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Choice in politics: Equivalency framing in economic policy decisions and the influence of expertise

Colin R. Kuehnhanss, Bruno Heyndels and Katharina Hilken

European Journal of Political Economy, 2015, vol. 40, issue PB, 360-374

Abstract: Political decision-making involves the presentation of policy options from opposing points of view and in different lights. We test whether economic policy decisions are subject to equivalency framing by presenting survey participants with binary risky-choice decisions in hypothetical policy scenarios. Potentially mediating influences of expertise on the framing effect are explored using responses of students and professionals. Expertise is thereby defined in line with common education and work experience criteria in the recruitment of public officials. We mostly find unidirectional framing effects in the economic policy scenarios and a similar susceptibility of respondents with different levels of expertise. A logistic regression of the expertise variables on the choice between certain and risky options reveals only the frame to have a systematically significant effect across scenarios. The results indicate that expertise may not necessarily help to make better policy choices under risk, if the available options are framed differently.

Keywords: Equivalency framing; Political decision-making; Economic policy; Expertise (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D73 D81 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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