Publications by Year: 2015

Kristian Sonnenberg. 2015. “Når Det Gjelder Som Mest. En Studie Av Tillit Til Myndigheter for Å Håndtere Terrorangrep I Norge.” Department of Comparative Politics. Download here
Sveinung Arnesen and Stefan Dahlberg. 2015. “Opinion Polls’ Effect on Political Attitudes - Results from a Time-Series Survey Experiment in a General Population Web Panel.” In European Consortium for Political Research .Abstract
When people form their preferences on political issues, other people’s opinions matter to them. There is thus a potential self-reinforcing mechanism at play when individuals form their political preferences, where the aggregate level of support and opposition shaping public opinion. In this paper we present an experiment where we inform the treatment groups with a skewed distribution of opinions about a political issue, and then track the treatment effect over a sequence of polls with the aim of exploring the effect of the treatment over time. The research design of the presented experiment gauges to what extent knowledge of opinion polls as such have a lasting impact on people’s political preferences. Can polls themselves change the dynamics of public opinion formation among the citizens? To facilitate the implementation of the experimental design, we introduce a technical innovation which we label the Dynamic Response Feedback. This procedure automatically generates a pie chart with poll distributions from previous responses and uses it as information to respondents who are taking the survey in present time. By repeating this procedure several times a series of poll distributions are created within one survey wave. The survey experiment is conducted on 2500 respondents in The Norwegian Citizen Panel, which is a probability based web panel of Norwegian residents. The paper presents results from an experiment on the question of whether or not the respondents think that measles vaccination of children should be compulsory. We find that when respondents are presented with a poll that is slightly skewed in the sense that it displays a higher share of supporters for the issue than the true share (as found in the control group), the aggregate mean of the treated respondents also becomes higher. Moreover, the effect of the initial poll distribution has a diminishing effect over time which resembles a fading autoregressive (AR1) process becomes a factor of its own.
Sveinung Arnesen and Yvette Peters. 2015. “The Legitimacy of Representation. Selection Procedures and Socio-Economic Characteristics of Representatives in Decision-Making Processes.” In European Political Science Association Conference.Abstract
Representation is at the core of the democratic process in contemporary democracies. Many scholars have consequently studied the link between citizens and their representatives, and well as between that between citizens’ preferences and policy outcomes. Scholars have aimed to identify the mechanisms under which representation works, i.e. when citizens are indeed reflected in the representative body, and their preferences in the policies that are implemented. However, we know less about what citizens want in terms of the organization of representation. In this paper, we aim to investigate the legitimacy of representation, and to identify the sources of the legitimacy of a public decision. In order to answer this question, we have designed a survey experiment for the Norwegian Citizen Panel in 2014 which allows us to isolate some of such likely sources. More specifically, we examine under which of three conditions citizens are more likely to accept decisions that are not taken by themselves directly, but which are relevant for all citizens. These three conditions are 1) the selection process of the representatives (randomly selected; popularly elected; appointed experts), 2) the composition of the representatives (mirroring the socio-economic characteristics of the population or not, i.e. descriptive representation or not), and 3) the outcome of the decision (according to the respondents preference or not). As such, we aim to contribute to our understanding of the legitimacy of the representative policy-making process. Moreover, we explore the popular evaluation of representation, which further adds to the more ‘objective’ evaluation of matching citizens to representatives, or citizens’ preferences to policy output.
Erik Knudsen. 2015. “Framing the Third-Person Effect: Perceptions of Framing Effects on Self and Others.” In Normedia.Abstract
This study combines insights from the framing and third-person perception literature by exploring whether the third-person perceptual gap are sensitive to frames people receive through the news. As we have limited knowledge regarding whether people perceive some news frames more influential than others, this study focus on the third-person effect regarding episodic and thematic news frames. Through an online representative survey experiment (N=1424), I investigate the effects of valance (negative/positive) and news framing (episodic/thematic) on citizens’ attitudes, as well as on which frames people perceive as most influential on themselves and others. The results show that people’s attitudes are indeed affected by news framing. Moreover, people tend to perceive thematic and episodic news as equally affective for their own attitudes, but episodic news frames as more influential on others. This third-person perceptual gap increases among those exposed to news articles with frames/valance (compared to the control group without stimulus material), but the differences between valance and news framing does not seem to matter.
Erik Knudsen. 2015. “Mediating the Nordic Welfare Model: Journalistic Representations and Public Attitudes.” In Ica, Journalism Division.Abstract
This paper offers an analysis of how attitudes towards public sector organizations in Norway are shaped through a combination of a qualitative case study approach and quantitative survey analysis. We ask a) what is typical of media representations of public welfare organizations; b) how and to what extent such media representations contribute to influence citizens’ attitudes towards the Nordic welfare model; and c) to what extent this dynamic constitutes a challenge to the intangible assets of public sector organizations. The case study illustrates how journalism frames a severe case of state organizational neglect against an individual within the ‘individual against the system’ frame. Moreover, results from the survey reveal that media coverage and media representations is an important factor in fostering negative attitudes towards the welfare services, characterized by reverberating negative narratives and frames. We analyse and discuss these findings through the lens of journalism sociology and framing theory.
Marie Therese Kastet. 2015. “Media Effects on Opinions About Climate Change Mitigation and the Norwegian Petroleum Industry.” Department of Comparative Politics. Publisher's Version
Sigve Tjøtta. 2015. “You`ll Never Walk Alone. an Experimental Study on Receiving Money. (Submitted).” In 10Th Nordic Conference on Behavioral and Experimental Economics. Tampere, Finland. working_paper_03-16.pdf
Sveinung Arnesen, Stefan Dahlberg, and Jonas Linde. 2015. “Not Only Measuring but Also Shaping the Opinion? a Time-Series Survey Experiment on the Effect of Polls on Public Opinion..” In American Political Science Association Conference. San Francisco, 3-6 July. not_only_measuring_but_also_10_aug.pdf
Kjersti Fløttum and Endre Tvinnereim. 2015. “Som Du Roper I Skogen, Får Du Svar..” Bergens Tidende, 25 Jun, 2015. Read here
Mari Skåra Helliesen. 2015. “In Science We Trust, Through Ideology We Look: Explaining Climate Change Attitudes in Norway.” Department of Comparative Politics. Publisher's Version
Dag Wollebæk, Synne Sætrang, and Audun Fladmoe. 2015. Betingelser for Frivillig Innsats: Motivasjon Og Kontekst. Oslo: Senter for forskning på sivilsamfunn og frivillig sektor. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Hva er det som får folk til å delta i frivillig arbeid, hva motiveres frivillige av – og hvorfor slutter de? I denne rapporten presenteres omfattende analyser av betingelser for frivillig innsats, basert på datamateriale samlet inn i perioden 1998-2015. Resultatene viser for det første at det ikke finnes én universell forklaringsmodell på hvorfor folk driver med frivillig arbeid, men at ulike forklaringer snarere må anses som komplementære. Interesse, indre motivasjon, kostnad-/nyttevurderinger og primærsosialisering er blant faktorene som bidrar til å forklare hvorfor noen blir frivillige og andre ikke. For det andre understreker resultatene betydningen av å studere frivillig arbeid som en dynamisk prosess. Sosiale nettverk er særlig viktig i rekrutteringsfasen. Motivasjonen for å begynne med frivillig arbeid er ikke nødvendigvis den samme som motivasjonen for å fortsette. Og når man slutter kan det skyldes helt andre grunner enn endret motivasjon – ofte er det livssituasjonen som avgjør. For det tredje støtter resultatene opp om tidligere forskning som har antydet mer strukturelle endringer i frivilligheten i Norge. Individuelle motivasjonsforklaringer har generelt blitt viktigere over tid, samtidig som båndet mellom frivillige og enkeltorganisasjoner har blitt svakere. Denne tendensen peker i retning av en individualisering av frivilligheten, der betydningen av kollektiv tilhørighet svekkes.
Dag Wollebæk, Synne Sætrang, and Audun Fladmoe. 2015. Hovedfunn: Betingelser for Frivillig Innsats:motivasjon Og Kontekst. Senter for Forskning På Sivilsamfunn Og Frivillig Sektor. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Folderen oppsummerer rapportens hovedfunn, sortert etter følgende tema: RekrutteringBarriererMotivasjonFrafallPraktiske implikasjoner
Bjarte Folkestad, Dag Arne Christiensen, Kristin Strømsnes, and Per Selle. 2015. Hovedfunn: Frivillig Innsats I Noreg 1998-2014. Senter for forskning på sivilsamfunn og frivillig sektor . Publisher's VersionAbstract
Folderen oppsummerar rapportens hovedfunn, sortert etter følgende tema:
  • Nivå og omfang
  • Organisjonstypar
  • Medlemskap og organisasjonstilknytning
  • Kjenneteikn ved frivillige
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.