received through public programs. These attributes are, in part, a function of tax expenditure recipients being viewed as mainly white and middle-class. Republican voters are particularly likely to hold these perceptions of tax expenditure recipients, even for programs with low-income and racially diverse clientele such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

We are currently exploring the role that racism and other forms of prejudice play in conditioning support for social spending. Our results suggest that attitudes toward tax expenditures (unlike attitudes toward downward-redistributing direct spending) do not prime racially-charged considerations in the minds of citizens. Finally, we study how voters form attitudes towards upwardly distributing social tax expenditures like the home mortgage interest deduction. The initially results suggest that citizens view the average recipient of these programs as being a white middle-class household and therefore deserving of government assistance. We hope that our study will also have implications for understanding how tax expenditures are used to either exacerbate or ameliorate income inequality in the United States.

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