The context matters – but rightly so? Students’ evaluations of government bailouts

Theme 5   Miscellaneous.

Secondary school seachers.

We combine phenomenographic interviews with a factorial survey experiment to study students’ reasoning and evaluations of government bailouts. This allows studying the sensitivity of the elicited conceptions to the contexts introduced within the phenomenographic interviews.

Specifically, our results show that students reasoning about government bailouts can be structured in a hierarchical outcome-space that encompasses six distinct conceptions. The results of the factorial survey-experiment show that conceptions are contingent on the context introduced within the questions of the phenomenographic interviews: We systematically vary the branch, size, age and market-type of our example cases. Students are more likely to favour government bail-outs of agricultural producers, of firms operating in a monopoly, firms that have existed for a long time (i.e. over 100 years) and firms with a large number of employees and profits. In contrast, variation in the evaluations is largely independent from student and school characteristics.

Our results contribute to the literature on conceptions and conceptual change in economics and informs the design of classroom interventions in civic and economic education.

Presented by: Franziska Birke (1, 1) and René, Tim, Andreas Buschong, Kaiser, Lutter

Interactive presentation

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