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Students’ understanding of socio-economic phenomena: Conceptions about the free provision of goods and services


  • Davies, Peter
  • Lundholm, Cecilia


Research on conceptual change has paid relatively less attention to the social than to the physical science domain. In particular, research on conceptual change in economic understanding has been fairly sparse and loosely connected. Given the potential significance of citizen’s economic understanding in delimiting government responses to globalisation (Davies, 2006) this topic is worthy of further study. This study paper investigates conceptions about the provision of free goods and services, drawing on evidence from students in different age groups. In contrast to previous work we focus on the question ‘Should this product or service be made available for free?’ We compare the reasoning of students at different ages across a range of products and services and we explore the ways that they attempt to resolve conflicts within their reasoning.

Suggested Citation

  • Davies, Peter & Lundholm, Cecilia, 2012. "Students’ understanding of socio-economic phenomena: Conceptions about the free provision of goods and services," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 79-89.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:33:y:2012:i:1:p:79-89
    DOI: 10.1016/j.joep.2011.08.003

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Sevon, Guje & Weckstrom, Sonja, 1989. "The development of reasoning about economic events: A study of Finnish children," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 495-514.
    2. Leiser, David & Beth Halachmi, Reut, 2006. "Children's understanding of market forces," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 6-19, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Caroline Ignell & Peter Davies & Cecilia Lundholm, 2013. "Swedish Upper Secondary School Students’ Conceptions of Negative Environmental Impact and Pricing," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(3), pages 1-15, March.

    More about this item


    Conceptual change; Social science; Economics;

    JEL classification:

    • A21 - General Economics and Teaching - - Economic Education and Teaching of Economics - - - Pre-college
    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • E39 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Other


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