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versión On-line ISSN 1668-7027


GODOY, María Pía et al. Attitudes toward purchase, saving and indebtedness in university graduates from a public university of southern Chile. Interdisciplinaria [online]. 2018, vol.35, n.2, pp.511-525. ISSN 1668-7027.

Since the decade of 1970 onward in Chile, there has been a substantial change in terms of economic behaviour, which stems mainly from the installation of a neoliberal socioeconomic model. The profound consequences of this change for the Chilean society can be seen to this day, 40 years later, and these consequences include: broader access to goods and services for segments of the population that were previously excluded and/or that were a privilege of the economic elites; the assignation of new meanings to the concepts of purchase; and saving and indebtedness. These are all key concepts for the development and comprehension the neoliberal model. Complementary, the study of university graduates' behaviour is especially relevant in this area, considering that higher education is often thought to play a substantial role in social mobility. In the Chilean context, the transformations of the educational system have favoured the expansion of the admission numbers up to the point that seven of ten Chileans that pursue a graduate degree are the first members of their family to reach this educational level. Considering the above, the present study aims to compare attitudes towards purchase, saving and indebtedness in graduates from a university in southern Chile, by gender, socioeconomic level and faculty. The study follows a quantitative, cross-sectional, non-experimental, ex-post-facto design, with a descriptive-correlational scope. A questionnaire was completed by 120 participants contacted via snowball method. The questionnaire included: the Attitudes toward Indebtedness Scale; Attitudes toward Saving Scale; and Attitudes toward Purchase Scale, a scale that evaluates the participants' socioeconomic level and other sociodemographic information to help describe the sample. Descriptive analyses were carried out, along with mean and median comparisons for gender, socioeconomic level and faculty (t tests for independent samples and Mann-Whitney U tests). Finally, correlation tests with Pearson's r test were carried out to test associations between the scales and subscales. Results showed a profile that is desirable in university graduates in terms of attitudes towards saving, indebtedness and purchase, that is: favourable attitudes toward saving, austerity (a subscale of attitudes toward indebtedness) and rationality (a subscale of attitudes toward purchase), as well as negative attitudes toward hedonism (a subscale of attitudes toward indebtedness), and compulsivity and impulsivity (subscales of attitudes toward purchase). In terms of comparison, differences were found when comparing participants by gender in terms of attitudes toward compulsivity, and by their socioeconomic level by attitudes toward austerity in the indebtedness. Both these differences, although significant, were low when considering their effect size. No differences were found when comparing the faculty to which participants belonged in terms of attitudes toward saving, indebtedness and purchase. Finally, results showed associations between attitudes toward saving and austerity and with rationality, and between compulsivity and austerity (inversely) and with impulsivity. These results highlight the need to strengthen the attitudinal aspect in higher education environments where economic literacy is carried out, aiming to prepare students for their insertion into the workforce and their role as active citizens. Limitations of this study include the subjective self-report measurements used, which are susceptible to the effect of social desirability. This limitation hinders the extrapolation of the results in terms of attitudes into actual behaviour in the real world. Another limitation comes from the sampling method used (snowball) and sample size, which does not allow to generalize the results to the population. Drawing from both findings and limitations, suggestions for future research in the subject of economic literacy and related issues are outlined.

Palabras clave : Attitudes; Saving; Consumption; Purchase; Indebtedness; University graduates.

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