Near Is My Shirt But Nearer Is My Skin: Ideology Or Self-interest As Determinants Of Public Opinion On Fiscal Policy Issues

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Several empirical studies derive that personal positions with respect to policy measures are dominated by ideology instead of narrow self-interest. In the present field paper, the authors 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, they requested respondents to assess directly whether they expect to be affected by policy measures. Their results indicate that such a subjectively measured narrow self-interest explains attitudes towards economic policies at least as good as ideological conviction. In some cases ideology appears to determine whether people feel affected by a proposed policy measure.