How (Not) to Study Ideological Representation

David Broockman has an important paper on political representation apparently forthcoming in LSQ.

He notes two ways to study the political representation of issues, policies, and preferences. On the one hand we can examine citizen-elite congruence issue by issue. On the other hand, we can calculate “policy scores” to capture ideal points of overall ideologies and compare these between citizens and the elite. The paper convincingly demonstrates that the latter approach is flawed in the sense that it doesn’t really capture political representation in the way we generally understand it.

Broockman, David E. 2015. “Approaches to Studying Policy Representation.” Legislative Studies Quarterly.

Attitudes towards Foreigners in Switzerland

It’s been a long time in the making, and took long to appear on the web, but our paper on attitudes towards foreigners is finally available at the International Migration Review. in this paper, we use data from the Swiss Household Panel to examine individual attitudes towards equal opportunities for foreigners and Swiss citizens. Various tests show that we indeed tap into attitudes towards immigrants. We find that individuals with low levels of education tend to oppose immigrants, something quite established in the literature. By contrast, there is evidence that individuals with high levels of education are less positive when their risk of unemployment increases. The negative attitudes of people with low levels of education can be explained by their values and beliefs, but not the association with the risk of unemployment for individuals with high levels of education. We interpret this that both values and economic factors are important for explaining attitudes toward foreigners, despite many recent contributions dismissing economic factors at the individual level.