Tuesday Seminar – 7 September

Are Citizens Tougher on Politicians Than Other Professions?
Evidence from Survey Experiments in the United States and Canada

Jean-François Daoust (University of Edinburgh)
John McAndrews (University of Toronto)
Thomas Bergeron (University of Toronto)
Roosmarijn de Geus (University of Oxford)
Peter J. Loewen (University of Toronto)

Being a politician is not among the professions held in high regard by citizens. However, we do not know if citizens are always inherently tough when it comes to evaluating politicians’ day-to day actions or periodical scandal. This is crucial given that the attribution of blame and reward is central to our understanding of the relationship between citizens and politicians. If citizens are tough on politics, or put it another way, display a strong negative bias against their elected representatives, we should be worried about how citizens would hold politicians accountable in a fair way. To examine this relationship of accountability we ask: are citizens tougher on politicians compared to individuals from other professions in identical contexts? We develop two standards for evaluating whether citizens are tougher on politicians. First, we examine whether citizens punish politicians more than other professionals for the exact same offense — and whether they reward them similarly when it comes to benefits associated with a job. Second, we analyze whether, in the absence of information, citizens make less favorable assumptions about the conduct of politicians than the conduct of other professionals. We test these two standards in three pre-registered survey experiments each fielded to nationally representative samples of Americans and Canadians.

Contact Semih Çakır if you would like to participate in the seminar.

This content has been updated on 17 December 2021 at 2 h 20 min.