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Exploring Free Market Ideology:

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Cey Bay

on 27 January 2014

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Transcript of Exploring Free Market Ideology:

Exploring Free Market Ideology (FMI):
What lies beneath the surface?

The Underlying Complexity of FMI
Research done here at King's and abroad points to some of the factors that underlie FMI
Where does FMI come from?
Uncovering the different dimensions behind FMI
So where do we go from here?
Free Market Ideology: A brief history...
Why do research into Free Market ideology?
- Partisanship in both the Canadian and American political systems has led to the gradual decline of civilized political discourse in both countries

-As politicians become further entrenched in the party's politics rather than those of their constituants, the political parties and appear increasingly homogenous in their views

-This has led to a similar homogeneity in political discourse in the media, and as a result, in the lives of both Canadians and Americans

-Espousing the virtues of free market ideology has become a cornerstone of the political right, but do these individuals believe in FMI for the same reasons? Are there individuals who believe in FMI, but hold few other conservative views? In other words...

Are these political groups as homogenous as they appear?
- Adam Smith was a Scottish economist and Moral Philosopher during the Scottish enlightenment

-In his book
An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations
, Smith discussed how rational self-interest and competition can lead to economic prosperity

-Today, this economic philosophy is known as free market ideology or laissez faire ( leave alone) economics, although some have argued that Smith's ideas were perverted, and that
The Wealth of Nations
contained support for proportionate taxation and regulation of the markets (Smith, 1986)

-Measures have been developed in order to determine an individual 's endorsement of FMI, and recent studies have uncovered the underlying complexity behind such endorsement (Roney & Alexander, 2008)
Altemeyer, B. (1981). Right-wing authoritarianism. Manitoba: University of Manitoba Press.
Berinsky, A. J., Huber, G. A., & Lenz, G. S. (2012). Evaluating online labor markets for experimental research: Amazon. com's mechanical turk. Political Analysis, 20(3), 351-368.
Camman, C. (2009). Paths to free-market beliefs: differing motivations for political ideologies. Unpublished honours thesis, King's University College, London, Ontario, Canada.
Davelaar, R. (2012). Underlying Motivations for Political Attitudes: Free-market Ideology and Social Conservatism. Unpublished honours thesis, King's University College, London, Ontario, Canada.
Kay, A. C., Gaucher, D., Peach, J. M., Laurin, K., Friesen, J., Zanna, M. P., & Spencer, S. J. (2009). Inequality, discrimination, and the power of the status quo: Direct evidence for a motivation to see the way things are as the way they should be. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 97(3), 421-434. doi: 10.1037/a0015997
Pratto, F., Sidianus, J., Stallworth, L. M., & Malle, B. F. (1994). Social dominance orientation: A personality variable predicting social and political attitudes [Electronic version]. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67, 741-763.
Roney, C. & Alexander, B. (2008). The psychology of free-market ideology. Unpublished manuscript.
Roney, C.(2009). The Psychology of Free-market Ideology; Links between Economic and Social Conservatism. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the ISPP 32nd Annual Scientific Meeting, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland
Sibley, C. G., & Duckitt, J. (2008). Personality and prejudice: A meta-analysis and theoretical review. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 12(3), 248-279. doi: 10.1177/1088868308319226
Smith, A. (1986). The wealth of nations: An inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations (A. Skinner, Ed.). New York: Penguin. (Original work published 1776)

What underlying variables influence the endorsement of FMI?
- Recent research at King's has pointed to a connection between FMI, social dominance orientation (SDO), right wing authoritarianism (RWA), and another factor unrelated to social conservatism (Roney, 2009)

-SDO and RWA were found to independently predict free-market ideology, while it seems logical that SDO would predict FMI, what about RWA? (Camman, 2009)

-RWA has been linked to submission to perceived legitimate authorities, aggressiveness sanctioned by these authorities, and adherence to conventions endorsed by the same authorities (Altemeyer, 1981)
While SDO's emphasis on competition and survival of the fitttest seems to coincide with FMI, why would individuals who measure high on the RWA scale also endorse FMI?
-Previous Research has indicated that SDO and RWA independently predict FMI, but what about the third factor? Are individuals high in RWA or SDO homogenous groups? Research has indicated that this is not the case

-RWA has been linked to traits like punitiveness and traditionalism, and it has been proposed that it may be this punitive aspect of RWA that is behind the link between RWA and FMI (Roney, 2009)

-SDO finds its roots in a belief in competition, and this is believed to be the reason people who measure high in SDO also measure high in endorsement of FMI; however it has also been proposed that these individuals might support FMI to maintain their advantaged position (Camman, 2009)
The complexity of RWA
-People high in RWA are perhaps the most puzzling group who endorse FMI. Why would individuals who are high in their desire for conformity, security, order and structure support a free market system with no government oversight? (Sibley & Duckitt, 2008)
How does the new FMI questionnaire seek to answer these questions?
What can the results tell us?
- It is hypothesized that respondents will either score high on the punitive or the traditionalism items on the questionnaire if they also score high in FMI and RWA

-Additionally, if participants score high on traditionalism measures it is hypothesized that they will also score high on the socialism measures as well
What about SDO?
-It seems intuitive that SDO would be highly correlated with belief in a free market system because of its inherent assumption that there is legitimate inequality between groups, and a free market system allows for this inequality to exist (Pratto, Sidianus, Stallworth, & Malle, 1994).
How does the new FMI questionnaire seek to answer this question?
-The new FMI questionnaire contains several items that relate to a competition based SDO model
What can the results tell us?
-It is hypothesized that individuals who score high on SDO and FMI measures will also score high on measures of competitiveness and low in fairness
The unknown factor in FMI
-Recent research into FMI has uncovered a third factor that independently predicts endorsement of FMI (Roney, 2009)
How does the new questionnaire address this new factor?
-The new questionnaire contains items that measure belief in pure economics (the endorsement of Free markets based purely on the idea that they are economically superior to other systems)
What can the results tell us?
-By exploring this new unknown factor we may be able to discover whether it is a single factor or actually several factors
-Upon completion of the consent forms and receiving instructions on filling out the questionnaires, participants will proceed to complete each of the questionnaires.

-The first questionnaire will contain a measure of free market beliefs combined with the new FMI items. Participants will also be asked to complete a right-wing authoritarianism scale, social dominance orientation scale, an internal-external locus of control scale, a distributive and procedural justice scale and a multidimensional measure of religiousness/spirituality. These questionnaires will be presented in a random sequence to minimize order effects.

-After completing the questionnaires, participants will be sent a debriefing form and contact information should they have any additional questions or concerns.
Implications and Importance
-The recent financial crisis has emphasized the importance of examining how our current financial system works and the political ideology of individuals who support the continuation of an unregulated financial market
In order to understand the underlying factors behind FMI, current research has involved the creation of a new FMI questionnaire. Participants in this study will complete this new measure alongside measures of SDO, FMI, and measures of religiosity, procedural justice, and locus of control.
-Perhaps it is the punitive aspect of RWA that leads these individuals
to support this system, as they do not wish the government to
support disadvantaged groups... (Roney, 2009)
-However, it may actually be the trait of conventionality
proposed by Altemeyer (1988) that is actually behind
belief in FMI, as the free market system has been
in place for a substantial amount of time

-The new FMI questionnaire contains seven items
pertaining to traditionalist views on free market systems
The free market has developed as a result of decades of refinement in North America and abroad.
-The new questionnaire also includes items regarding the
individual's view on socialism, a political system viewed by
some individuals as antithetical to the North american tradition of capitalism
Socialism may work in other countries, but our system has made our country the great nation that it is.
- Additionally, non-compassion/punitive items have been added to the new questionnaire as well
The Free market system gives equal opportunity for any individual to do well; those that don't succeed should not burden those that do.
Either of these results will help to explain why
individuals who score high in endorsing a market system free of government control would also endorse rigorous government control in other social systems.
-Meritocracy has been shown to mediate the relationship between SDO and FMI (Davelaar, 2012). Meritocracy being the belief that resource allocation is based on the worthiness of the recipient
-Given this significant interaction between meritocracy and SDO, there has been research into the relationship between SDO and system justification or the willingness to maintain situations of social inequality (Kay et al, 2009).
How can we understand whether system justification or simply belief in a competition based systems are behind belief in a free market system?
Rules and regulations governing free market transactions can only serve to reward undeserving individuals.
-The questionnaire also includes several items pertaining to
the fairness of the free market system from a questionnaire
developed by Jost
There are many reasons to think that the free market system is unfair. (R)
-Additionally, items have been included that emphasize the free
markets potential for change
The free market provides a mechanism for change in individual wealth.
-The interaction between FMI, SDO and emphasizing change
may be more complex. It is hypothesized that people who
score high on SDO and FMI will score low on emphasizing
change, but emphasis on change may also interact with
belief in FMI.
These results may help to explain why SDO predicts
endorsement of FMI. Additionally, emphasizing the
free market as a mechanism for economic change
may interact with high SDO individuals' belief
in the free markets.
-This new factor contains elements of free market endorsement, but also includes items that do endorse equality
-Individuals who score high in this new factor do not
score high in RWA or SDO
What underlying ideology provides the
underpinning for this new factor?
It is essential that an economic market be left to regulate itself in order to develop the most productive system.
-There are also items that measure an individual's mistrust in the current government
Governance of the free market should be left to bankers and economists, and kept out of the hands of politicians.
-Measures of pure economics and mistrust in goverment
may also correlate with Fairness items as well, indicating
a subsection of the population believes in free markets
because they believe an unregulated system is fair or free
of government corruption
These new measures may not be independent of
more liberal political views, and may provide a new dimension for partisan political dialogue,
and provide the underpinnings for new
exploratory research
Participants will be recruited from Amazon's Mechanical Turk program, an online crowd-sourcing marketplace. Approximately 200 participants will be recruited, and are expected to largely reflect the American population; however, white, female, educated participants between the ages of 20 and 45 years old may be slightly overrepresented (Berinsky, Huber & Lenz 2012).
-The recent shutdown of the American Federal government indicates a serious breakdown in bipartisan political dialogue. Both the right and left appear to view each other as homogenous groups, and dialogue between the two is vitriolic. This Research may help to emphasize that conservatives are not a homogenous group, and that even in their view of the economy
there exist independent and complex methods of reasoning
Understanding the psychological underpinnings of different political ideologies is an important first step in moving towards a more constructive dialogue between politicians
and citizens with conservative and liberal views.
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