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.
In political science, it is held that a democratic regime is more legitimate than other types of regimes because it allows its citizens to take part in the policy decision-making process. Others argue that the policy output matters the most, and that citizen influence play a lesser role than recognized. This paper presents a survey experiment on the micro foundations of these two sources of political legitimacy. In a 2x2 factorial design experiment, respondents of the Norwegian Citizen Panel took part in a real decision on how to spend NOK 5000,-. The outcome of the decision and the respondents’ ability to influence the outcome were manipulated, and the respondents were asked to rate how acceptable they found the decision. It turned out that, in general, the respondents with an influence on the decision found the decision no more acceptable than those who had no influence. The only exception was those with high political interest: They tended to find the decision more acceptable if they had had the opportunity to influence the outcome than if they had not. What most respondents reacted to, however, was whether or not the outcome turned out as they had wanted it to. Those who saw the decision going against their preferences found the decision much less acceptable than the respondents whose decision was in accordance with their stated wishes. Though the robustness of these early findings must be tested, the results indicate that at the micro level, decision making influence is a less important source of political legitimacy than it is claimed to be at the macro level.
It is commonly held that democracies are more legitimate than other types of regimes because they allow the citizens to take part in the policy decision-making process. Others argue that the policy output matters the most, and that citizen influence play a lesser role than recognized. This paper presents a survey experiment 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 a 2x2 factorial design experiment, respondents of the Norwegian Citizen Panel took part in a real decision on how to spend NOK 5000,-. The outcome of the decision and the respondents’ ability to influence the outcome were manipulated, and the respondents were asked to rate how acceptable they found the decision. What most respondents reacted to was whether or not the outcome turned out as they had wanted it to. Those who saw the decision going against their preferences found the decision much less acceptable than the respondents whose decision was in accordance with their stated wishes. Decision making influence, on the other hand, did in general not serve as a legitimizing factor among the respondents. An exception was those with high political interest, as they tended to find the decision more acceptable if they had had the opportunity to influence the outcome than if they had not. This treatment effect heterogeneity is elaborated on and discussed in the paper.
Even though metaphors in political rhetoric have been studied since Aristotle, the metaphor’s persuasive ability is still not fully understood. Decades of experimental studies have, however, contributed to increased knowledge, indicating that metaphors are slightly more effective than literal language. In this paper, I do not only investigate the effects of a political conceptual metaphor versus literal language, but also how political party preference may be associated to the increase or decrease in such effects. Through data culled from the Norwegian Citizen Panel (N = 821), I employ a survey experiment to examine whether a conceptual metaphor – prominent in conservative politician’s rhetoric – yields a stronger effect than a literal equivalent, regarding citizens’ attitudes, and whether citizens’ political party preference increases or decreases such an effect. The results contradict previous results, displaying that there is no significant difference between the use of metaphor and the literal language. In fact, the literal yields the strongest effect. Whether political party preference is effective remains unknown, as the results are inconclusive.
Denne rapporten gir en oversikt over den til nå mest omfattende kartleggingen av norske medborgeres holdninger til prioritering i helsesektoren. Det er også så langt vi vet den første studien i Norge som gjør bruk av spørreundersøkelseseksperimenter til å teste forskjeller i oppslutning om ulike prioriteringskriterier. Et overordnet resultat er at helse er viktig for norske medborgere og at dette er et felt hvor vi finner tydelige holdninger som ikke så lett påvirkes av små endringer i spørsmålsstilling. En årsak til dette kan være at svært mange medborgere har egen erfaring med helsevesenet. Hele 80% av respondentene rapporterer at de har vært i kontakt med lege eller sykehus det siste året. Dette til tross for at de aller fleste respondentene mener de har god helse. De fleste er villige til å bruke mye ressurser på helse og mange oppfatter at en ikke kan gjøre alle nyttige behandlinger med de tilgjengelige ressursene. Interessant nok, synes et flertall at det er greit at det tas kostnadshensyn ved valg av behandling i helsevesenet, i alle fall så fremt dette medfører at andre pasienter får behandling som ellers ikke ville fått det. I tråd med dette finner vi også at så lenge pasientene blir tilbudt en «nesten like god» behandling og frigjorte ressurser kommer andre pasienter til gode, er det et klart flertall som aksepterer avslag på foretrukket behandling. Undersøkelsen viser faktisk omtrent like stor aksept for avslag av slike årsaker som for rent medisinskfaglig begrunnede avslag. Et annet sentralt og viktig funn er at prosessen som følges og blir kommunisert har betydning for om avslag på foretrukket behandling aksepteres. Vi finner at flere respondenter aksepterer et avslag dersom det er forankret i nasjonale eksperterters enighet og etter involvering av pasientorganisasjoner enn dersom avslaget beror på legens vurdering alene. Et interessant funn i undersøkelsen er at en betydelig andel av respondentene selv har erfart ressursknapphet i helsevesenet. De fleste av disse har opplevd å få utsatt behandling (ca. 30 %), men en betydelig andel har også opplevd å ikke få den behandling som ville vært best for dem (ca. 12%). Det viser seg at de respondentene som har slik egen erfaring med ressursknapphet er mer kritisk til prioritering i helsesektoren enn de som ikke har slik erfaring. Undersøkelsen viser at det er god oppslutning om behovet for å prioritere mellom pasienter etter kjernekriteriene alvorlighet og nytte. Det er likevel markant større oppslutning om at pasienter med alvorlig sykdom blir prioritert enn det er for at pasienter med størst nytte av behandling blir prioritert. Undersøkelsen viser videre at det har signifikant betydning for medborgernes oppslutning om forebygging at flere liv kan reddes ved forebygging enn ved behandling. Oppslutningen om egenbetaling selv for behandling som har liten helseforbedring er, derimot, relativt lav.
This study examines whether a politically sponsored framing of health care issues – prominent in the news – affects how citizens evaluate the efficiency of the health care system, and whether or not these effects vary among subsets of voters, and whether or not the level of exposure to political news increases or decreases such effects.
The collective action problem hampering a globally coordinated international response to climate change is well known. In countries such as Canada, the US and Norway, political elites have frequently invoked the language of fairness as an excuse to limit domestic and international commitments, arguing that a fair international solution would also constrain large emitters like China. In this context, this paper asks whether citizen support for multilateral climate policies also depends on whether other countries are seen to reciprocate. We implemented three population-based survey experiments in the US, Canada, and Norway, asking subjects whether they think their country should commit to emission reductions at the climate talks in Warsaw, Poland in 2013. In each country, a randomly assigned portion of the sample was presented with a statement suggesting that another large, identified country – typically China – may choose not to cooperate. We find that support for signing a new international climate agreement is to varying degrees conditioned by participation from China. In Canada, mention of the chance that China may not sign the international treaty does not significantly alter public support for Canadian participation in an international climate treaty. In contrast, public support for international climate action is more conditional in Norway, where support for signing a new treaty declines significantly if China’s participation is not assured. The US is in a middle position. This suggests that country size and dependence on fossil fuels may be more important than national traditions for multilateral cooperation in predicting support for unilateral climate action.