How Frames Can Stunt Support for Scientific Adaptations:
Politicization and the Status Quo Bias

43 Pages Posted: 15 Aug 2013  

Toby Bolsen

Georgia State University

James N. Druckman

Northwestern University - Department of Political Science

Fay Lomax Cook

Northwestern University - Institute for Policy Research

Date Written: 2013

Abstract

The politicization of science is a phenomenon that has sparked a great deal of attention in recent years. Nonetheless, few studies directly explore the implications of how frames that highlight its politicization affect public support for scientific adaptations. We present a novel theory to study how frames that highlight politicization affect support for using nuclear power, and test our hypotheses with two experiments. We find, in one study, that politicizing science reduces support for nuclear power and renders arguments about the environmental benefits of nuclear energy invalid, regardless of whether there is a reference to consensus scientific evidence. We find, in a second study, that reference to the potential health risks associated with using nuclear power also decreases support, in the presence of additional frames that highlight either science’s benefits or its politicization. In the end, our findings suggest that a status quo bias prevails that can, under some circumstances, serve as a significant impediment to generating public support for scientific innovations.

Keywords: framing, politicization, status quo bias, scientific adaptations

Suggested Citation

Bolsen, Toby and Druckman, James N. and Cook, Fay Lomax, How Frames Can Stunt Support for Scientific Adaptations: Politicization and the Status Quo Bias (2013). APSA 2013 Annual Meeting Paper; American Political Science Association 2013 Annual Meeting. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2301079

Toby Bolsen (Contact Author)

Georgia State University ( email )

Atlanta, GA 30302
United States

James N. Druckman

Northwestern University - Department of Political Science ( email )

601 University Place (Scott Hall)
Evanston, IL 60201
United States
847-491-7450 (Phone)

Fay Lomax Cook

Northwestern University - Institute for Policy Research ( email )

2003 Sheridan Rd
Evanston, IL 60208-2600
United States

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