Human Foibles or Systemic Failure - Lay Perceptions of the 2008-09 Financial Crisis
Journal of Socio-Economics, Forthcoming
39 Pages Posted: 5 Jan 2010
Date Written: January 3, 2010
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: Suggested Citation