While we know that emotional reactions are important influences on political behavior, we know far less about the sources of these emotions. This paper studies the causes of fear and anger in reaction to a negative stimulus: the financial crisis. Anger should have been experienced among individuals who believed a specific actor was to blame for the crisis. Moreover, individuals should have been particularly angry if they blamed an actor who should be accountable to them, for example the national government. I test these expectations using a panel survey run in Britain between 2005 and 2010. This data shows that British citizens experienced anger if they held an actor responsible for the crisis. Moreover, they felt particularly angry if they held the Labour government (and to a lesser extent the European Union) responsible. These findings underline the importance of studying the causes of emotional reactions and show how these may be linked to common institutional distinctions between political systems.
Political Behavior – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 9, 2013
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