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Hunger boosts support for welfare programs

What’s your opinion of people on welfare? Lazy moochers who feed off productive members of society? Or neighbors who are in trouble and need our help?

Your answer may depend on whether you have eaten lunch.

That’s the conclusion of newly published research, which finds hunger strengthens people’s support for the social safety net.

Across four experiments conducted in two countries (Denmark and the U.K.), a research team found people in need of a meal are more supportive of social-welfare assistance. This attitude, the researchers argue in the journal Political Psychology, is a product of our distant evolutionary past—a time when sharing resources literally meant the difference between life and death.

A fair number of us, it seems, are before-lunch liberals.

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