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http://ssrn.com/abstract=2163594
 
 

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Studying Public Opinion on Multidimensional Policies: The Case of the Eurozone Bailouts


Michael M. Bechtel


University of St. Gallen - Department of Political Science

Jens Hainmueller


Stanford University - Department of Political Science; Stanford Graduate School of Business

Yotam M. Margalit


Columbia University

October 1, 2012

MIT Political Science Department Research Paper No. 2012-27

Abstract:     
Studies of policy preferences typically restrict measurements to a single dimension on which respondents are asked to choose between support and opposition to a policy. However, major policy decisions are often multidimensional as they entail a bundle of policy features. We present a survey approach based on conjoint analysis that allows scholars to unpack this multidimensionality and apply it to study voter preferences regarding Eurozone bailouts, a policy with far-reaching economic and political repercussions. We examine how salient dimensions of the bailouts -- burden-sharing, conditionality, and endorsement profile -- affect mass support for these financial transfers in the major donor country, Germany. We find that variations on each of these dimensions strongly affect voters' preferences, with burden-sharing aspects being the most influential. Changes in a bailout's policy composition can lead to large shifts in public support and there is a striking consensus among citizens about the relative importance of the different policy dimensions. These results challenge the prevailing view that an ironclad majority of German voters opposes the funding of further bailouts. The findings also highlight promising avenues for research on the multidimensionality of policy preferences.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 50

Keywords: bailouts, Eurozone, public opinion, conjoint analysis

JEL Classification: F5, P16, F34, D72

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Date posted: October 19, 2012 ; Last revised: March 12, 2013

Suggested Citation

Bechtel, Michael M. and Hainmueller, Jens and Margalit, Yotam M., Studying Public Opinion on Multidimensional Policies: The Case of the Eurozone Bailouts (October 1, 2012). MIT Political Science Department Research Paper No. 2012-27. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2163594 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2163594

Contact Information

Michael M. Bechtel
University of St. Gallen - Department of Political Science ( email )
Bodanstrasse 6
St. Gallen, 9000
Switzerland
HOME PAGE: http://www.mbechtel.com
Jens Hainmueller (Contact Author)
Stanford University - Department of Political Science ( email )
Stanford, CA 94305
United States
HOME PAGE: http://www.stanford.edu/~jhain/
Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )
518 Memorial Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States
Yotam M. Margalit
Columbia University ( email )
3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States
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