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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

  • Hans Pitlik
  • Gerhard Schwarz
  • Barbara Bechter
  • Bernd Brandl

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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Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Kyklos.

Volume (Year): 64 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 (05)
Pages: 271-290

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Handle: RePEc:bla:kyklos:v:64:y:2011:i:2:p:271-290
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  1. 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.
  2. 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, September.
  3. Denzau, Arthur T & North, Douglass C, 1994. "Shared Mental Models: Ideologies and Institutions," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1), pages 3-31.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  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. 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.
  9. 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.
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