Should you Sacrifice your Constituents? Moral Dilemmas and the Evaluations of Politicians.

by  Enrique Hernández

In some cases, politicians must decide between adopting a utilitarian decision (a decision that, even if it might contravene moral principles, leads to the maximization of aggregate welfare) or a deontological decision (a decision guided by the idea that there are moral standards that should never be violated, even if violating them would lead to a maximization of aggregate welfare). The first goal of this experiment is to analyze to what extent adopting a utilitarian or deontological political decision affects the perceived trustworthiness, perceived competence, and likelihood of voting for a politician that adopts such decision. Moreover, since gender stereotypes might bias how citizens evaluate politicians the second goal of this experiment is to assess whether the impact of utilitarian and deontological decisions on these variables depends on the gender of the politician adopting the decision. To address these questions, I draw on a sacrificial moral dilemma applied to a political crisis. Specifically, I examine participants’ perceptions of a fictitious politician that in the context of a terrorist threat makes either a utilitarian judgement and decision (it is better to save 50 people, even if it involves sacrificing 10 innocent people) or a deontological judgement and decision (killing 10 innocent people is just morally wrong, even if it saves 50 people).

What the fact? An experiment on the political persuasiveness of experts’ cues.

by Berta Barbet, Antoni-Italo de Moragas and Guillem Vidal

One of the major concerns about the democratic system is how citizens can take decisions on issues for which they do not have enough information. A concern that has usually been overcome by the use of heuristics or information shortcuts. However, we have recently witnessed several cases where voters have voted against the expert’s consensus and qualitative studies have found that citizens distrust statistical and technical arguments. It is not clear how voters assess the quality of the arguments they receive form experts and other political figures. The impact of experts’ cues on voters’ preferences has not been fully tested. The goal of this experiment is to test under which conditions voters will give credibility to an argument and, consequently, respond to it. To do so it tests whether adding empirical, moral or emotional cues to support an argument increases the impact of the argument in moving support for policies.

Perceptions of Muslim Refugees in Spain: A List Experiment.

by Natalia C. Malancu

Recently, the influx of refugees to Europe has come to dominate discourse surrounding immigration, reflected in the contentious referendum exiting the UK form the European Union and the emergence of numerous political parties organized partially or wholly around the issue of borders. Spain has been hailed as one of countries willing to open its cities to refugees. As researchers seek to understand the determinants of anti-immigrant and anti-refugee sentiment, the accurate measurement of attitudes toward immigrants/refugees in national and cross-national surveys is a primary concern (Hainmueller and Hiscox 2007; Ceobanu and Escandell 2010).
The substantive goal is to directly test the role of religion, particularly Islam, in defining the outgroup and the theoretical link between ethnocentrism and targeted lack of acceptance. Methodologically, I propose an application of a list experiment to measure change in implicit and explicit bias. Distinguishing these two constructs is crucial as the difference between them, termed social desirability bias, reflects the gap between true sentiment and the societal norms about what level of acceptance is desirable. In other words, I seek to determine why people accept a certain refugee group based on what they believe, not what they explicitly say. In the process I assess the impact one’s level of education and political ideology has on the level of bias.

Public Opinion and Autocracies: Does Oil Matter?

by Lala Muradova

What are the determinants of democratic public opinion on foreign policy measures against autocracies? Prior seminal scholarship contends that democratic public support for war differs along two different political regimes (Tomz and Weeks, 2013; Johns and Davies, 2012). One explanation is that democratic citizens are systematically more willing to attack an authoritarian opponent than a democratic one ceteris paribus due to the former’s high costs (e.g. Bueno de Mesquita et al 1999). However, autocracies differ along many attributes (e.g. Escribà-Folch and Wright, 2015), an important nuance which has been largely ignored in prior research on public opinion on authoritarianism. Is there any divergence within the same political regime? Might democratic citizens be more hostile to one type of autocracies than to others? This paper proposes to shed light on these questions by examining public opinion towards two kinds of autocracies: oil-wealthy and oil-poor. Further, applying the logic of democratic citizens’ “sensitivity to costs”, the paper will endeavour to examine if energy costs potentially incurred by oil-exporting autocracy is a causal mechanism of suggested relationship.

Efecto bandwagon entre partidos establecidos y recién llegados.

by Basilio Moreno Peralta

The research on electoral behaviour has been puzzled about the influence public polls have on electoral results. One phenomena largely discussed among academics is the existence and size of bandwagon effects. This work will follow previous ones in trying to isolate such effects under experimental settings while bringing party features onto the discussion. By analysing the Spanish national political arena we aim to check the role that past electoral records play (if any) among voters when new information is published by polling houses. The results will help us quantify the degree of heterogeneity across the bandwagon effect linked to parties with varying electoral records.