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How Markets Shape Values and Political Preferences: A Field Experiment

How Markets Shape Values and Political Preferences: A Field Experiment How does engagement with markets affect socioeconomic values and political preferences? A long line of thinkers has debated the nature and direction of such effects, but claims are difficult to assess empirically because market engagement is endogenous. We designed a large field experiment to evaluate the impact of financial markets, which have grown dramatically in recent decades. Participants from a national sample in England received substantial sums they could invest over a 6‐week period. We assigned them into several treatments designed to distinguish between different theoretical channels of influence. Results show that investment in stocks led to a more right‐leaning outlook on issues such as merit and deservingness, personal responsibility, and equality. Subjects also shifted to the right on policy questions. These results appear to be driven by growing familiarity with, and decreasing distrust of markets. The spread of financial markets thus has important and underappreciated political ramifications. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png American Journal of Political Science Wiley

How Markets Shape Values and Political Preferences: A Field Experiment

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
© 2021 by the Midwest Political Science Association
ISSN
0092-5853
eISSN
1540-5907
DOI
10.1111/ajps.12517
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

How does engagement with markets affect socioeconomic values and political preferences? A long line of thinkers has debated the nature and direction of such effects, but claims are difficult to assess empirically because market engagement is endogenous. We designed a large field experiment to evaluate the impact of financial markets, which have grown dramatically in recent decades. Participants from a national sample in England received substantial sums they could invest over a 6‐week period. We assigned them into several treatments designed to distinguish between different theoretical channels of influence. Results show that investment in stocks led to a more right‐leaning outlook on issues such as merit and deservingness, personal responsibility, and equality. Subjects also shifted to the right on policy questions. These results appear to be driven by growing familiarity with, and decreasing distrust of markets. The spread of financial markets thus has important and underappreciated political ramifications.

Journal

American Journal of Political ScienceWiley

Published: Apr 1, 2021

References