Thursday, December 29, 2011

Focus on money by political orientation

In his wonderful political novel The Possessed, Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote that socialists obsess about their own money more than anyone. Anecdotally, the flaming lesbian socialist professor whose office is next to mine is constantly on the phone with someone talking about her investments. (I can see why she worries. She has a lot more money than the rest of us. Her salary is 20 percent higher than any faculty I know.)

The General Social Survey asked respondents who is in charge of family finances (sample size = 208). This might not be the perfect measure of concern for money, but it's the best one I could find.

Twelve percent of liberals compared to 24 percent of conservatives said their spouse takes care of the money. (Gender is not a factor. Also--most couples share the responsibility.) So, by this measure, twice as many conservatives don't focus on money.


  1. people who feel entitled to more money often get it because they simply ask where others don't.

  2. Anonymous10:57 PM

    "their spouse", not "they're".

    Also, a much better translation of the title of Dostoevsky's novel is "Demons".

  3. Interesting. My dad said his liberal friends did better economically that his conservative friends because his liberal friends stuck it in Vanguard and forget about it, whereas his conservative friends tried to play the market.

    And he's a conservative.

  4. Black Death11:37 AM

    Not sure what this proves, if anything. I run our business because I have the technical expertise to do it and my wife doesn't. She handles the finances because she's good at it , plus she has a CPA and MBA. Purely a practical decision. Like most small business owners, we're very conservative.

  5. How much would higher conservative marriage rates explain this?

    Can't have a spouse looking after the money if you don't got no spouse.

    And if Liberal people do have a preference for being emancipated individuals rather than married (thus why they marry later and rarely, possibly divorce more frequently) this might track wanting "my own money" rather than making the straightforward division of labor in financial matters to the most competent partner in a trusting relationship.

  6. preference for being emancipated individuals

    Btw, I mean relative (to Conservatives) not absolute preference here.


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