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Internal-external causal attributions and perceived government responsibility for need provision

Journal article
Authors Rez Shirazi
Anders Biel
Published in Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology
Pages 96-116
Publication year 2005
Published at Department of Psychology
Pages 96-116
Language en
Keywords Culture, gender, political ideology, internal external causal attributions of responsibility, mediation, social welfare provision
Subject categories Psychology


This study examines whether locus and importance of causal attributions for poverty mediate effects of gender and political ideology on attitudes toward social welfare provision. The study also examines whether cultural differences moder-ate effects of causal attributions on attitudes toward social provision. Analyses of data from 14 cultures (N = 4,018) showed a positive relationship between impor-tance of external causes of poverty and support for social provision of basic needs and a negative relationship between the internal causes and support for social provision. Political conservatives, in particular men, ascribed less responsibility to government for need provision than did liberals. The ideological differences were partly mediated by external and internal attributions, whereas gender dif-ferences were mediated by external attributions. Not only did culture moderate effects of causal attributions, cultural differences in support of social provision were also partially but extremely (e.g., United States vs. Ireland) mediated by causal attributions.

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