Perceived Responsibility and Blame for Economic Success and Failure: Social Class and Employment Status Comparisons


Requests for reprints should be sent to Dr. Marianne LaFrance, Department of Psychology, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA 02167.


The present study tested the proposition that social class and employment status would differentially affect attributions of responsibility and blame concerning positive and negative economic outcomes. The hypothesis here is that subjects will not blame a person who fails to get a job after taking a retraining program. The hypothesis is based upon the assumption that individuals on the lower rung of the economic ladder are aware of the external circumstances operating against economic security. As predicted, the person experiencing failure was neither held responsible nor blamed for his outcome. Also social class and employment status affected perceptions of the reasons for the successful outcome.