Attributing and Managing the Economic Crisis: Lay Representations in Three European Countries

Contributors:
  1. Xenia Chryssochoou
  2. Joachim Pires Valentim
  3. Chiara Volpato
  4. Pascal Marchand
  5. Pierre Ratinaud

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Description: As part of a larger research project we asked 1,806 adults from France, Greece and Italy to pronounce themselves about the causes of the current economic crisis and about the strategies that should be adopted by the countries to overcome it. The six factors extracted by the factor analysis revealed that the economic crisis was attributed either to the depletion of resources, or to the weakness of the financial system, planned conspiracy, system inequality, overconsumption, and the weakness of the political system. These causes had cross-national structural equivalence and overconsumption – a people blaming cause – was opposed to conspiracy attributions to a global power or to structural inequalities inherent to the system. Further analyses identified three types of strategies to exit the crisis: conforming to EU requests, rationalizing the public sector, and leaving the European Union, but failed to establish cross-national structural equivalence. Results thus suggest that there is some similarity in the discourses of the media that is reflected on people’s perceptions about the causes of the economic crisis, but that the strategies to exit the crisis are more linked to the socioeconomic conditions of the countries. (To appear in: International Revew of Social Psychology, volume 30, issue, 1, 2017).

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