IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/soceco/v41y2012i5p603-614.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Confidence in the economy in times of crisis: Social representations of experts and laypeople

Author

Listed:
  • Gangl, Katharina
  • Kastlunger, Barbara
  • Kirchler, Erich
  • Voracek, Martin

Abstract

This study investigates experts’ and laypeople's social representations of the financial and economic crisis, as widely discussed in the media after the fall of Lehman Brothers in 2008. Financial experts (n=156) and laypeople (n=153) with low versus high confidence in the economic recovery spontaneously associated thoughts and beliefs about the crisis and to economic and political stakeholders. Following a mixed-methods approach, they evaluated economic stakeholders with regard to six trust items. The study was conducted in March 2010 in Austria, which was moderately affected by the crisis. The results indicate that economic variables (e.g., unemployment) were central to the social representations of the crisis, while underlying feelings of unfairness and egoism surfaced during the ongoing process of association. The social representation did not comprise a general criticism of the economic system. The differences between the subgroups depended on identification-based self-protection and economic knowledge. Experts and laypeople tended to attribute the economic crisis to specific stakeholders in a self-protecting way: experts blamed the media, laypeople blamed the managers, and both blamed the politicians. Interestingly, the subgroups tended to evaluate the banks as being relatively neutral. Expertise and differentiated economic knowledge was related to confidence in the economic recovery. Thus, the perceived capability of politicians in terms of competence and morality seems crucial for regaining public confidence in the economy.

Suggested Citation

  • Gangl, Katharina & Kastlunger, Barbara & Kirchler, Erich & Voracek, Martin, 2012. "Confidence in the economy in times of crisis: Social representations of experts and laypeople," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 41(5), pages 603-614.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:41:y:2012:i:5:p:603-614
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socec.2012.05.018
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1053535712000819
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. S. Illeris & G. Akehurst, 2001. "Introduction," The Service Industries Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(1), pages 1-4, January.
    2. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics and Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753.
    3. George A. Akerlof, 2009. "How Human Psychology Drives the Economy and Why It Matters," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1175-1175.
    4. Nenadic, Oleg & Greenacre, Michael, 2007. "Correspondence Analysis in R, with Two- and Three-dimensional Graphics: The ca Package," Journal of Statistical Software, Foundation for Open Access Statistics, vol. 20(i03).
    5. Leiser, David & Bourgeois-Gironde, Sacha & Benita, Rinat, 2010. "Human foibles or systemic failure--Lay perceptions of the 2008-2009 financial crisis," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 132-141, April.
    6. Roland-Lévy, Christine & Pappalardo Boumelki, Fatima-Ezzahra & Guillet, Emilie, 2010. "Representation of the financial crisis: Effect on social representations of savings and credit," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 142-149, April.
    7. Leiser, David & Drori, Shelly, 2005. "NaIve understanding of inflation," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 179-198, March.
    8. Haferkamp, Alexandra & Fetchenhauer, Detlef & Belschak, Frank & Enste, Dominik, 2009. "Efficiency versus fairness: The evaluation of labor market policies by economists and laypeople," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 527-539, August.
    9. Andreea Ernst-Vintila & Sylvain Delouvée & Christine Roland-Lévy, 2011. "Under threat. Lay thinking about terrorism and the three-dimensional model of personal involvement: a social psychological analysis," Journal of Risk Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(3), pages 297-324, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Wahl, Ingrid & Pollai, Maria & Kirchler, Erich, 2013. "Status, identification and in-group favouritism of the unemployed compared to other social categories," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 37-43.
    2. Leiser, David & Benita, Rinat & Bourgeois-Gironde, Sacha, 2016. "Differing conceptions of the causes of the economic crisis: Effects of culture, economic training, and personal impact," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 154-163.
    3. Dixon, R. & Griffiths, W. & Lim, G.C., 2014. "Lay people’s models of the economy: A study based on surveys of consumer sentiments," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 13-20.
    4. Elisa Darriet & Sacha Bourgeois-Gironde, 2015. "Why lay social representations of the economy should count in economics," Mind & Society: Cognitive Studies in Economics and Social Sciences, Springer;Fondazione Rosselli, vol. 14(2), pages 245-258, November.
    5. Lotz, Sebastian & Fix, Andrea R., 2013. "Not all financial speculation is treated equally: Laypeople’s moral judgments about speculative short selling," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 34-41.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Social representations; Financial crisis; Economic crisis; Confidence; Trust;

    JEL classification:

    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:41:y:2012:i:5:p:603-614. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/620175 .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.