Near Is My Shirt but Nearer Is My Skin: Ideology or Self-Interest as Determinants of Public Opinion on Fiscal Policy Issues

Hans Pitlik, Gerhard Schwarz, Barbara Bechter, Bernd Brandl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


P>Empirical studies often derive that personal attitudes toward policy measures are dominated by ideology instead of narrow self-interest. In the present field study we carried out a telephone survey with 1,003 respondents all over Austria. Instead of measuring selfishness indirectly by using more or less 'objective indicators' for self-interest, we requested that respondents directly assess whether they expect to be affected by policy measures. Our results indicate that subjectively measured self-interest explains attitudes toward economic policies at least as well as ideological conviction. In some cases ideology appears to determine whether people feel affected by a proposed policy measure. This supports the notion of a co-incidence of self-interest and moral arguments in low cost decisions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-290
Number of pages20
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2011

Cite this