Tracking Homo Oeconomicus – Development of the Neoliberal Beliefs Inventory

Researchers across the social sciences are beginning to note that neoliberalism’s influence is no longer restricted to macroeconomic and social policies, but can now be detected in individuals’ behaviors, relationships, perceptions, and self-concept. However, psychologists lack a means of assessing neoliberal beliefs directly. We collected data from three samples of U.S. undergraduates to develop and test a measure of neoliberal ideology, the Neoliberal Beliefs Inventory (NBI). The NBI may help psychologists specify and analyze the role of neoliberal ideology in shaping human behavior and functioning.

Taken together, these findings reflect the neoliberal tenor of contemporary U.S. discourse: that in our supposedly post-prejudice, meritocratic state and given adequate effort and skill, individuals can be the makers of their own fortune; on the flipside, misfortune and failure are therefore attributed to personal inadequacies rather than structural injustices. Belief in the promise of personal effort and the non-necessity of social intervention may also be reflected in the inverse relation between neoliberal beliefs and collective action.

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About Giorgio Bertini

Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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