This bibliography includes publications based on data from DIGSSCORE. This includes both analyses using data from DIGSSCORE as well as related research on methods and methodology.

Alexander Cappelen, Cornelius Cappelen, Stein Kuhnle, and Bertil Tungodden. 4/25/2018. “How to retrench the welfare state: Attitudes in the general population.” Social Policy & Administration, 52, 4. Find article here Abstract

In recent years, many countries have faced pressure to cut the costs of the welfare state, and different strategies have been utilized to achieve this, including stricter eligibility requirements, reduced level of benefits, and reduced maximum duration of benefits. This contribution reports the results from a Norwegian survey designed to measure which of these strategies the general population would prefer in a situation where the government has to tighten various social security schemes. For a given reduction in total costs, there is a trade‐off between the desire to avoid large individual benefit reductions and the desire to protect some groups of benefit recipients from any cuts. Different preferences for how to retrench the welfare state will reflect how individuals trade off these concerns. We find a striking association between political affiliation and preferred retrenchment strategy. Right‐wingers typically prefer to tighten the eligibility criteria, while left‐wingers typically prefer to reduce the benefit level. Furthermore, our results indicate that labor market outsiders are less in favor of tightening the eligibility criteria, but more in favor of reducing the maximum duration of benefits, than labor market insiders. This article contributes to the literature on welfare state retrenchment by examining which retrenchment strategy that the public prefers, which in turn sheds light on which measures that are likely to receive popular support from different demographics in the population.

Sveinung Arnesen, Dominik Duell, and Mikael P. Johannesson. 11/1/2018. “Do citizens make inferences from political candidate characteristics when aiming for substantive representation?.” Electoral Studies. Read article here Abstract
We elicit citizens' preferences over hypothetical candidates by applying conjoint survey experiments within a probability-based online panel of the Norwegian electorate. Our experimental treatments differ in whether citizens receive information about candidates' social characteristics only, candidates' issue positions only, or both. From this, we identify whether citizens are able to infer substantive policy positions from the descriptive characteristics of potential representatives and use that information to make candidate choices that achieve substantive representation. We find that candidate choice is driven more by knowledge about candidates' issue positions than by knowledge about their social characteristics and that citizens value substantive representation more robustly than descriptive representation. Importantly, while the direct experimental test of whether voters use the information they obtain from descriptive markers to choose a candidate that gives them substantive representation is inconclusive, we find that voters form beliefs about candidates' issue positions based solely on candidates’ social characteristics.
As climate change continues to alter local weather patterns, it is important to understand how people are experiencing such changes because personal experience may affect mitigation and adaptation policy preferences and behaviors. Local weather conditions are also an easily accessible source of information that, aggregated over time, may enable people to detect long-term climate trends and update their beliefs about global warming. However, motivated reasoning—the tendency to fit information to conclusions that correspond with a preexisting belief—may limit the accuracy of local weather perceptions. This paper focuses on perceptions of seasonal weather in Norway and examines evidence for motivated reasoning consistent with pre-existing beliefs about climate change, using a national panel survey combined with high-resolution seasonal climate observations. Respondents’ perceptions are sensitive to observed differences in both temperature and precipitation, but respondents are more likely to accurately perceive local precipitation than local temperature. Controlling for observed conditions, beliefs about global climate change had a large effect on perceptions of seasonal temperature, and smaller effects on perceptions of seasonal precipitation. These findings provide evidence that individual perceptions of seasonal weather are related to local conditions, but they are also likely to be motivated by beliefs about global climate change.

This paper calls attention to what is arguably the most notable advancement in survey experiments over the last decade: conjoint designs. The benefit of conjoint design is its capacity to study and compare the causal effects of several dimensions simultaneously. Although survey experiments have long been a preferred method for assessing causal effects, the method falls short when studying multidimensional causal relations.

Researchers face a trade-off between a lack of statistical power or a restriction in experimental conditions. Conjoint designs solve this problem by letting the researcher vary an indefinite number of factors in one experiment. This method is quickly gaining ground in social and political science but has yet to be widely practiced in political communication research. This article argues that conjoint designs are ideal for studying political communication effects and highlights the possible benefits of using and innovating conjoint designs in political communication research. We make available sample scripts and demonstrate the value of this methodological technique through empirical examples of trust in news media and selective exposure to political news.

Sveinung Arnesen, Kristine Bærøe, Cornelius Cappelen, and Benedicte Carlsen. 5/9/2018. “Could information about herd immunity help us achieve herd immunity? Evidence from a population representative survey experiment.” Scandinavian Journal of Public Health. Find article here Abstract
Aims: Immunisation causes dramatic reductions in morbidity and mortality from infectious diseases; however, resistance to vaccination is nonetheless widespread. An understudied issue – explored here – is whether appeals to collective as opposed to individual benefits of vaccination encourage people to vaccinate. Knowledge of this is important not least with respect to the design of public health campaigns, which often lack information about the collective benefits of vaccination. Methods: Using a between-subjects experimental survey design, we test whether information about the effects of herd immunity influences people’s decision to vaccinate. A representative sample of Norwegians was confronted with a hypothetical scenario in which a new and infectious disease is on its way to Norway. The sample was split in three – a control group and two treatment groups. The one treatment group was provided information about collective benefits of vaccination; the other was provided information about the individual benefits of vaccination. Results: Both treatments positively affect people’s decision to vaccinate; however, informing about the collective benefits has an even stronger effect than informing about the individual benefits. Conclusions: Our results suggest that people’s decision about whether to vaccinate and thus contribute to herd immunity is influenced by concern for others. Thus, stressing the collective benefits of vaccination could increase the effectiveness of health campaigns.
Paul M. Sniderman. 5/2018. “Some Advances in the Design of Survey Experiments.” Annual Review of Political Science, 21, Pp. 259-275. Download article here Abstract
This article calls attention to some designs in survey experiments that give new leverage in hypothesis testing and validation. The premise of this review is the modesty of survey experiments—modesty of treatment, modesty of scale, modesty of measurement. The focus of this review, accordingly, is the compensating virtues of modesty. With respect to hypothesis testing, I spotlight (a) cross-category comparisons, (b) null-by-design experiments, (c) explication, (d) conjoint designs, and (e) sequential factorials. With respect to validation regimes, I discuss (a) parallel studies, (b) paired designs, and (c) splicing. Throughout, the emphasis is on moving from experiment in the singular to experiments in the plural, learning as you go.
Can international courts impact public opinion? There are many reasons to think not. The growing prominence of international courts in the domestic public sphere requires though reconsideration of this presumption. This experimental study takes the existing US-centric research on the effects of courts on public opinion a step further by testing whether the level of a court matters, whether domestic, international or even foreign. A panel of respondents in Norway were tested as to their views on prostitution laws and family rights to asylum after the random informational ‘treatments’ based on the decisions and reasoning of different courts. The overall shift in opinion was statistically significant but only when respondents received a double treatment of reasoning and judicial authority. Surprisingly, respondents receiving this information moderated their opinions regardless of the identity of the court. Similar impacts were generated when courts were replaced with non-judicial but authoritative actors such as the United Nations or Amnesty International. Nonetheless, the results, for at least Norway, lend support to a transpositional theory of international courts while casting doubt on ideas of credible commitment. It is the endorsement by a court not the type of a court that it is critical for inflecting public opinion.
Erik Knudsen, Magnus Hoem Iversen, and Eirik Vatnøy. 2018. “Mistillit til den andre siden. Ideologisk selektiv eksponering og tillit til røde og blå medier.” Norsk medietidsskrift, 25, 2, Pp. 1-20. Read here Abstract

I denne studien undersøker vi forskjeller i hvordan folk på høyre- og venstresiden forholder seg til nyhetsmedier som er forankret på høyre- eller venstresiden i norsk politikk. Vi studerer hvordan individer med ulike politiske preferanser anser aviser som betydningsfulle og troverdige nyhetskilder. Vi finner klare forskjeller blant folk som plasserer seg på høyre- og venstresiden når det gjelder tillit til en dagsavis på venstresiden (Klassekampen). Vi finner motsatt mønster for en dagsavis assosiert med høyresiden (Dagens Næringsliv), men her er forskjellen mellom venstre- og høyresiden ikke statistisk signifikant. Videre finner vi at forskjellene for Klassekampen modereres noe, men forblir statistisk signifikant dersom vi kontrollerer for hvor viktig avisen er som kilde til nyheter. Altså tyder våre funn på at forskjeller mellom høyre- og venstresidens tillit til Klassekampen varierer uavhengig av hvor viktig avisen er som kilde til nyheter. Funnene diskuteres i lys av litteraturen om selektiv eksponering og selektiv tillit.

Nøkkelord: tillit til journalistikk, tillit til medier, selektiv eksponering, selektiv tillit, surveydata

A number of studies from the USA have shown that people seek out information that does not challenge their worldview. People are less likely to read and trust media sources they disagree with ideologically. However, we have little knowledge regarding these trends in the Norwegian context. In this study, we examine the relationship between people’s ideology (left/right scale) and their use of and trust in newspapers that have historically been affiliated to the left and the right side of politics. We find clear differences between respondents on the left and the right when it comes to media use and trust in media for a left-leaning paper (Klassekampen). The differences in trust remain significant after controlling for selective exposure. The same differences are not found for a right-leaning newspaper (Dagens Næringsliv). These findings are discussed in light of the literature on selective exposure and selective trust.

Keywords: trust in journalism, trust in media, selective exposure, selective trust, survey research

Eirik Strømland, Sigve Tjøtta, and Gaute Torsvik. 5/20/2018. “Mutual choice of partner and communication in a repeated prisoner's dilemma.” Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, 75, Pp. 12-23. Find at journal Abstract
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.
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