ECPR Lisbon: Attributions of Responsibility Dynamics and Determinants

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ECPR Lisbon: Attributions of Responsibility Dynamics and Determinants

  1. 1. Attributions of Responsibility Dynamics and Determinants: The Case of the 2005 German Election Lisbon, April 17, 2009 Thorsten Faas University of Mannheim ECPR Joint Sessions, Workshop 16 “Political information, public knowledge and perceptions of reality”
  2. 2. Attributions of Responsibility 1 • Workshop “Political Information, public knowledge and perceptions of reality”: How do people see (and explain) reality? What is the role of the informational environment? • Attributions of responsibility as a crucial element • Important … – … from an individual’s point of view – … but also from the point of view of the political system as a whole: what is government / politics responsible for? • Studying such attributions – their determinants, but also their effects – as an important task for political science • Here with respect to economic situations: Who is responsible for the state of the economy (and how can we explain that)?
  3. 3. Determinants of Attributions of Responsibility 2 • ÊDefensive attributions“ • ÊMorselizing“ / “politically relevant variance” • Political sophistication • ÊContextualization“ (real-world cues, front-page news) Information environment • Campaigns • Partisan rationalizations and cultural predispositions
  4. 4. Data 3 • Rolling Cross-Section Survey covering the final 41 days of the 2005 German Federal Election campaign (n=3,583) • Items: – “What do you think, to what extent is the ruling government responsible for the development of this economic situation: to a large extent, to some extent or not at all?” – Êthis economic situation“ refers to • Individual’s own economic situation • Situation of the national economy – dichotomized
  5. 5. Data 4 • ÊDefensive attributions“ Perceived state of own and national economic situation • ÊMorselizing“ / “politically relevant variance” • Political sophistication Interest in Politics • ÊContextualization“ (real-world cues, front-page news) Interaction term Media usage (total vs. by source) • Campaigns Distance to Election Day • Partisan rationalizations and cultural predispositions Party Identification, Left-Right-Placement
  6. 6. Development of Level of Attributed Responsibility 5 1 Mean Level of Attribution .5 0 13.8. 20.8. 27.8. 3.9. 10.9. 17.9. date Individual's economic situation Nation's economic situation
  7. 7. Determinants: National Economic Situation 6 Media use: total Media use: by source Ind. Econ. Ind. Econ. Nat. Econ. Nat. Econ. Interest Interest Left-Right Left-Right PI: SPD PI: SPD PI: Union PI: Union PI: other PI: other day day Media use: total Media use: total Media use: priv. TV Media use: priv. TV Media use: Public TV Media use: Public TV Media use: Tabloid Media use: Tabloid Media use: Quality Media use: Quality interaction interaction -4 -3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3 4 -4 -3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3 4 logit coefficients logit coefficients
  8. 8. Determinants: Individual Economic Situation 7 Media use: total Media use: by source Ind. Econ. Ind. Econ. Nat. Econ. Nat. Econ. Interest Interest Left-Right Left-Right PI: SPD PI: SPD PI: Union PI: Union PI: other PI: other day day Media use: total Media use: total Media use: priv. TV Media use: priv. TV Media use: Public TV Media use: Public TV Media use: Tabloid Media use: Tabloid Media use: Quality Media use: Quality interaction interaction -4 -3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3 4 -4 -3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3 4 logit coefficients logit coefficients
  9. 9. Determinants: Individual Economic Situation 8 + Interaction Term Ind. Econ. Nat. Econ. Interest Left-Right PI: SPD PI: Union PI: other day Media use: total Media use: priv. TV Media use: Public TV Media use: Tabloid Media use: Quality interaction -4 -3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3 4 logit coefficients
  10. 10. Predicted Probabilities 9 1 .8 probability .6 .4 .2 0 0 .2 .4 .6 .8 1 Individual economic situation National economic situation ... ... very poor ... good ... poor ... very good ... average
  11. 11. Conclusions 10 • Information environment affects how people make sense of the world • Information can have different sources • However, media effects hard to understand without content analysis • Contact: Thorsten Faas University of Mannheim A5, 6 68131 Mannheim Germany Thorsten.Faas@uni-mannheim.de www.thorsten-faas.de

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