Journal articles

Here you will find journal articles using the Norwegian Citizen Panel or the Citizen Lab. You will also find journal articles from DIGSSCORE-affiliated researchers working on related methods or themes.

Sveinung Arnesen, Mikael P Johannesson, Jonas Linde, and Stefan Dahlberg. 2017. “Do Polls Influence Opinions? Investigating Poll Feedback Loops Using the Novel Dynamic Response Feedback Experimental Procedure.” Social Science Computer Review. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Opinion polls may inadvertently affect public opinion, as people may change their attitudes after learning what others think. A disconcerting possibility is that opinion polls have the ability to create information cascades, wherein the majority opinion becomes increasingly larger over time. Testing poll influence on attitudes toward Syrian refugees and mandatory measles vaccination, we field survey experiments on a probability-based online survey panel. Through a novel automated procedure labeled the dynamic response feedback, we measure whether the answers from early poll respondents can influence the opinions of subsequent respondents who learn the answers of the previous respondents. Using this procedure, no feedback loops are identified.
Kjersti Fløttum and Øyvind Gjerstad. 2016. “Narratives in Climate Change Discource.” Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change. Download article hereAbstract
‘Stories’ used to communicate climate change knowledge shape opinions and preferences, and analyzing such narratives can help explain how they are constructed and how they influence us on personal and societal scales. The narrative perspective makes it possible to identify the presence or absence of typical components in a ‘story,’ such as initial situation, complication, reaction(s), resolution, and final situation, and to identify different actors or narrative characters (heroes, villains, victims). This article reviews the notions of narratives and frames, describes narrative analysis generally and more specifically how a text linguistic perspective can benefit from and contribute to the Narrative Policy Framework in narrative analysis. It illustrates how different approaches can be applied as analytical tools to explore the effects of conflicting narratives (frames) on public opinion of and attitudes towards climate change. Applied to various text genres, the analysis identifies different components of the ‘stories,’ at overarching levels of the text as a whole and at microlevels such as sentences. This may have rhetorical implications, as controversial points of view can be hidden from critical assessment through the condensation of narrative components into short expressions. When exposed to conflicting ‘stories,’ people get a diverse picture of climate change, a diversity which may, however, also lead to confusion about how to react. Concerning the narrative characters, recent research indicates that a clear hero role has a large persuasive impact. More experiments testing how people interpret various narratives should be undertaken in an interdisciplinary perspective, combining social science, and linguistic approaches. WIREs Clim Change 2017, 8:e429. doi: 10.1002/wcc.429
Cornelius Cappelen and Stefan Dahlberg. 2017. “The Law of Jante and Generalized Trust.” Acta Sociologica. Download article hereAbstract
A widespread cultural phenomenon – and/or individual disposition – is the idea that one should never try to be more, try to be different, or consider oneself more valuable than other people. In Scandinavia this code of modesty is referred to as the ‘Jante mentality’, in Anglo-Saxon societies the ‘tall puppy syndrome’, and in Asian cultures ‘the nail that stands out gets hammered down’. The study reported here examines how this modesty code relates to generalized trust. We argue, prima facie, that a positive and a negative relationship are equally plausible. Representative samples of the Norwegian population were asked about their agreement with the Jante mentality and the extent to which they have trust in other people. Two population surveys were conducted; one measuring individual level associations and another measuring aggregate level associations. It was found that the relationship between having a Jante mentality and trust is negative, at both levels of analysis and, furthermore, that the Jante mentality – this modesty code assumed to be instilled in Scandinavians from early childhood – is a powerful predictor of generalized trust.
Dag Arne Christensen and Jacob Aars. 2017. “Nordmenns Holdninger Til Telefonavlytting: Resultater Fra Et Surveyeksperiment.” Tidsskrift for Samfunnsforskning, 2, 58: 191-209. Read hereAbstract
One of the basic functions of the state is to provide security for its citizens, with mitigating fear an important element of counter-terrorist policies. Policies like this may in turn reflect citizens' psychological reactions to terrorist events. Terrorism often leads to increased intolerance towards groups perceived as «different». Here, we ask whether people’s perceptions of the use of wiretapping differ depending on who the target of these measures is. For example, do citizens differ clearly between radical Muslims and Muslims in general, or has fear of terror contributed to a general distrust of Norwegian Muslims? We also ask why some are ready to give the police leeway in using secret methods, while others are reluctant. In order to answer these questions, we conducted a survey experiment and found that the population's support is highly dependent on the target group of the portended wiretap. However, although the respondents’ attitudes are sensitive to exposure to target groups, our study rejects the assumption that fear of terrorism has led to low tolerance towards Muslims in general. Finally, citizens' willingness to allow wiretapping is dependent on the characteristics of the inhabitants themselves. Keywords: Terrorism, surveillance, privacy, group thinking, survey experiment Staten har en oppgave i å skape trygghet for innbyggerne. Det å avdempe frykt er et viktig element i antiterrorpolitikken, og denne politikken kan i sin tur reflektere innbyggernes psykologiske reaksjoner på terrorhendelser. Forskning, spesielt fra USA, viser at terrorfrykt er assosiert med økt intoleranse og sterke fordommer overfor grupper som oppfattes som «annerledes». Med dette som utgangspunkt spør vi om nordmenn setter grensen for bruk av telefonavlytting forskjellig, avhengig av hvem som er målgruppen for slik avlytting. For eksempel, skiller innbyggerne tydelig mellom radikale muslimer og muslimer generelt, eller har terrorfrykten bidratt til en generell mistro mot norske muslimer? Vi spør også hvorfor noen er tilbøyelige til å gi Politiets Sikkerhetstjeneste (PST) et stort handlingsrom, mens andre er motstandere. Disse spørsmålene besvares med bakgrunn i et surveyeksperiment gjennomført høsten 2015. Vi finner at hvilke grupper PST ønsker å bruke telefonavlytting overfor, har stor betydning for befolkningens støtte til slik avlytting. Våre resultater tyder derimot ikke på at terrorfrykt gir lavere toleranse overfor muslimer som gruppe. Innbyggernes villighet til å gi PST det PST ønsker er også i høy grad betinget av kjennetegn ved innbyggerne selv. Nøkkelord: Terrorisme, overvåking, personvern, gruppekategorisering, surveyeksperiment
Gudmund Grønhaug. 2017. “Addressing the Elephant in the Room: A Possible New Way to Increase Patient Adherence to Medical Advice.” Patient Preference and Adherence, 11: 1083-1089. Find at journalAbstract
Lack of patient adherence to medical advice (PAMA) is recognized as an area of interest. None of the previous initiatives to improve PAMA, such as patient centered care and shared decision making, have proved to be successful in terms of improving patient adherence. The aim of the present study is to assess beliefs about priorities in public health care, and adherence to medical advice, to establish a novel approach to increase PAMA. The present study is based on responses to two questions in an experimental survey from the Norwegian Citizen Panel, addressing people’s attitudes to priorities in public health care and adherence to medical advice. The questions on priorities in the health care sector are organized into six groups. The questions on adherence are organized into three groups. All questions are answered on a 7-point Likert scale. This study is the first to use experimental surveys to assess PAMA. The results indicate that if health care providers refer to national expertise and patient organizations’ recommendations on a given treatment, PAMA could improve. Although technical and methodological interventions in health care have, to some extent, improved PAMA, medical adherence is still low. In the present study, it is shown that integrating either national expertise or collaborated messages with other health professions and patient organizations’ recommendations in everyday care may help improve patients adherence to medical advice. A minor change in how treatment suggestions are presented could improve PAMA.
Elias Naumann. 2017. “Immigration and Support for Redistribution: Survey Experiments in Three Europen Countries.” West European Politics. Find at journalAbstract
In times of increasing globalisation scholars put considerable efforts into understanding the consequences of immigration to the welfare state. One important factor in this respect is public support for the welfare state and redistribution. This article presents results from a unique survey experiment and a panel study in three European countries (Norway, Germany and the Netherlands) in order to examine whether and how individuals change their preference for redistribution when faced with immigration. Theoretically, citizens with high incomes should be especially likely to withdraw their support for redistribution because they fear the increased fiscal burden, whereas other types of citizens might ask for more compensation for the increased labour market risks caused by immigration. The empirical evidence reveals that only respondents with high incomes and those who face low labour market competition withdraw support for redistribution when faced with immigration.
Endre Tvinnereim and Elisabeth Ivarsflaten. 2016. “Fossil Fuels, Employment, and Support for Climate Policies.” Energy Policy, 96: 364-371. Find at journalAbstract
We know that the costs of implementing various climate change mitigation policies are not uniformly distributed across individuals in society, but we do not know to what extent this unequal cost distribution influences public support for these various policies. This study shows that cost distribution is an important explanation for variations in public support for various climate policies. Using individual-level data on industry of employment and support for a range of climate policies, we find that those employed in the fossil fuel industry are less likely to support climate policies that are particularly costly to their industry, but are as likely as everybody else to support policies with lower costs to the industry. This finding challenges the traditional bifurcation between climate change "skeptics" and "acceptors." Furthermore, we find that opposition to renewable energy by large fossil fuel producers and consumers, identified in the political economy literature, is not uniformly found among these companies’ employees. The most important implication of this study for policy makers is that support for climate policies is sensitive to the compensation of exposed groups and stimulation of alternative avenues for employment.
Eelco Harteveld and Elisabeth Ivarsflaten. 2016. “Why Women Avoid the Radical Right: Internalized Norms and Party Reputations.” British Journal of Political Science. Find at journalAbstract
Radical Right Parties (RRPs) consistently attract more male than female voters. Puzzlingly, there is no equally consistent gender difference in policy preferences on the main issues of these parties – immigration and minority integration policies. Indeed, in some countries, for instance the UK, women have as restrictive immigration policy preferences as men, but are still less likely to vote for RRPs. This article proposes a novel answer to this gender gap puzzle that emphasizes the normative conflicts about prejudice and discrimination that surround RRPs across Europe. It uses representative survey data to show, for the first time, that women are more likely than men to be motivated to control prejudice, and that this difference in motivations has political consequences. More specifically, the study demonstrates that the higher prevalence of internal motivation to control prejudice among women accounts for the gender gap in voting for RRPs that become trapped in conflicts over discrimination and prejudice. Voting patterns for RPPs that have been able to defuse normative concerns about prejudice, such as the Progress Party currently in government in Norway, are different.
Sveinung Arnesen and Yvette Peters. 2017. “The Legitimacy of Representation. How Descriptive, Formal, and Responsiveness Representation Affect the Acceptability of Political Decisions.” Comparative Political Studies. Download article hereAbstract
We examine how descriptive representation, formal representation, and responsiveness affect the legitimacy of political decisions: Who are the representatives, how are they selected, what is the outcome of the decision-making process, and to what extent do these three aspects matter for decision acceptance among the citizens? We examine this from the citizens’ perspective, and ask whether decisions are perceived as more legitimate when they are made by groups that reflect society in certain characteristics and chosen according to certain selection procedures. In a Norwegian survey experiment, we find that people are more willing to accept a decision when it is made by a group of people like them, and who are assigned as decision makers based on their expertise. Descriptive representation also serves as a cushion for unfavorable decisions. Moreover, when asked, the traditionally less advantaged groups tend to value descriptive representation more than other citizens.
Sveinung Arnesen. 2017. “Legitimacy from Decision-Making Influence and Outcome Favorability: Results from General Population Survey Experiments..” Political Studies . Find at journalAbstract
Democracies are typically considered more legitimate than other types of regimes because they allow the citizens to participate in the policy decision-making process. Others argue that the policy output matters most, and citizen influence plays a lesser role. This study presents two survey experiments on the micro foundations of these two sources of political legitimacy, thus contributing to an emerging literature that experimentally investigates the effects of democratic procedures in small-scale settings. Respondents who saw the decision going in their favour found the decision much more acceptable than the respondents who preferred another outcome. Conversely, decision-making influence generally did not serve as a legitimising factor among the respondents. This result supports the argument that citizens prefer a stealth democracy where they are minimally involved in democratic decision-making processes.
Alexander Cappelen, Cornelius Cappelen, Stein Kuhnle, and Bertil Tungodden. Submitted. “How to Tighten Social Security: Attitudes in the General Population”.Abstract
In recent years, OECD countries have faced pressure to cut the costs of social security and different strategies have been utilized to achieve this:
  • Stricter eligibility requirements.
  • Reduced level of benefits.
  • Reduced maximum duration of benefits.
In order to better understand the political support for these three strategies, this contribution reports the results from a survey designed to measure which of them that the general population would prefer given the assumption that cost cuts are necessary.             A key difference between them is how they distribute the burden of cost reductions between different benefit recipients: Should the benefit reduction be equally distributed among all recipients (reduce the benefit level) or should it be concentrated on some groups (tighten eligibility)?             The main argument in favour of an equal distribution is that it would minimize the benefit reduction experienced by any particular individual. However, there are several arguments for an unequal distribution as well, for example that some groups could be less deserving (or include more “cheaters”) than others or that there could be larger efficiency gains from reducing benefits to some groups rather than to other groups.             For a given reduction in total costs, there is a trade-off between the desire to avoid large individual benefit reductions and the concern for protecting some groups of benefit recipients more than other groups. Different preferences for how to achieve cost cuts will reflect how individuals trade off these concerns.             We find large heterogeneity in how people make the trade-off and thus which of the strategies for cost reduction that they prefer. Right-wingers typically prefer to tighten the eligibility criteria, while left-wingers typically prefer to reduce the benefit level. Furthermore, we find that this difference does not primarily reflect different attitudes towards income and wealth redistribution, but are likely to reflect views about the deservingness of different groups and the importance of efficiency considerations.
Magnus Hoem Iversen and Erik Knudsen. 2017. “When Politicians Go Native: Consequences of Native Advertising for Citizens' Trust in Political News.” Journalism. Fukuoka. Find at journalAbstract
Declining revenues from offline and online ads has led publishers to pursue new avenues, such as native advertising: camouflaging ads as news. Critics of native advertising claim that this form of advertising blurs the boundaries between editorial and commercial content, and can reduce the audiences’ trust in editorial content. However, little research has assessed the possible effects of native ads on audiences’ trust in news. With an experimental design embedded in an online survey (N = 733) representative of the Norwegian population, this study explores the consequences of political native advertising for citizens’ trust in political news. This article discusses how political native advertising poses a challenge to the boundary between journalism and advertising as well as the boundary between journalism and powerful elites. Our study examines (1) how prominently native advertisements should be labelled in order for readers to recognize them as advertising content and (2) whether exposure to such ads reduces readers’ trust in political news. Our most important finding shows that when explicitly labelled, native advertising by political parties can reduce people’s trust in political news.
Kjersti Fløttum, Trine Dahl, and Vegard Rivenes. 2016. “Young Norwegians and Their Views on Climate Change and the Future: Findings from a Climate Concerned and Oil-Rich Nation.” Journal of Youth Studies, 8, 19: 1128–1143. Find at journalAbstract
Young people represent the future, but little is known about their attitudes towards climate change, one of the most serious issues facing the world today. The purpose of the present study is to contribute with improved and new knowledge of young Norwegians’ understanding of and attitudes towards this issue, with a special focus on perspectives of the future. Of particular interest is the influence of divergent framings of the climate question in Norway, due to conflicting interests between the petroleum industry and climate concern. The young people's voices are elicited through two different surveys undertaken during the fall of 2013, one national (Norwegian Citizen Panel) and one local (School survey conducted among high-school students). The study generated both quantitative and qualitative findings, stemming from closed-ended as well as open-ended questions. The data were handled through a mixed methods approach, combining quantitative and qualitative analyses. The results show that the voices tend to be oriented towards the opinion that Norway has a responsibility to help poor countries as well as a duty to prevent climate change and that the country should reduce its oil production. We further observe that young Norwegians have an optimistic view of the future, based on a pronounced belief in technology and science.
Endre Tvinnereim and Elisabeth Ivarsflaten. 2016. “Fossil Fuels, Employment, and Support for Climate Policies.” Energy Policy , 96: 364–371. Publisher's VersionAbstract
We know that the costs of implementing various climate change mitigation policies are not uniformly distributed across individuals in society, but we do not know to what extent this unequal cost distribution influences public support for these various policies. This study shows that cost distribution is an important explanation for variations in public support for various climate policies. Using individual-level data on industry of employment and support for a range of climate policies, we find that those employed in the fossil fuel industry are less likely to support climate policies that are particularly costly to their industry, but are as likely as everybody else to support policies with lower costs to the industry. This finding challenges the traditional bifurcation between climate change "skeptics" and "acceptors." Furthermore, we find that opposition to renewable energy by large fossil fuel producers and consumers, identified in the political economy literature, is not uniformly found among these companies’ employees. The most important implication of this study for policy makers is that support for climate policies is sensitive to the compensation of exposed groups and stimulation of alternative avenues for employment.
Endre Tvinnereim and Kjersti Fløttum. 2015. “Explaining Topic Prevalence in Answers to Open-Ended Survey Questions About Climate Change.” Nature Climate Change, 5: 744–747. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Citizens’ opinions are crucial for action on climate change, but are, owing to the complexity of the issue, diverse and potentially unformed1. We contribute to the understanding of public views on climate change and to knowledge needed by decision-makers by using a new approach to analyse answers to the open survey question ‘what comes to mind when you hear the words ‘climate change’?’. We apply automated text analysis, specifically structural topic modelling2, which induces distinct topics based on the relative frequencies of the words used in 2,115 responses. From these data, originating from the new, nationally representative Norwegian Citizen Panel, four distinct topics emerge: Weather/Ice, Future/Impact, Money/Consumption and Attribution. We find that Norwegians emphasize societal aspects of climate change more than do respondents in previous US and UK studies3, 4, 5, 6. Furthermore, variables that explain variation in closed questions, such as gender and education, yield different and surprising results when employed to explain variation in what respondents emphasize. Finally, the sharp distinction between scepticism and acceptance of conventional climate science, often seen in previous studies, blurs in many textual responses as scepticism frequently turns into ambivalence.