Adult numeracy and the conversion to the euro in the Slovak Republic

Kubascikova-Mullen, Jana (2013) Adult numeracy and the conversion to the euro in the Slovak Republic. PhD thesis, Middlesex University. [Thesis]

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This thesis investigates Slovak citizens’ attitudes towards the Euro changeover and the numerical demands imposed on them in the context of the currency change. The numerical demands varied considerably from country to country depending on the simplicity or complexity of the conversion rates. This research into currency change follows in the tradition of economic psychology. A number of studies have examined the problems with currency conversion, including the development of price intuition, using this approach (Marques and Dehaene, 2004; Ranyard et al., 2003; Hofmann et al., 2007). The present research draws on this, and in particular on ideas from the ‘Psycho-Social’ (Hofmann et al., 2007) approach within the economic psychology and from Adult Numeracy tradition (Evans, 2000; Lave, 1988). The model used here studies the relationship between cognitive performance and affective variables, an approach based on Evans (2000). This account of the currency changeover emphasises the importance of the context in which numerical thinking takes place, and aims to study the adult learner with conversion/calculation tasks in everyday life contexts. In order to illustrate the support given by the state, organisations and communities on national and local levels to guide the currency conversion, descriptions of various documents are presented. This repeated cross-sectional study elicits responses from a series of representative samples of citizens in the Slovak Republic on their attitudes to the Euro, their context specific conversion strategies (Hofmann et al., 2007), and the development of ‘price intuition’ (Marques and Dehaene, 2004). Respondents were selected based on a tightly designed quota sampling method, controlling for region, age and gender to collect the required number of responses from each group. The research was conducted at five different points in time: the ‘pilot study’ was conducted before the introduction of the Euro in April 2008; Phase 1 took place during the dual circulation in January 2009, Phase 2 in August 2009; and Phase 3 in January 2011. All four phases used primary survey data. Additional clinical interviews were conducted in July 2012. Some results are compared to the Eurobarometer surveys conducted in other EU countries to place the findings in a broader context. A key idea is that of an adaptation strategy. Hofmann et al., (2007) proposed that there were four different forms of adaptation: a conversion strategy, an anchor strategy, a marker value strategy, and an intuitive strategy. At the beginning of the Euro changeover, the conversion strategy was the most frequently used strategy by all socio-economic groups and none of the other strategies were used very often. However, two years after the changeover citizens became more selective and used different adaptation strategies for different problem solving tasks with the intuitive strategy being the most frequently applied. Furthermore, Slovak citizens share some common concerns with citizens of other countries, such as the perception that prices in the Euro currency appear cheaper; something known as the ‘Euro Illusion’. The illusion was stronger when people started to rely on intuition to make purchasing decisions. Overall, the empirical results show that the Slovak citizens adapted rather well to the new currency and the policy makers managed to avoid unexpected price increases which were common in other Eurozone countries. The experience and lessons learnt could be informative and supportive for new entrants and policy makers, as the Euro is likely to be introduced in other countries, particularly Central and Eastern European countries. Since this study has been done the Euro has been introduced in Estonia and Latvia could be joining as early as January 2014 followed by Lithuania in 2015.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Research Areas: A. > Business School > Economics
B. > Theses
Item ID: 13129
Depositing User: Users 3197 not found.
Date Deposited: 13 Mar 2014 10:55
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2022 00:12

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