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Studying the Effect of Income on Punitive Attitudes with a Two-List Factorial


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Principal Investigator(s):

James Yocom
University of Wisconsin - Madison

Sara Wakefield
Rutgers University- Newark
Email: sara.wakefield@rutgers.edu
Home page: http://rscj.newark.rutgers.edu/faculty/member/wakefield-sara/

Sample size: 1013
Field period: 02/11/2005 - 02/16/2005

 

Abstract:

This project examines an often observed positive relationship in public opinion data between earned household income and punitive attitudes. Specifically, we investigate whether this relationship is mediated by experiences with the US Criminal Justice System (CJS). As well as testing our substantive hypothesis about the
mediating effects of criminal justice experiences, this project has a second, purely methodological objective of examining a new technique for factorial survey design. This technique will enable us to estimate the effects of CJS experience statistically without asking about any individual's specific experiences.

Hypothesis:

Does personal experience with the criminal justice system mediate the frequently observed relationship between income and punitive attitudes?

Experimental Manipulations:

Group 1: Four questions asking number of major life events experienced in recent years, and 1 question with a check-list of major life events

Group 2: Four questions asking number of major life events experienced in recent years, and 1 question with a check-list of major life events

Key Dependent Variables:

Five attitudinal questions on punishment.

Additional Information:

The lists in the experimental manipulation are chosen to allow estimating the effect of personal experience with the criminal justice system on punitive attitudes, though respondents only answer the total of life events applicable to them. This study extends the well-known "list method" used to ask sensitive questions in factorial-type surveys.

Summary of Findings:

The data are still being analyzed.

Conclusion:

The data are still being analyzed.

References:

Yocom, James. 2007. Categories and categorization effects in the study of punitive attitudes. University of Wisconsin--Madison. Master's thesis.


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