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.
Many markets resemble repeated prisoner's dilemma situations with the possibilities for mutual partner choice. In this paper, we show experimentally that partner choice by mutual consent has a strong positive effect on cooperation. Mutual partner choice makes it possible to form long-lasting reciprocal partnerships. To understand partnership formation we also add a treatment where the participants could communicate with each other in a common chat room. Chat transcript reveals that promises are important in forming and sustaining a partnership.
Little is known about the reliability and validity in web surveys, although this is crucial information to evaluate how accurate the results might be and/or to correct for measurement errors. In particular, there are few studies based on probability-based samples for web surveys, looking at web-specific response scales and considering the impact of having smartphone respondents. In this article, we start filling these gaps by estimating the measurement quality of sliders compared to radio button scales controlling for the device respondents used. We conducted therefore two multitrait–multimethod (MTMM) experiments in the Norwegian Citizen Panel (NCP), a probability-based online panel. Overall, we find that if smartphone respondents represent a nonnegligible part of the whole sample, offering the response options in form of a slider or a radio button scale leads to a quite similar measurement quality. This means that sliders could be used more often without harming the data quality. Besides, if there are no smartphone respondents, we find that sliders can also be used, but that the marker should be placed initially in the middle rather than on the left side. However, in practice, there is no need to shift from radio buttons to sliders since the quality is not highly improved by providing sliders.
Questionnaire design is routinely guided by classic experiments on question form, wording, and context conducted decades ago. This article explores whether two question order effects (one due to the norm of evenhandedness and the other due to subtraction or perceptual contrast) appear in surveys of probability samples in the United States and 11 other countries (Canada, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom; N = 25,640). Advancing theory of question order effects, we propose necessary conditions for each effect to occur, and found that the effects occurred in the nations where these necessary conditions were met. Surprisingly, the abortion question order effect even appeared in some countries in which the necessary condition was not met, suggesting that the question order effect there (and perhaps elsewhere) was not due to subtraction or perceptual contrast. The question order effects were not moderated by education. The strength of the effect due to the norm of evenhandedness was correlated with various cultural characteristics of the nations. Strong support was observed for the form-resistant correlation hypothesis.
Climate change is often perceived as a distant threat affecting people in distant places or distant future. Such perceptions could negatively affect implementation of necessary mitigation measures. Using experimental data from the Norwegian Citizen Panel 2014 (N=1714), we explore how different time and spatial context of risk reduction affects attitudes towards funding for climate and air pollution policies and how these characteristics interact with each other and with political orientation of citizens. The results of regression analyses indicate different rationale for both climate change and air pollution policies. Attitudes towards funding reduction of climate change risks are fairly consistent between different scenarios, whereas for air pollution a preference for homeland and delayed action is present. These results support the relevance of framing climate change as global. Moreover, we show that different segments of population based on their political orientation evaluate the funding aims diversely and assign different weights to the geographical attribute of the policies. We argue that better than framing climate change either locally, or globally, we should try to develop narratives bridging the division of global and local and making climate change a relevant issue rather than just a threatening and proximate one.