The Research Agenda of POLITSOLID: The Ties that Bind - Experimental Analyses of Political Solidarities in Modern European Democracies
18 Pages Posted: 25 Feb 2021
Date Written: February 24, 2021
POLITSOLID (ERC funded Consolidator Grant 2021-5) investigates the micro-foundations of political solidarities in fast-changing European polities. It analyses why some ordinary citizens show a high overall willingness to shoulder costs of public redistribution to other people in a polity, while others do not; and why ordinary citizens have multiple levels of willingness to shoulder costs depending on who receives the benefit.
Relevance: Having high levels of political solidarities is important for modern democracies to deal with exogenous shocks and long-term structural changes in their societies, which create pressures on the political system. Recent exogenous shocks in Europe that brought the necessity of political solidarities to light were the financial crisis (2007/8) with its extensive transnational bail-out policies across the European Union and the large refugee intake (2015/16). Relevant long-term structural changes are population ageing, rising income inequality and mass immigration.
This project answers the overarching research question: What drives political solidarities in modern European democracies?
• To create a novel theoretical and empirical framework that allows simultaneous modelling of multiple political solidarities and that includes the individual as well as the macro levels to enable better predictions about how people behave.
• To test causal mechanisms with a range of mostly experimental methods to get a better understanding of causality where observational studies have so far dominated.
• To isolate effective levers that political actors can pull to create political solidarities.
Data: POLITSOLID collects and analyses new data from (1) lab experiments & online surveys, (2) a simulated artificial state ‘Novaland’ in which volunteers from Austria, Germany & Switzerland act as citizens in an online environment, with experimental treatments applied, (3) an international panel survey in six countries and (4) field experiments in collaboration with real political actors.
Keywords: solidarity; redistribution; altruism; egoism; social policy; experiments; virtual world
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