The Impact of Objective and Empathic Dispositions on Local Government Budget Analysts' Spending Preferences

26 Pages Posted: 2 Mar 2004

See all articles by Clifford P. McCue

Clifford P. McCue

Florida Atlantic University - School of Public Administration

Abstract

The spending preferences of local government budget analysts are based on individual decision modes; how individuals attend to, encode, and process information. While academicians and practitioners tend to assume that a budget analyst's disposition to act leads to specific spending preferences, that assumption is rarely tested empirically. This study draws on two theoretical constructs derived from social psychology, rationality (objectivism), and emotions (empathy). Leary and his colleagues demonstrate that objectivism predisposes one toward rational decision making in a variety of settings, while Eisenberg and her colleagues show that highly empathic individuals are predisposed toward helping and prosocial behavior. Results of this study suggests that empathic budget analysts, those scoring higher on the empathy scale, have distinctly different spending preferences than those budget analysts scoring higher on the objectivism scale; empathic budget analysts are disposed toward humanitarian criteria in decision making while objective budget analysts are disposed toward quantifiable cost-benefit considerations.

Suggested Citation

McCue, Clifford P., The Impact of Objective and Empathic Dispositions on Local Government Budget Analysts' Spending Preferences. Public Budgeting & Finance, Vol. 19, pp. 89-114, March 1999. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=468266

Clifford P. McCue (Contact Author)

Florida Atlantic University - School of Public Administration ( email )

University Tower
220 SE 2 Avenue - 616-K
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
United States

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