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When Self‐Interest Matters

When Self‐Interest Matters The relative influence of self‐interest and values on policy preferences was assessed experimentally in a national survey that posed questions about three contemporary political issues—Social Security reform, the home mortgage interest tax deduction, and health care benefits for domestic partners. For each issue, respondents were randomly assigned to one of three priming conditions that influenced the frame of reference for their policy evaluations. The results show that people are more likely to recognize their own self‐interest, and to act upon it, when their stakes in the policy are clear or when they have been primed to think about the personal costs and benefits of the policy. This relationship is somewhat weakened but not eliminated when sociotropic considerations are primed. People with a smaller stake in an issue are less likely to behave on the basis of self‐interest and more likely to be influenced by their values and symbolic predispositions, especially when exposed to information that cues sociotropic concerns, group identifications, or value orientations. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Political Psychology Wiley

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References (24)

Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 2001 Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., A Wiley Company
ISSN
0162-895X
eISSN
1467-9221
DOI
10.1111/0162-895X.00253
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The relative influence of self‐interest and values on policy preferences was assessed experimentally in a national survey that posed questions about three contemporary political issues—Social Security reform, the home mortgage interest tax deduction, and health care benefits for domestic partners. For each issue, respondents were randomly assigned to one of three priming conditions that influenced the frame of reference for their policy evaluations. The results show that people are more likely to recognize their own self‐interest, and to act upon it, when their stakes in the policy are clear or when they have been primed to think about the personal costs and benefits of the policy. This relationship is somewhat weakened but not eliminated when sociotropic considerations are primed. People with a smaller stake in an issue are less likely to behave on the basis of self‐interest and more likely to be influenced by their values and symbolic predispositions, especially when exposed to information that cues sociotropic concerns, group identifications, or value orientations.

Journal

Political PsychologyWiley

Published: Sep 1, 2001

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