Tag Political Psychology

New Publication in Review of International Political Economy: Context-driven attitude formation

A few years back, Matthias Mader, Alexander Wuttke, Harald Schoen and I started on a project with the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung and the Arbeitgeberverband Gesamtmetall trying to explain public support and opposition toward the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). While history has moved on since then, the project proved interesting. In our first publication based on this project Context-driven attitude formation: the difference between supporting free trade in the abstract and supporting specific trade agreements [Open Access] in the Review of International Political Economy, we show that Germans were thinking of TTIP as something distinct from free trade.

Determinants of attitudes toward free trade and TTIP. Reported are OLS coefficients and 95% confi- dence intervals from the regression models reported in Table 4, columns 5 and 6.

We find little correlation between supporting free trade in the abstract and supporting a specific trade agreement, TTIP. Factors usually identified in political economy as driving public support for trade agreements (i.e. economic self-interest or predispositions supporting openness of societies) do tell us little about public support or opposition toward TTIP. Instead, we show that in order to explain attitudes toward TTIP, you have to account for factors dominant in public discourse at the time (e.g. attitudes toward the partner country USA, the role of interest groups in politics, and market regulation).

To us, the lesson is that in order to understand public support or opposition toward specific trade agreements, we have to move away from models using a fixed set of explanatory variables toward models that are more flexible and reactive to public discourse. Models traditionally used to understand preferences for or against international integration in the abstract might thus tell us little about support or opposition toward specific instances of these measures once they are politicized and subjects of public discourse. If we ignore this, we run the risk of misunderstanding public reactions toward specific instances of international integration. Measures taken by decision makers based on these misunderstandings might then lead to unintended outcomes.

Abstract: Many studies use the same factors to explain attitudes toward specific trade agreements and attitudes toward the principle of free trade and thus treat both objects as interchangeable. Contemporary trade agreements, however, often reach beyond trade in the narrow sense. Consequently, factors unrelated to free trade may affect citizens’ evaluations of these agreements. We propose a model of attitude formation toward specific trade agreements that includes the societal context as a constitutive feature. We expect salient aspects of an agreement to activate corresponding predispositions. Empirically, we compare how this contextual model and a standard model perform in explaining German citizens’ attitudes toward free trade and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The results show that the standard model performs well in explaining public opinion on the principle of free trade but is less useful in explaining attitudes toward TTIP. The latter were driven by postures toward transatlantic cooperation, predispositions toward the role of interest groups in politics, and market regulation – aspects salient in German public discourse about TTIP. In sum, we find ample evidence for the need to differentiate between the two attitude objects and for our contextual model of attitude formation.

Andreas Jungherr, Matthias Mader, Harald Schoen, and Alexander Wuttke. 2018. Context-driven attitude formation: The difference between supporting free trade in the abstract and supporting specific trade agreements. Review of International Political Economy. (Online First) doi:10.1080/09692290.2018.1431956 [Replication Data]

Syllabus: Explaining Political Behavior and Attitudes through Political Psychology

For this spring semester, I designed a new course introducing students to the use of concepts from political psychology and political sociology in explaining political behavior and attitudes. The course is a mix of theory and practical exercises.

In the first part of the course, students are introduced to a selection of central concepts and their operationalization in publicly available data sets from the USA and Germany like the American National Election Studies (ANES) and German Longitudinal Election Studies (GLES). In the second part, students are asked to use these concepts and datasets in individual research projects. The aim of the course is to introduce students to translating theoretical concepts into operationalizations and examine them through simple data analyses. Here is the syllabus.

Readings:

Background Readings:
Basbøll, T. Research as a Second Language.
Berinsky, A. J. (Ed.). 2016. New Directions in Public Opinion. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Routledge.
Clawson, R. A. & Z. M. Oxley. 2013. Public Opinion: Democratic Ideals, Democratic Practice. 2nd ed. Los Angeles, CA: Sage.
Cottam, M. K., E. Mastors, T. Preston, & B. Dietz. 2015. Introduction to Political Psychology. 3rd ed. New York, NY: Routledge.
Kabacoff, R. I. R in Action: Data Analysis and Graphics with R. 2nd ed. Shelter Island, NY:
Manning.
Kaplan, D. T. (2012). Statistical Modeling: A Fresh Approach. 2nd ed. Project MOSAIC.

Ideology
Federico, C. M. 2016. The Structure, Foundations, and Expression of Ideology. In: A. J. Berinsky (Ed.). New Directions in Public Opinion. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Routledge (pp. 81-103).
Federico, C. M. & C. V. Hunt. 2013. Political Information, Political Involvement, and Reliance on Ideology in Political Evaluation. Political Behavior 35(1): 89-112.
Neundorf, A. 2011. Die Links-Rechts-Dimension auf dem Prüfstand: Ideologisches Wählen in Ost- und Westdeutschland 1990-2008. In: R. Schmitt-Beck (Ed.). Politische Vierteljahresschrift Sonderheft 45: Wählen in Deutschland. Baden-Baden: Nomos (S. 234-257).

Race
Czaja, E., J. Junn, & T. Mendelberg. 2016. Race, Ethnicity, and the Group Bases of Public Opinion. In: A. J. Berinsky (Ed.). New Directions in Public Opinion. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Routledge (pp. 104-123).
Lee, T. 2008. Race, Immigration, and the Identity-to-Politics Link. Annual Review of Political
Science 11: 457-478.
Wüst, A. M. 2011. Dauerhaft oder temporär? Zur Bedeutung des Migrationshintergrunds für Wahlbeteiligung und Parteiwahl bei der Bundestagswahl 2009. In: R. Schmitt-Beck (Ed.). Politische Vierteljahresschrift Sonderheft 45: Wählen in Deutschland. Baden-Baden: Nomos (S. 164-185).

Gender
Burns, N., A. E. Jardina, D. Kinder, & M. E. Reynolds. 2016. The Politics of Gender. In: A. J. Berinsky (Ed.). New Directions in Public Opinion. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Routledge (pp. 124-145).
Box-Steffensmeier, J. M., S. de Boeff, & T. M. Lin. 2004. The Dynamics of the Partisan Gender Gap. American Political Science Review 98(3): 515-528.
Giger, N. & S. Huber. 2015. Der Einfluss des Geschlechts auf Kandidatenbeurteilungen: Eine experimentelle Studie zu Kontexteffekten und individuellen Faktoren in Deutschland. In: T. Faas, C. Frank, & H. Schoen (Eds.). Politische Vierteljahresschrift Sonderheft 50: Politische Psychologie. Baden-Baden: Nomos (S. 333-359).

Political Partisanship
Hetherington, M. 2016. Partisanship and Polarization in Contemporary Politics. In: A. J. Berinsky (Ed.). New Directions in Public Opinion. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Routledge (pp. 146-164).
Carsey, T. M. & G. C. Layman. 2006. Changing Sides or Changing Minds? Party Identification and Policy Preferences in the American Electorate. American Journal of Political Science 50(2): 464-477.
Neundorf, A., D. Stegmueller, & T. J. Scotto. 2011. The Individual-Level Dynamics of Bounded Partisanship. Public Opinion Quarterly 75(3): 458-482.

Personality
Mondak, J. J. & M. V. Hibbing. 2016. Personality and Public Opinion. In: A. J. Berinsky (Ed.). New
Directions in Public Opinion. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Routledge (pp. 165-185).
Gerber, A. S., G. A. Huber, D. Doherty, C. M. Dowling, C. Raso, & S. E. Ha. 2011. Personality Traits and Participation in Political Processes. The Journal of Politics 73(3): 692-706.
Schoen, H. & M. Steinbrecher. 2013. Beyond Total Effects: Exploring the Interplay of Personality and Attitudes in Affecting Turnout in the 2009 German Federal Election. Political Psychology 34(4): 533-552.

Religion
Campbell, D. E., G. C. Layman, & J. C. Green. 2016. A Jump to the Right, A Step to the Left: Religion and Public Opinion. In: A. J. Berinsky (Ed.). New Directions in Public Opinion. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Routledge (pp. 232-257).
Barker, D. C. & C. J. Charman. 2000. The Spirit of Capitalism? Religious Doctrine, Values, and Economic Attitude Constructs. Political Behavior 22(1): 1-27.
Roßteutscher, S. 2011. Die konfessionell-religiöse Konfliktlinie zwischen Säkularisierung und Mobilisierung. In: R. Schmitt-Beck (Ed.). Politische Vierteljahresschrift Sonderheft 45: Wählen in Deutschland. Baden-Baden: Nomos (S. 118-140).

Group Identity
Abdelal, R., Y. M. Herrera, A. I. Johnston, & R. McDemott. 2009. Identity as a Variable. In: R. Abdelal, Y. M. Herrera, A. I. Johnston, & R. McDemott (Eds.). Measuring Identity: A Guide for Social Scientists. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press (17-32).
Sylvan, D. A. & A. K. Metskas. 2009. Trade-offs in Measuring Identities: A Comparison of Five Approaches. In: R. Abdelal, Y. M. Herrera, A. I. Johnston, & R. McDemott (Eds.). Measuring Identity: A Guide for Social Scientists. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press (72-109).
McClain, P. D., J. D. Johnson Carew, E. Walton, Jr., & C. S. Watts. 2009. Group Membership, Group Identity, and Group Consciousness: Measures of Racial Identity in American Politics? Annual Review of Political Science 12: 471-485.

Syllabus: Psychological Mechanisms of Political Communication

This semester, I will take my course Psychological Mechanisms of Political Communication out for a second spin at the University of Mannheim. For this version, I moved somewhat farther away from a standard political communication course by dropping sections on the spiral of silence and opinion leaders and instead included sections on information processing, heuristics, and political knowledge. This should be fun.