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PS30015 - Economic and Political Psychology (6 credits )

Alan Lewis

About the course

The course addresses the social and developmental psychology of political, economic and moral reasoning. Why are some people rich and others poor? Why do people variously become political activists, tax evaders or moral crusaders in the market place? The primary focus of the course in is how people make sense of the world, how these ideas are constructed, where they come from and the functions that they serve.

Processes of socialisation play an important part in the development of social and political explanations. How might these processes take place and how are 'common-sense' ideas constructed? Furthermore the relationships between 'élite' and 'lay' explanations are explored including the influence of models of the person described by philosophers and economists in particular and those aspects of 'human nature' which are taken, in a popular sense, as self evident. Certain explanations are shared by identifiable social groups; are these explanations ones that favour the social group concerned? How are these "social constructions" contested between competing sections of society? Back to top


10 lectures over a 12 week period, discussion of radio and T.V. programmes. 

Time and Location

Time 11.15-13.15 Fridays

Location 4E 3.5Back to top

Weekly Lectures at a Glance

Week 1 (Oct 10th) Theory and Method

Week 2 (Oct 17th) Getting older Younger (Video and debate).

Week 3 (Oct 24th) Economic Socialisation and Student Debt

Week 4(Oct 31st) Values and Lay Beliefs: Rhetoric and the Construction of Meaning

Week 5 (Nov 7th) Visiting Speaker: Dr Brian Young, Department of Psychology, University of Exeter; Title "Children, Consumption and Advertising"
Dr Brian Young's talk (Powerpoint)

Week 6 (Nov 14th) Morality and the Market

Week 7 (Nov 21st) The Meaning of Money and Mental Accounts

Week 8 (Nov 28th) PWE and the Economies in Transition

Week 9 (Dec 5th) (Cancelled: Alan Lewis at conference in Norway)

Week 10 (Dec 12th) Citizenship: Attitiudes to Taxation and Public Spending

Week 14 (Jan 9th) Environmentalism

Week 15 (Jan 16th) Revision Back to top


One, two-hour examination during the assessment period starting January 19th 2003.

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Economic and Political Psychology

Alan Lewis

Reading List


Adorno, T. W., Frenkel-Brunswik, E., Levinson, D.J. & Sanford. R.N., The Authoritarian Personality, Harper & Row, 1950.

Almond, G. & Verba, S., The Civic Culture, Little Brown, 1965.

Andrews, M., Lifetimes of Commitment, Cambridge, 1991.

Arnot, M. & Weiner, G., Gender and the Politics of Schooling, Routledge, 1987.

Billig, M., Ideology and Opinions, Sage, 1991.

Billig, M., Arguing and Thinking, Cambridge, 1987.

Bruner, J.S. & Haste, H. (eds), Making Sense; the child's construction of the world, Methuen, 1987.

Burgoyne, C. & Lewis, A., "Distributive justice in Marriage: equality or equity", Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, 1994, 412, 101-114.

Burgoyne, C., "Money in Marriage", The Sociological Review, 28, 634-665.Back to top


Cullis, J.,Lewis, .A. & Winnett, A. 'Paying to be good?UK ethical investments, Kyklos, 45, 3-24, 1992.

Colby, A. & Damon, W., Some Do Care; contemporary lives of moral commitment, Free Press, 1992.

Damon, W., The Moral Child, Free Press, 1988.

Dittmar, H., The Social Psychology of Material Possessions, 1992.

Earl,P., The Economic Imagination, Elgar,1983

Earl,P. & Kemp,S. (eds) Consumer Research and Economic Psychology, Elgar,1999

Eiser, J.R., Social Psychology, Cambridge, 1986.

Etzioni, A., Essays in Socio-Economics, Springer,1999

Etzioni, A., The Moral Dimension: Towards a new economics.Back to top


Farr, T. & Moscovici, S., Social Representations, Cambridge, 1984.

Fogelman, E., Courage and Conscience, Doubleday, 1994.

Fraser, C. & Gaskell, G. (eds), Attitudes, Opinions and Representations: Some psychological analyses of widespread beliefs, 1990.

Frey, B. Not Just for the Money,An Economic Theory of Personal Motivation, Elgar,1997

Furnham, A., Lay Theories, Pergamon, 1988.

Furnham, A. & Argyle, M., The Psychology of Money, Routledge, 1996.

Gilligan, C., In a Different Voice, Harvard 2nd ed, 1994.

Gilligan, C., Ward, J.V. & Taylor, J.M., Mapping the Moral Domain, Harvard, 1988.

Gunter, B. & Furnham, A., Children as Consumers, Routledge, 1998Back to top


Haan, N., Smith, B. & Block, J., "Moral reasoning of young adults", Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 10, 183-201, 1968.

Harré, R., Social Being, Blackwells, 1993.

Harré, R., & Gillett, J., The Discursive Mind, Blackwells, 1994.

Haste, H., The Sexual Metaphor, Harvester, 1993.

Haste, H. & Torney Purta, J. (eds), The Development of Political Understanding, Jossey Bass, 1992.

Hewstone, M., Stroebe, W., Codol, J-P & Stephenson, G., Introduction to Social Psychology, Blackwells, 1988.

Kagan, J. & Lamb, S., The Emergence of Morality in Young Children, Chicago, 1987.

Kitay, E.F. & Meyers, D.T., Women in Moral Theory, Rowman and Littlefield, 1987.

Kohlberg, L. & Candee, D., "The relationship of moral judgement to moral action" in Kurtines, W. & Gewirtz, J., Morality, Moral Behaviour and Moral Development, Wiley, 1984.

Kurtines, W. & Gewirtz, J., Morality, Moral Behaviour and Moral Development, Wiley, 1984.Back to top


Jones, P., Cullis , J. & Lewis, A. 'Public versus private provision of altruism: Can fiscal policy make individuals better people? Kyklos 513-24. 1998.

Lea, S., Webley, P. & Tarpy, R., The Individual in the Economy, 1987.

Lewis, A., The Psychology of Taxation, 1982.

Lewis,A., Morals, Markets and Money, 2002.

Lewis, A. , 'Economic Beliefs' in Fraser.C. & Gaskell, G. (eds) Attitudes,Opinions and Representations, Oxford, 1990.

Lewis, A., 'Fiscal Psychology' in Collard,D. (ed)Fiscal Policy, 1989.

Lewis, A. & Cullis, J. 'Ethical investments:Preferences and morality', Journal of Behavioural Economics, 19,4 395-411, 1990.

Lewis, A. & Warneryd, K-E (eds), Ethics and Economic Affairs, 1994.

Lewis, A., Webley, P. & Furnham, A., The New Economic Mind: the social psychology of economic behaviour, 1995.

Lewis, A. & Mackenzie,C. 'Green and ethical investing:Can it make a difference'. In Warhurst, A. (ed) Towards a Collaborative Environment Research Agenda, Macmillan, 2000..

Lewis, A., Mackenzie, C., Webley,P. & Winnett, A. 'Morals and Markets: Some policy implications of ethical investing'. In Taylor- Gooby, P. (ed) Choice and Public Policy, Macmillan,1998.

Lunt, P., & Furnham, A,. (eds) Economic Socialization, Elgar, 1996.Back to top


Maital ,S. & Maital,S., (eds) Economics and Psychology, Elgar, 1993.

Pahl,J . Invisible Money ,Policy Press, 1999

Pahl , J. Money and Marriage, Macmillan, 1989.

Pahl, J. 'His money,her money', Journal of Economic Psychology, 16,3 (special issue), 361-376, 1995.

Potter, J. & Wetherell, M., Discourse and Social Psychology, 1987.

Scott, A. et. al. Student Debt , 2001.

Smith, N.C., Morality and the Market, 1990.

Taylor-Gooby,P. (ed). Choice and Public Policy, 1998

Webley, P. et.al. The Economic Psychology of Everyday Life 2001.Back to top

Recommended Journals and other Sources

* The Journal of Economic Psychology. (See in particular editions on household decision making, economic socialization and fiscal psychology.)

* The Journal of Economic Perspectives.

* Journal of Socio-Economics (formerly the Journal of Behavioural Economics).

More information about courses and readings in economic psychology are available on the web:


See my c.v. on my webpage for the most up to date publications.

Please also make use of the Offprint Collection especially papers filed as economic psychology,moral development, development of values, psychology and politics.

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