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From description to explanation in cross-national research: the case of economic morality

Lopes, Cláudia Isabel Marques de Abreu (2012) From description to explanation in cross-national research: the case of economic morality. PhD thesis, The London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Abstract

This dissertation proposes a social mechanism to explain consumer fraud from a crossnational perspective. Drawing on data from the European Social Survey and the European Values Study, the dissertation seeks to: (1) contribute to the understanding of consumer morality expressed by dishonest behaviour in diverse economic and cultural contexts; and (2) demonstrate the value of research based on social mechanisms towards the advancement and integration of theories from diverse social sciences. By addressing individual-, national- and cross-level variation, an analysis motivated by social mechanisms moves beyond description, helping to explain the processes underpinning this complex social and political phenomenon. The contribution of this dissertation is twofold. From a substantive point of view, the dissertation fills a gap in the literature by offering a multilevel theoretical and empirical account for consumer fraud. From a methodological perspective, the dissertation differs from other pieces of cross-national research, making sense of cross-national data by alluding to a social mechanism that helps to explain social phenomenon by integrating different levels of analysis. This dissertation begins with a general introduction followed by a theoretical chapter, a methodological chapter, and three empirical papers, finishing with a general conclusion. The introduction provides information that guides and sustains the subsequent chapters. The theoretical chapter covers the substantive foundations of the research hypotheses and empirical studies, examining the state of the art of economic morality and consumer dishonest behaviour. The methodological chapter discusses the potentialities and pitfalls of cross-national survey methods and analytical strategies. This discussion is enriched by the insights of a systematic literature review—carried out in the context of this dissertation—that inspects how social mechanisms are addressed in studies using ESS data. The empirical studies are presented in the form of self-contained papers motivated by different research questions addressed with cross-national data. The conclusion brings together the partial conclusions from the three papers to reflect on methodological implications and future directions for research.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2011 Cláudia Isabel Marques de Abreu Lopes
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Sets: Departments > Methodology
Supervisor: Gaskell, George and Jackson, Jonathan
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/392

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