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Near Is My Shirt but Nearer Is My Skin. Ideology or Self-Interest as Determinants of Public Opinion on Fiscal Policy Issues

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  • Hans Pitlik

    (WIFO)

  • Gerhard Schwarz

    (Austrian Institute of Economic Research)

  • Barbara Bechter
  • Bernd Brandl

    (University of Vienna, Department of Industrial Sociology)

Abstract

Several empirical studies derive that personal positions with respect to policy measures are dominated by ideology instead of narrow self-interest. In the present field study we carried out a telephone survey with 1,003 respondents all over Austria. Instead of measuring selfishness indirectly by using more or less "objective indicators" for self-interest, we requested respondents to assess directly whether they expect to be affected by policy measures. Our results indicate that such a subjectively measured narrow self-interest explains attitudes towards economic policies at least as good as ideological conviction. In some cases ideology appears to determine whether people feel affected by a proposed policy measure.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by WIFO in its series WIFO Working Papers with number 373.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: 30 Jun 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wfo:wpaper:y:2010:i:373

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  1. Hennighausen, Tanja & Bischoff, Ivo & Heinemann, Friedrich, 2009. "Choosing from the Reform Menu Card: Individual Determinants of Labour Market Policy Preferences," ZEW Discussion Papers 09-004, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  2. Kirchgassner, Gebhard & Pommerehne, Werner W, 1993. " Low-Cost Decisions as a Challenge to Public Choice," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 77(1), pages 107-15, September.
  3. Bryan Caplan, 2006. "How do voters form positive economic beliefs? Evidence from the Survey of Americans and Economists on the Economy," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 128(3), pages 367-381, September.
  4. Denzau, Arthur T & North, Douglass C, 1994. "Shared Mental Models: Ideologies and Institutions," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1), pages 3-31.
  5. Bryan Caplan, 2002. "Sociotropes, Systematic Bias, and Political Failure: Reflections on the Survey of Americans and Economists on the Economy," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 83(2), pages 416-435.
  6. William B. Walstad, 1997. "The Effect of Economic Knowledge on Public Opinion of Economic Issues," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 28(3), pages 195-205, January.
  7. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135.
  8. Heinemann, Friedrich & Hennighausen, Tanja, 2010. "Don't tax me? Determinants of individual attitudes toward progressive taxation," ZEW Discussion Papers 10-017, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  9. Victor R. Fuchs & Alan B. Krueger & James M. Poterba, 1998. "Economists' Views about Parameters, Values, and Policies: Survey Results in Labor and Public Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1387-1425, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Bodo Knoll & Hans Pitlik & Martin Rode, 2013. "Economic Freedom, Money and Happiness – Why Deregulation Matters Beyond its Wealth Enhancing Effect," CESifo DICE Report, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 11(2), pages 35-42, 07.
  2. Peter Huber & Thomas Leoni & Hans Pitlik, 2013. "Reforming Welfare States," WWWforEurope Deliverables series 1, WWWforEurope.
  3. Carlsson, Fredrik & Kataria, Mitesh & Krupnick, Alan & Lampi, Elina & Löfgren, Åsa & Qin, Ping & Sterner, Thomas, 2013. "A fair share: Burden-sharing preferences in the United States and China," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 1-17.
  4. Hans Pitlik & Ludek Kouba, 2014. "Does social distrust always lead to a stronger support for government intervention?," WWWforEurope Policy Paper series 8, WWWforEurope.
  5. Hans Pitlik & Ludek Kouba, 2013. "The interrelation of informal institutions and governance quality in shaping Welfare State attitudes," WWWforEurope Working Papers series 38, WWWforEurope.

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