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Open versus Closed
Personality, Identity, and the Politics of Redistribution

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  • Date Published: February 2017
  • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • format: Adobe eBook Reader
  • isbn: 9781108156516

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About the Authors
  • Debates over redistribution, social insurance, and market regulation are central to American politics. Why do some citizens prefer a large role for government in the economic life of the nation while others wish to limit its reach? In Open versus Closed, the authors argue that these preferences are not always what they seem. They show how deep-seated personality traits underpinning the culture wars over race, immigration, law and order, sexuality, gender roles, and religion shape how citizens think about economics, binding cultural and economic inclinations together in unexpected ways. Integrating insights from both psychology and political science - and twenty years of observational and experimental data - the authors reveal the deeper motivations driving attitudes toward government. They find that for politically active citizens these attitudes are not driven by self-interest, but by a desire to express the traits and cultural commitments that define their identities.

    • Integrating cutting-edge research from multiple fields, including psychology, political science and political economy, the book will be of interest to researchers from across the social sciences, as well as political observers from across the political spectrum
    • Uses a multi-method empirical approach focusing on national surveys, thereby demonstrating how research in political psychology can harness the power of nationally representative samples
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    Reviews & endorsements

    Advance praise: 'A creative and original investigation into the puzzling, polarizing and often contradictory personality-based forces driving economic policy preferences. It’s a fascinating read and a major contribution to the field of political psychology.' Kevin Smith, University of Nebraska, Lincoln

    Advance praise: 'Political psychologists know why people adopt particular stances on social issues but the sources of economic preferences remain murky. Johnston, Lavine, and Federico rectify this situation in one fell swoop with an inventive and compelling account of the reasons many people - especially the well-informed - frequently act contrary to their own economic self-interest.' John R. Hibbing, Co-Author of Predisposed: Liberals, Conservatives and the Biology of Political Differences

    Advance praise: 'Open versus Closed develops a fascinating theoretical argument around a central dimension of personality: the disposition for being ‘open’ or ‘closed’ to uncertainty and risk. Integrating disparate strands of research in political science, economics, and psychology, Johnston, Lavine, and Federico articulate two alternative pathways for how being open versus closed shapes opinions on fundamentally important issues of social welfare, redistribution, and government intervention in the market. Through wide-ranging observational and experimental tests, the authors show that political engagement plays a critical role in leading the open vs. closed citizen to develop opinions that, among the politically unengaged, reflect what they need and that, among the politically engaged, reflect who they aspire to be. Amidst a politically polarized and economically stratified society, [this] work reminds us of the critical importance of political elites and citizen engagement in channeling how personality informs what citizens demand from government and why.' Cindy D. Kam, Vanderbilt University, Tennessee

    Advance praise: 'This is a path-breaking study. It brings into view, arguably more dramatically than any previous work, the complexity - or perhaps better the perversity - of personality and political choice. Among other things, it is on the thinking of the politically aware and engaged, not the inattentive and indifferent, that personality, the emblem of the irrational, has its strongest impact.' Paul Sniderman, Stanford University

    Advance praise: 'Open Versus Closed is certain to have a major impact on the field. Not only do Johnston, Lavine, and Federico comprise a veritable all-star team of co-authors, their book embodies the best features of political psychology. It doesn’t give short shrift to the political in its exploration of the psychological. Instead the emphasis on the psychological allows them to solve an important political puzzle about attitudes toward redistribution that no one else has been able to crack.' Marc J. Hetherington, Vanderbilt University, Tennessee

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2017
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9781108156516
    • contains: 37 b/w illus. 41 tables
    • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • Table of Contents

    List of tables
    List of figures
    Acknowledgements
    1. Personality and the foundations of economic preferences
    2. The psychology of ideology
    3. A dual-pathway model of openness and economic preferences
    4. Testing the reversal hypothesis
    5. Openness and partisan-ideological sorting
    6. Openness and elite influence
    7. Political engagement and self-interest
    8. Personality and American democracy
    Appendices
    Bibliography
    Index.

  • Authors

    Christopher D. Johnston, Duke University, North Carolina
    Christopher D. Johnston is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Duke University, North Carolina. He is co-author of The Ambivalent Partisan: How Critical Loyalty Promotes Democracy (with Howard G. Lavine and Marco R. Steenbergen, 2012), which won both the David O. Sears award from the International Society of Political Psychology and the Robert E. Lane award from the American Political Science Association. His peer-reviewed research has been published in the American Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Politics, Public Opinion Quarterly, Political Psychology, American Politics Research, and elsewhere.

    Howard G. Lavine, University of Minnesota
    Howard G. Lavine is Arleen C. Carlson Professor of Political Science at the University of Minnesota and Director of the Center for the Study of Political Psychology. He is co-author of The Ambivalent Partisan: How Critical Loyalty Promotes Democracy (with Christopher D. Johnston and Marco R. Steenbergen, 2012), which won both the David O. Sears award from the International Society of Political Psychology and the Robert E. Lane award from the American Political Science Association. He has published articles in The American Political Science Review, the American Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the New York Times, and elsewhere. He is past editor of Political Psychology and current editor of Advances in Political Psychology and Routledge Studies in Political Psychology.

    Christopher M. Federico, University of Minnesota
    Christopher M. Federico is Professor of Psychology and Political Science at the University of Minnesota. His research interests include ideology and belief systems, the psychological foundations of political preferences, and intergroup attitudes. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2007 International Society of Political Psychology (ISPP) Erik Erikson Award for Early Career Achievements, the 2007 ISPP Roberta Sigel Junior Scholar Paper Award, and the International Society for Justice Research's 2009 Morton Deutsch Award. His research has been published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the American Journal of Political Science, Public Opinion Quarterly, Political Psychology, and elsewhere.

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