Journal articles

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.
Erik Knudsen, Mikael P Johannesson, and Sveinung Arnesen. 2017. “Selective Exposure to News Cues: Towards a Generic Approach to Selective Exposure Research.”.Abstract
This study argues for a generic approach to selective exposure research. Empirically, we dismantle the relative importance of three different forms of selective exposure to like-minded political news that has dominated the communication literature: message cues, party cues and source cues. In a uniquely designed conjoint experiment, a large probability-based panel of Norwegian citizens was faced with news headline choices, randomly varying several different factors simultaneously. We not only show that the effects are in line with previous research but also, more importantly, that these effects are additive and distinct effects that prevail when three known countervailing forces are accounted for. We conclude that scholars should move towards a more generic and less country specifi c approach to selective exposure research.
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, Mikael Johannesson, Jonas Linde, and Stefan Dahlberg. Submitted. “Do Polls Influence Opinions? Testing the Spiral of Silence Using the Dynamic Feedback Algorithm”.Abstract
Opinion polls may inadvertently affect public opinion itself as people change attitudes after learning what others think. A disconcerting possibility is that opinion polls have the ability to create information cascades or spirals of silence where the majority opinion becomes increasingly larger over time. Testing this hypothesis on attitudes towards Syrian refugees and mandatory measles vaccination, survey experiments are performed on a population based web panel using a novel automated procedure that measure the influence of an initial poll over subsequent polls. No indications of spiraling opinion gaps over time between the treatment and control groups are identified. The polls do however trigger a cognitive response as the treated respondents become more opinionated and alter their justification for their answers.
Sveinung Arnesen and Yvette Peters. In Press. “The Legitimacy of Representation. How Descriptive, Formal, and Responsiveness Representation Affect the Acceptability of Political Decisions.” Comparative Political Studies.Abstract
Literature on the topic has proposed that the reflection of society in a representative body in terms of relevant socio-economic characteristics improves the quality of democratic representation. Descriptive representation would help disadvantaged groups in their gaining of equal status, and it has been shown to affect policies positively—especially for those who have been disadvantaged. It is less clear, however, how citizens evaluate descriptive representation. We examine this concept from an individual perspective, and ask whether decisions are more legitimate when they are made by groups that reflect society in certain characteristics. For this purpose, we designed a survey experiment that we ran in Norway in 2014. 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 also experts. Moreover, 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.