Framing Financial Loses to Conservatives

In a series of novel framing experiments, researchers have shown that our self-identified political leanings correlate with how we perceive financial losses.

Hundreds of online participants chose between various flights, computers and so on. In each case they could plump for a cheaper option or a more expensive, greener option, the latter including either a ‘tax’ to help reduce carbon emissions, or an ‘offset’ to do the same – depending on how the choice was framed. Whether the expensive option was framed as a tax or offset made no difference to Democrat (left-wing) participants. By contrast, Republicans (right-wing) and Independents were much less likely to choose the more expensive option when it was labelled as a tax.