Using linguistic analysis to understand how parents choose schools for their children

In economics, there is limited use of linguistic analysis to understand decision making processes and the contextual relationship between preferences.  Over the last 6 months I have undertaken field research to understand how parents choose a school for their children and the decision architecture associated with this choice.  The objective was not simply to collect information about stated preferences per se, but to understand the complexity of the decision process.   I collected 22 exploratory interviews from Melbourne and regional Victorian parents – with a reasonable level of diversity in family demographics – looking at how they approach the problem of choosing a school for their children.

The purpose of these interviews was to principally explore for interesting economic ideas and questions arising from field observations.  The intent was not to achieve a statistically robust collection of interviews of limited scope but instead to explore for opportunities that would warrant targeted econometric, experimental or theoretical research in the later part of my PhD.   The presentation I gave at the 2014 ‘Cooperation and conflict in the family’ conference on an intergenerational discount heuristic is one of the ideas that arose from these field observations/interviews.

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Review : Liberals and Conservatives rely on different sets of moral foundations – 2/2

Graham, J., Haidt, J., & Nosek, B. A. (2009). Liberals and conservatives rely on different sets of moral foundations. Journal of personality and social psychology,96(5), 1029.

In a previous post I reviewed the results and implications of this paper.  This post will focus on the paper’s use of linguistic analysis to identify distinct moral foundations in the texts of liberal and conservative church sermons.  Church sermons were used because sermons are generally written by individuals rather than a collection of writers used for political speeches.

The authors relied mostly on the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count  (LIWC) software program for their text analysis, plus some supplemental word count analysis.  Additional resources are available at their website .

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