Post doctor Sveinung Arnesen’s (Department of Comparative politics, UiB) research project PROLEG (Can Fair Decision-Making Procedures Increase the Legitimacy of Democracies) addresses how democratic institutions and decision-making bodies should organize decision-making procedures and implementation procedures in order to make them more legitimate in the eyes of the public.... Read more about Can Fair Decision-Making Procedures Increase the Legitimacy of Democracies?
Communication has been shown to enhance cooperation (Dawes, McTavish and Shaklee 1977; Isaac and Walker 1988; Sally 1995; Bochet, Page and Putterman 2006). But do all people benefit equally from communication? This thesis experimentally investigates two main research questions. First, how does chat room communication affect cooperation between two individuals in a social dilemma? Second, are individuals with different cooperative dispositions affected differently by communication? I also explore how potential partners use language to affect each other’s behaviour. I conduct an experiment to answer these questions. The experiment consists of three parts. In the first part, I elicit subjects’ cooperative dispositions. In the second part, I study participants’ cooperative behaviour in a two-person repeated prisoner’s dilemma. All subjects are randomly placed in potential pairs of two. Each subject may choose to form a mutual partnership with the other person before engaging in the prisoner’s dilemma. Half of the pairs may communicate with each other through a chat room prior to the partner choice. In the third and final part of the experiment, I re-elicit subjects’ cooperative dispositions. Results show that communication does not increase the overall probability of successfully forming a mutual partnership or subjects’ overall payoff. However, subjects’ average contributions are higher when they may communicate with their potential partner. More specifically, subjects classified as Cooperators in the first part of the experiment contribute significantly more when able to communicate, compared to Cooperators who cannot. Free Riders who may communicate are more likely to form mutual partnerships and they earn a higher payoff than Free Riders who may not communicate. The experiment is computerized using the experimental program z-Tree 3.6.7 (Fischbacher 2007). Results are analysed using the statistical software STATA/IC 14.2 and Microsoft Excel 16.12.
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.
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.
This article discusses the notion of narrative and its relevance in the analysis of different genres of climate change discourse. Two distinct genres are studied, the first of which is the political speech, exemplified by French President François Hollande’s prepared remarks at the climate change conference (COP21) in Paris in late 2015. The second genre has not yet received a label, but can be called “survey discourse”. This refers to answers to open-ended questions in a survey undertaken by the Norwegian Citizen Panel in 2015, where respondents answer freely in their own words the following question: “Concerning climate change, what do you think should be done?” The differences between the two genres are manifold. A political speech is carefully drafted by professionals and represents an institutional commitment by a leader, whereas survey answers are formulated by anonymous, non-specialist respondents, who are not bound by their statements in any way. Despite such differences, our findings will show that all the texts in question comprise a plot where the different characters (heroes, victims, and villains) are integrated into the unfolding ‘story’, thus reflecting the socially pervasive nature of narratives.