Master`s Thesis

Fredrik Bjørnestad Sortland. 2017. “Å velge, og å bli valgt - valg av partner i et Fangens Dilemma.” University of Bergen, Department of Economics.
Sortland: Master thesis
Thea Wiig. 2017. “Can framing change individual attitudes towards immigration?.” University of Bergen, Department of Economics.
Wiig: Master thesis
Sondre Vågenes Michelsen. 2017. “Can social norms lead people to choose less money over more?.” University of Bergen, Department of Economics.
Michelsen: Master thesis

Is cooperation intuitive or deliberative? From an early notion of cooperation as a deliberate suppression of innate selfish preferences, a growing body of literature has turned the general perception towards prosocial behaviour as something intuitive, sometimes actively oppressed for the sake of selfish needs and wishes. If the dual-process framework from psychology gives a better description of decision making than do the classical economic models, this will have important implications for many economic models. Testing the social heuristics hypothesis through a sequential prisoners’ dilemma conducted both in the lab and by an online survey, I find no conclusive evidence that increased deliberation systematically changes willingness to cooperate with strangers. This is the first study (to my knowledge) to isolate the effect of a manipulation through preferences. The results hold for both a general regression of cooperation on the deliberation treatment, and for the main analysis, with separate effects through preferences and beliefs.

Oda Kristine Storstad Sund. 2017. “It is not all about the money. A study of social norms based on Adam Smith's theory of Moral Sentiments.” University of Bergen, Department of Economics.
Sund: Master Thesis

The point of departure for this thesis is the inconsistency between national goals to conserve farmland, and the local management of this natural resource, which prevents Norway from complying with its national goals. The research question is: What role do party politics play in the management of Norwegian land resources? The state wants a high level of food security, and therefore needs land to be conserved for food production purposes. On the other hand many municipalities are experiencing growth and have needs for houses, industries, public buildings and infrastructure. According to theory on multi-level democracy the state will apply hard governmental tools when there is a conflict between national and local goals. Even though such a conflict exists in this case, I find that local politicians have a relatively large room for manoeuvre in the management of farmland. I expect the parties’ agricultural ideology and municipal ideology to play out in how local politicians manage farmland. By content analysis of the party programs I place the parties along these two cleavages and find that the political parties do differ considerably on how strongly agricultural property should be regulated, and how much power should be decentralised on issues concerning land use. Through a survey question on land use in the seventh round of the Norwegian Citizen Panel I further find that respondents differ in the same way as the parties they would vote for along the cleavage of agricultural ideology. Still, regression analysis on farmland conversion in Norwegian municipalities shows that none of the cleavages have a statistically significant effect on the local management of farmland. To find out why this is not the case, I execute a comparative case study of the two municipalities of Spydeberg and Hobøl. They are chosen through a Most Similar Systems Design as they are equal in every geographic and demographic respect, but they converted a very different amount of farmland in the four-year-period before and after 2011. Both also experienced a change in party leadership in 2011, and therefore reflect the apparent lacking party effect on local management of farmland. By interviewing politicians and others working with farmland conversion, I find that most of them consider party politics to be very important locally, even though it is not reflected in how much farmland that is actually converted. The main finding of the thesis is that conservation of farmland is weighted in a local context, not in a party political one.

Runa Falck Langaas. 2017. “New Policies, Old Attitudes? - Discrimination against Roma in Norway.” University of Bergen, Department of Comparative Politics. Download from UiB Abstract
Norway has a long history of discrimination against a group of Roma, namely the Tater/Romani people. In 1998, the Norwegian authorities officially apologised for the way in which the Tater/Romani people had been treated. A few years later, another group of Roma started coming to Norway from Eastern Europe to make a living through begging. By the time these individuals came to Norway laws against discrimination were in place, but we have seen many examples of hateful speech or acts directed against Roma people. The research question of this thesis is: To what extent do Norwegian citizens’ attitudes towards Roma reflect the ideals embedded in the laws against discrimination? To answer this question, I use secondary literature to examine the history of Roma and antiziganism in Norway. I also document the political efforts that have been made to limit discrimination in Norway. I then discuss theories on why one would think the ideals of the anti-discrimination laws have been met. I use survey experiments to examine attitudes towards immigrant Roma and find that despite the tremendous political change described in the first part of the thesis, there is not equal treatment of the Roma minority in Norway today.

Linn Magritt Haugen Skotnes Venås. 2017. “Tillit til systemet. Muligheten til å ekskludere uærlige aktører i et marked. En eksperimentell undersøkelse..” University of Bergen, Department of Economics.
Venås: Master thesis
Verena Weissenbacher. 2016. “Fairness in Prioritization Processes.” University of Oslo, Department of Health Management and Health Economics. Download here

Two mechanisms that have been shown to facilitate cooperation are partner choice and punishment, but can partner choice be employed as an informal punishment mechanism? To examine this question I conduct two experiments. The first experiment studies a two-person repeated Prisoner`s Dilemma game. Each individual is allowed to choose one person from a fixed group of five subjects they wish to be paired with. The individual who fails to find a partner is excluded from the group. Moreover, and most importantly, I elicit individual cooperative dispositions prior to the two-person repeated Prisoner`s Dilemma game and examine how different types of individuals perform when allowed to choose a partner. Results show that partner choice does not increase the overall efficiency. However, there appear to be interesting differences in the performance of individuals who exhibit heterogeneous cooperative dispositions. Cooperative individuals outperform non-cooperators when allowed to choose a partner.

The second experiment is conducted in the Norwegian Citizen panel and attempts to distinguish between the social and the monetary cost associated with exclusion. I study a one-shot continuous Prisoner`s Dilemma game where exclusion is the consequence of being the lowest contributor in a group of three individuals. The monetary outside option is varied to examine which cost of exclusion individuals value the most. The results of the survey experiment show that the social cost of exclusion increases cooperation significantly, regardless of the size of the monetary cost linked to exclusion.

The lab experiment is computerized with the experimental program z-Tree 3.3.8 (Fischbacher, 2007). Results of both experiments are analysed with the statistical software STATA/IC 14.1 and Microsoft Excel 2016.

Sosiale medier er et raskt voksende fenomen som har tiltrukket seg millioner av brukere siden begynnelsen av 2000-tallet. Forskningslitteraturen diskuterer om, og på hvilke måter, offentlige rom og borgerlig kultur har endret seg i vår digitale tidsalder. Det er ulike oppfatninger om hvordan sosiale medier påvirker borgerlig kultur og offentlige rom i form av folks interesse og deltakelse i politikk og deres samfunnsengasjement. Det er også ulike oppfatninger om hvordan internett påvirker demokratiers representativitet. Noen mener at sosiale medier gir nye muligheter for demokrati, i form av engasjement og deltakelse i offentlige rom. Andre bekymrer seg for at nye kommunikasjonsmedier kan føre til mindre motivasjon til å delta i samfunnet.

Denne oppgaven presenterer en kvantitativ studie av sammenhenger mellom bruk av sosiale medier og mulige politiske konsekvenser i form av borgerlig deltakelse. Jeg har undersøkt slike empiriske sammenhenger med data fra norsk medborgerpanel og lineær regresjonsanalyse. Oppgaven har en todelt problemstilling: (1) hvem som bruker sosiale medier, og (2) hvilke konsekvenser sosiale medier har på politisk interesse, politisk deltakelse og samfunnsengasjement. Resultatene indikerer at sosiale medier gir muligheter for mer, heller enn mindre politisk deltakelse og samfunnsengasjement. Resultatene gir ingen indikasjoner på at sosiale medier har negative konsekvenser for politisk engasjement. Derimot indikerer flere resultater at konsekvensene kan være positive.

Nøkkelord: sosiale medier, politisk deltakelse, samfunnsengasjement, borgerlig kultur, offentlige rom

This thesis examines whether public support for a ban on begging in Norway is influenced by negative stereotypes about the Roma minority. In 2005, the ban on begging was abolished in Norway by a unanimous vote in Parliament. Nine years later, however; a new discussion flourished about whether or not the ban on begging should be re-introduced. The change in public debate followed a change in the composition of the population of beggars in Norwegian streetscapes. After the eastward expansion of the European Union, Norway as a member of the European Economic Area experienced a similar increase in poor members of the Roma minority begging on the street, as did most EU-member states. To address the research question, I collected original survey data through the Norwegian Citizen Panel in 2015 (wave 5) as part of a project funded by the EEA and Norway grants entitled "Less Hate More Speech." In the Norwegian Citizen Panel I fielded both standard close-ended survey-questions about negative stereotypes and new open-ended questions, which allowed participants to formulate their thoughts about beggars and the Roma minority in their own words. In analyzing the data, I in part rely on traditional regression analysis, and in part on randomized experiment. The results of this thesis show that public support for a ban on begging in Norway is strongly affected by negative stereotypes toward the Roma minority. These findings are significant on a 99 percent level, and are found to be significant in three different models that implement two different stereotype measurements - one traditional measurement (based on close-ended survey questions) as well as an original measurement (based on open- ended survey questions). This thesis has shown for the first time that widespread support for a ban on begging in contemporary Norway is strongly influenced by negative stereotypes about the Roma minority. This adds to our knowledge both about the consequences of European enlargement for Norway, and additionally to our knowledge about why a ban on begging has been such a controversial and difficult political issue over the past years in Norway.

Mari Skåra Helliesen. 2015. “In Science We Trust, Through Ideology We Look: Explaining Climate Change Attitudes in Norway.” Department of Comparative Politics. Download from UiB
Sunniva Hagen. 2015. “Inter-gruppe kontakt og verknaden på tillit og toleranse.” University of Bergen, Department of Comparative Politics. Download from UiB Abstract

Auken i etnisk og sosialt mangfald har samstundes auka kontakt mellom etniske grupper, som vidare er venta å auke også i framtida (Sturgis, Brunton-Smith, Read og Allum 2010: 58). Kunnskap om verknadane av inter-gruppe kontakt er difor viktig. Denne masteroppgåva undersøker verknaden av inter-gruppe kontakt i Noreg på individnivå, og kva som skjer når medlemmar frå ulike grupper kjem i kontakt i same geografiske område. Kontakt, i form av samansetning og kontaktkvalitet, blir undersøkt med fokus på ulike utfall som i litteraturen er relatert til mangfald og kontakt. Med bakgrunn i dette vil eg i oppgåva svare på følgjande forskingsspørsmål: Kva verknad har inter-gruppe kontakt på uttrykk for toleranse og tillit i høve utgrupper i Noreg, og varierer verknadane ut frå mengde og type kontakt? Det teoretiske rammeverket har bakgrunn i to motståande teoriar: kontakt- og konfliktteori. Sjølv om desse teoriane ynskjer å forklare det same, effektane av inter-gruppe kontakt, finn dei ulike resultat. Medan kontakttesen viser til at kjennskap verkar positivt på haldningar til utgrupper ettersom det minkar fordommar og aukar tillit, sosial og politisk toleranse, syner konfliktteori negative effektar av inter-gruppe kontakt gjennom auka trusselpersepsjonar (Putnam 2007). For å svare på forskingsspørsmålet nyttast datamateriale frå Norsk medborgarpanel (2013), som blir analysert ved ordna probit-regresjon. Resultata indikerer at inter-gruppe kontakt har ein positive effekt på ulike uttrykk for toleranse når kvaliteten på kontakta er god. Ved positive evalueringar av kontaktsituasjonar, samt gjennom venskapleg kontakt kan uttrykk for toleranse endrast til det betre. Jamvel peikar effektane av samansetning på negative verknader av kontakt. Del innvandrarar i nærområdet har med dette potensiale til å auke trusselpersepsjonar. Dei positive effektane av kontaktkvalitet er likevel det som fører verknaden av inter-gruppe kontakt i oppgåva. Resultata avhenger likevel i ein viss grad av kva uttrykk for tillit og toleranse som vert studert.


Due to the increase in ethnic and social heterogeneity in advanced countries, inter-ethnic group contact has increased in Norway, and is also expected to increase in the future. Even though the effect of intergroup contact has long been a question central to social scientists, understanding intergroup contact is increasingly important to both scientific and policy debates as social changes bring increased diversity (Putnam 2007, Enos 2014: 1). This thesis examines the effects of intergroup contact in Norway at the individual level, and what happens when members from different groups get in contact in the same geographic area. The effects of contact are being studied with regard to a variety of outcomes embedded in the theoretical framework of contact theory and the opposite perspective, conflict theory. Contact theory argues that intergroup contact has the potential of giving positive effects on tolerance and trust towards outgroups. Nevertheless, diversity and intergroup contact are also found to have negative effects by increasing perceptions of threat and conflict. Building on this framework different effects of contact are being studied with regard to different expressions of tolerance and trust: attitudes towards outgroups, motivation to avoid prejudices and generalized trust. The research question will be examined by using data from the Norwegian Citizen Panel (2013), assessed through the use of ordered probit-regression. The results indicate that intergroup contact has positive effects on expressions of tolerance when the quality of the contact is good. In situations where the contact situation is perceived as positive and has a friendship potential" intergroup contact can change expressions of tolerance for the better. However, the compositional effects of contact do not reveal the same results. The compositional effects indicate that having more immigrants living in the neighbourhood have the potential of increasing perceptions of threat and conflict. The positive effects of quality of contact are still driving the effects of intergroup contact in the analysis. Still the effects of intergroup contact depend somewhat on which dependent variable that are being studied.