Sources of politico-economic attitudes: students’ introspections

Abstract

Our aim is to shed more light on university students’ sources of attitudes towards the market economy, social inequality, and the responsibilities of the state. Analyzing survey data of almost 500 students at a German university, we identify those sources the subjects report to be important in the process of forming their politico-economic attitudes. We explore the differences between our sample of local students and the German General Social Survey, as well as the characteristics of subjects expressing no opinion. We also examine whether the sources which were reported to be important significantly contribute to the prediction of conservative political attitudes, concentrating specifically on the attitude effects of economic education.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Ajzen I. (2001) Nature and operation of attitudes. Annual Review of Psychology 52(1): 27–58

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Albarracín D., Johnson B., Zanna M., Kumkale G. (2005) Attitudes: Introduction and scope. In: Albarracín D., Johnson B. T., Zanna M. P. (eds) The handbook of attitudes. Taylor and Francis, New York, pp 3–19

    Google Scholar 

  3. Bassili J. N., Brown R. D. (2005) Implicit and explicit attitudes: Research, challenges, and theory. In: Albarracín D., Johnson B. T., Zanna M. P. (eds) The handbook of attitudes. Taylor and Francis, New York, pp 543–574

    Google Scholar 

  4. Betsch T., Plessner H., Schwieren C., Gutig R. (2001) I Like it but i don’t know why: A value-account approach to implicit attitude formation. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 27(2): 242–253

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Briñol P., Petty R. E. (2005) Individual differences in attitude change. In: Albarracín D., Johnson B. T., Zanna M. P. (eds) The handbook of attitudes. Taylor and Francis, New York, pp 575–615

    Google Scholar 

  6. Cheung, C. K., & Kwok, S. T. (1998). Social studies and ideological beliefs in Mainland China and Hong Kong. Social Psychology of Education, 2(2), 217–236. doi:10.1023/a:1009602523979 .

  7. Cipriani G. P., Lubian D., Zago A. (2009) Natural born economists?. Journal of Economic Psychology 30(3): 455–468

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Davies P., Mangan J., Telhaj S. (2005) Bold, reckless and adaptable? Explaining gender differences in economic thinking and attitudes. British Educational Research Journal 31(1): 29–48

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Dawson G. G. (1966) Changing students’ attitudes. Improving College and University Teaching 14: 200–203

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Eagly A. H., Chaiken S. (2005) Attitude research in the 21st century: The current state of knowledge. In: Albarracín D., Johnson B. T., Zanna M. P. (eds) The handbook of attitudes. Taylor and Francis, New York, pp 743–767

    Google Scholar 

  11. Edwards K. (1990) The interplay of affect and cognition in attitude formation and change. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 59(2): 202–216

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Fabrigar L. R., MacDonald T. K., Wegener D. T. (2005) The structure of attitudes. In: Albarracín D., Johnson B. T., Zanna M. P. (eds) The handbook of attitudes. Taylor and Francis, New York, pp 79–124

    Google Scholar 

  13. Field A. (2009) Discovering statistics using SPSS. Sage, London

    Google Scholar 

  14. Fischer L., Wiswede G. (2009) Grundlagen der Sozialpsychologie. Oldenbourg, Munich

    Google Scholar 

  15. Fishbein M., Ajzen I. (1975) Belief, attitude, intention and behavior: An introduction to theory and research. Addison-Wesley, Reading

    Google Scholar 

  16. Frey B. S., Pommerehne W. W., Gygi B. (1993) Economics indoctrination or selection? Some empirical results. Journal of Economic Education 24(3): 271–281

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Goossens, A., & Meon, P. G. (2010). “This is an Economist’s Argument!” The impact of studying economics, and other disciplines, on the belief that voluntary transactions make everyone better off. Paper presented at the 2010 Silvaplana Workshop on Political Economy. Mimeo.

  18. Guimond S. (1999) Attitude change during college: Normative or informational social influence?. Social Psychology of Education 2(3): 237–261

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Guimond S., Palmer D. L. (1996) Liberal reformers or militant radicals: What are the effects of education in the social sciences?. Social Psychology of Education 1(2): 95–115

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Haddock, G., & Zanna, M. P. (1998). Assessing the impact of affective and cognitive information in predicting attitudes toward capital punishment. Law and Human Behavior, 22(3), 325–339. doi:10.1023/A:1025758623612

  21. Haarmann, A., Scholz, E., Wasmer, M., Blohm, M., & Harkness, J. (2006). Konzeption und Durchführung der Allgemeinen Bevölkerungsumfrage der Sozialwissenschaften (ALLBUS) 2004. ZUMA-Methodenbericht No. 2006/06. Mannheim: Zentrum für Umfragen, Methoden und Analysen (ZUMA).

  22. Haucap J., Just T. (2010) Not guilty? Another look at the nature and nurture of economics students. European Journal of Law and Economics 29(2): 239–254

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Johnson B. T., Maio G. R., Smith-McLallen A. (2005) Communication and attitude change: Causes, processes, and effects. In: Albarracín D., Johnson B. T., Zanna M. P. (eds) The handbook of attitudes. Taylor and Francis, New York, pp 617–669

    Google Scholar 

  24. Krosnick J. A., Judd C. M., Wittenbrink B. (2005) The measurement of attitudes. In: Albarracín D., Johnson B. T., Zanna M. P. (eds) The handbook of attitudes. Taylor and Francis, New York, pp 21–76

    Google Scholar 

  25. Kruglanski A. W., Stroebe W. (2005) The influence of beliefs and goals on attitudes: Issues of structure, function, and dynamics. In: Albarracín D., Johnson B. T., Zanna M. P. (eds) The handbook of attitudes. Taylor and Francis, New York, pp 323–368

    Google Scholar 

  26. Lloyd J. W. (1970) Role playing, collective bargaining, and the measurement of attitude change. Journal of Economic Education 1(2): 104–110

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Marlin J. W. (1991) State-mandated economic education, teacher attitudes and student learning. Journal of Economic Education 22(1): 5–14

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. McWilliams D. B., Pinney W. E. (1978) Economic education and attitudes toward the free enterprise system. Journal of Economic Education 9(2): 126–128

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Olson J. M., Zanna M. P. (1993) Attitudes and attitude change. Annual Review of Psychology 44(1): 117–154

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Pindyck, R. & Rubinfeld, D. (2005). Mikrooekonomie. 6th edn. Munich: Pearson Education.

  31. Potrafke, N., Fischer, M., & Ursprung, H. W. (2012). Does the field of study influence students’ political attitudes? Paper presented at the World Public Choice Society Meetings 2012, Miami.

  32. Prislin R., Wood W. (2005) Social influence in attitudes and attitude change. In: Albarracín D., Johnson B. T., Zanna M. P. (eds) The handbook of attitudes. Taylor and Francis, New York, pp 671–706

    Google Scholar 

  33. Rothman, M. P. & Scott, J. H. (1973). Political Opinions and the TUCE. Journal of Economic Education, 4(2), 116–124.

    Google Scholar 

  34. Rubinstein A. (2006) A sceptic’s comment on the study of economics. Economic Journal 116: C1–C9

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Scott J. H., Rothman M. P. (1975) The effect of an introductory economics course on student political attitudes. Journal of Economic Education 6(2): 107–112

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Smith, S. M., & Shaffer, D. R. (1995). Speed of speech and persuasion: Evidence for multiple effects. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 21(10), 1051–1060. doi:10.1177/01461672952110006 .

    Google Scholar 

  37. Soper J. C., Walstad W. B. (1983) On measuring economic attitudes. Journal of Economic Education 14(4): 4–17

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Stigler, G. (1959). The politics of Political Economists. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 73(4), 522–532.

    Google Scholar 

  39. Terwey, M., & Baltzer, S. (2009). Datenhandbuch ALLBUS 2008. No. ZA 4600. Köln, Mannheim: Gesellschaft sozialwissenschaftlicher Infrastruktureinrichtungen (GESIS).

  40. Terwey, M., Bens, A., & Baumann, H. (2008). Datenhandbuch ALLBUS 2004. No. ZA3762. Köln, Mannheim: Gesellschaft sozialwissenschaftlicher Infrastruktureinrichtungen (GESIS).

  41. Thompson F. A. (1973) The Interaction of cognition and affect: The issue of free trade. Journal of Economic Education 4(2): 111–115

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Torney-Purta J., Lehmann R., Oswald H., Schulz W. (2001) Citizenship and education in twenty-eight Countries: Civic knowledge and engagement at age fourteen. IEA, Amsterdam

    Google Scholar 

  43. Wegener D. T., Carlston D. E. (2005) Cognitive processing in attitude formation and change. In: Albarracín D., Johnson B. T., Zanna M. P. (eds) The handbook of attitudes. Taylor and Francis, New York, pp 493–542

    Google Scholar 

  44. Wenzel E. (2006) “Sozial ist, was Arbeit schafft?” Einstellungen zur Wirtschaftslage und Sozialen Gerechtigkeit in Deutschland. In: Falter J. W., Gabriel O. W., Rattinger H., Schoen H. (eds) Sind wir ein Volk? Ost-und Westdeutschland im Vergleich. Beck, München, pp 37–56

  45. Whaples R. (1995) Changes in attitudes among college economics students about the fairness of the market. Journal of Economic Education 26(4): 308–313

    Article  Google Scholar 

  46. Wood W. (2000) Attitude change: Persuasion and social influence. Annual Review of Psychology 51(1): 539–570

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Athanassios Pitsoulis.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Lange, A., Pitsoulis, A. Sources of politico-economic attitudes: students’ introspections. Soc Psychol Educ 16, 45–76 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11218-012-9195-1

Download citation

Keywords

  • Politico-economic attitudes
  • Attitude formation
  • Attitudes
  • Economic education