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Contact with Government Agencies: A Preliminary Analysis of the Distribution of Government Services

Herbert Jacob
Midwest Journal of Political Science
Vol. 16, No. 1 (Feb., 1972), pp. 123-146
DOI: 10.2307/2110413
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2110413
Page Count: 24
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Contact with Government Agencies: A Preliminary Analysis of the Distribution of Government Services
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Abstract

This is an exploratory study of the distribution of government services among respondents in three Milwaukee neighborhoods. Random samples were taken in a black ghetto neighborhood, a white working class area, and a white middle class area. The measure of consumption was whether respondents had contact with one or more of a group of 45 agencies or programs. In addition, respondents were asked to indicate their satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the services they had procured and they were asked a battery of attitudinal questions to measure the association between the consumption of government services and their espousal of supportive or nonsupportive attitudes toward the regime. Blacks reported the smallest number of contacts and the highest level of dissatisfaction although the difference between blacks and whites is not enormous and the level of dissatisfaction is not very high. Almost no differences exist between working class and middle class whites with respect to the number of contacts or their level of satisfaction/dissatisfaction. Contact with law enforcement agencies and programs, with welfare services, and with public health services were surprisingly uniform for all three groups. Blacks are most disadvantaged in their use of recreational facilities and institutions of higher learning. Only working class whites indicate a moderate relationship between satisfaction with services received and supportive attitudes toward the regime. Among ghetto blacks and middle class whites, no significant relationships exist. These findings can be regarded as only suggestive. They require confirmation and refinement through more intensive research. The data indicate that the delivery of police, health, education and welfare services would be particularly fruitful subjects for future research.

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