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.
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 specific approach to selective exposure research.
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.
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.
Is cooperation intuitive or deliberative? From an early notion of cooperation as a deliberate suppression of innate selfish preferences, a growing body of literature has turned the general perception towards prosocial behaviour as something intuitive, sometimes actively oppressed for the sake of selfish needs and wishes. If the dual-process framework from psychology gives a better description of decision making than do the classical economic models, this will have important implications for many economic models. Testing the social heuristics hypothesis through a sequential prisoners’ dilemma conducted both in the lab and by an online survey, I find no conclusive evidence that increased deliberation systematically changes willingness to cooperate with strangers. This is the first study (to my knowledge) to isolate the effect of a manipulation through preferences. The results hold for both a general regression of cooperation on the deliberation treatment, and for the main analysis, with separate effects through preferences and beliefs.
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.
The point of departure for this thesis is the inconsistency between national goals to conserve farmland, and the local management of this natural resource, which prevents Norway from complying with its national goals. The research question is: What role do party politics play in the management of Norwegian land resources? The state wants a high level of food security, and therefore needs land to be conserved for food production purposes. On the other hand many municipalities are experiencing growth and have needs for houses, industries, public buildings and infrastructure. According to theory on multi-level democracy the state will apply hard governmental tools when there is a conflict between national and local goals. Even though such a conflict exists in this case, I find that local politicians have a relatively large room for manoeuvre in the management of farmland. I expect the parties’ agricultural ideology and municipal ideology to play out in how local politicians manage farmland. By content analysis of the party programs I place the parties along these two cleavages and find that the political parties do differ considerably on how strongly agricultural property should be regulated, and how much power should be decentralised on issues concerning land use. Through a survey question on land use in the seventh round of the Norwegian Citizen Panel I further find that respondents differ in the same way as the parties they would vote for along the cleavage of agricultural ideology. Still, regression analysis on farmland conversion in Norwegian municipalities shows that none of the cleavages have a statistically significant effect on the local management of farmland. To find out why this is not the case, I execute a comparative case study of the two municipalities of Spydeberg and Hobøl. They are chosen through a Most Similar Systems Design as they are equal in every geographic and demographic respect, but they converted a very different amount of farmland in the four-year-period before and after 2011. Both also experienced a change in party leadership in 2011, and therefore reflect the apparent lacking party effect on local management of farmland. By interviewing politicians and others working with farmland conversion, I find that most of them consider party politics to be very important locally, even though it is not reflected in how much farmland that is actually converted. The main finding of the thesis is that conservation of farmland is weighted in a local context, not in a party political one.
Norway has a long history of discrimination against a group of Roma, namely the Tater/Romani people. In 1998, the Norwegian authorities officially apologised for the way in which the Tater/Romani people had been treated. A few years later, another group of Roma started coming to Norway from Eastern Europe to make a living through begging. By the time these individuals came to Norway laws against discrimination were in place, but we have seen many examples of hateful speech or acts directed against Roma people. The research question of this thesis is: To what extent do Norwegian citizens’ attitudes towards Roma reflect the ideals embedded in the laws against discrimination? To answer this question, I use secondary literature to examine the history of Roma and antiziganism in Norway. I also document the political efforts that have been made to limit discrimination in Norway. I then discuss theories on why one would think the ideals of the anti-discrimination laws have been met. I use survey experiments to examine attitudes towards immigrant Roma and find that despite the tremendous political change described in the first part of the thesis, there is not equal treatment of the Roma minority in Norway today.
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