Human Foibles or Systemic Failure - Lay Perceptions of the 2008-09 Financial Crisis‎

Journal of Socio-Economics, Forthcoming

39 Pages Posted: 5 Jan 2010

See all articles by David Leiser

David Leiser

Dept. of Psychology - Ben Gurion University of the Negev

Sacha Bourgeois-Gironde

École Normale Supérieure (ENS); Université Paris II

Rinat Benita

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Date Written: January 3, 2010

Abstract

We examined lay perceptions of the recent financial and economic crisis through 1707 questionnaires, ‎administered via internet, to a varied group of volunteers in a range of countries: France, the US, ‎Russia, Germany, Israel, and sub-Saharan Africa. Respondents graded the contribution of a large ‎number of possible factors to the crisis, and answered several complementary questions. We were able ‎to identify two major conceptions, one seeing the economy as comprised of individuals, with failings of ‎moral or cognitive character, and the other seeing the economy as a complex system, endowed with ‎some resilience, functioning in cycles. Support for the former view was stronger than for the latter. ‎Several demographic variables were found to affect these perspectives significantly, including SES, ‎economic training, religious beliefs, and the extent to which the respondent was personally affected by ‎the crisis.‎

Keywords: lay understanding, financial crisis, social representations

Suggested Citation

Leiser, David and Bourgeois-Gironde, Sacha and Benita, Rinat, Human Foibles or Systemic Failure - Lay Perceptions of the 2008-09 Financial Crisis‎ (January 3, 2010). Journal of Socio-Economics, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1530804

David Leiser (Contact Author)

Dept. of Psychology - Ben Gurion University of the Negev ( email )

1 Ben-Gurion Blvd
Beer-Sheba 84105, 84105
Israel

HOME PAGE: http://www.bgu.ac.il/~dleiser

Sacha Bourgeois-Gironde

École Normale Supérieure (ENS) ( email )

45 rue d’Ulm
Paris Cedex 05, F-75230
France

Université Paris II ( email )

12 place du Pantheon
Paris cedex 06, 75231
France

Rinat Benita

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev ( email )

1 Ben-Gurion Blvd
Beer-Sheba 84105, 84105
Israel

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