Interactions and social attitudes in American communities uri icon

abstract

  • If the views of people are conditioned by those around them, then local socializing interactions could explain the observed spatial patterns of attitudes towards socio-political issues (e.g., legal abortion). Using the U.S. General Social Survey (GSS) data on attitudes, combined with economic and population data from the U.S. Census and the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), we show that local socializing interactions do affect sociopolitical attitudes at the community level. We interpret our results drawing from the social psychology literature where interactions that bring contacts with individuals of heterogeneous characteristics lead to more agreeable positions. Cognizant of the reflection problem, we make a distinction between a group and a geographical cluster to achieve identification of the effects of interactions on attitudes.

publication date

  • 2017
  • 2017
  • 2017