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V-Dem Lunch Seminar with Steven Finkel

Research profile seminar

Steven Finkel is visiting scholar 1-5 December, and will present the paper "Learning Democracy: Inducing Democratic Citizenship and Voter Mobilisation through Online Civic Education - An Experimental Approach".

Abstract: How do citizens who lived most of their lives under a dictatorship learn their new roles as democratic citizens? What is the most successful strategy to induce democratic values, increase political knowledge, reduce authoritarian nostalgia, and mobilize voters to participate in elections? In this study we take Tunisia, a new democracy, which overthrew its dictatorship in 2011, as a case study to investigate these questions. We thereby test the transformative power of social media by implementing an online field experiment through Facebook and Instagram. Over two thousand Tunisian youth were recruited through these platforms with on-line advertisements, and were then randomly assigned to three different treatment groups, with each exposed to different sets of original civic education video content. One treatment arm emphasized the positive benefits of a democratic system, another emphasized "loss aversion" by pitting autocracy versus democracy, and a third attempted to induce electoral participation with non-emotional knowledge transfer. A final randomly assigned control group was exposed to a non-political set of videos. The findings suggest that online civic education can have a transformative effect on democratic citizenship: treatment effects were significant across a broad range of outcomes related to behavioral intentions (voting, campaign participation, future registration) and political efficacy and engagement. Preliminary analysis further suggests that the respondents in the "loss aversion" and "democratic benefits" conditions showed the most consistent impacts of the three treatment arms. The research was implemented in collaboration with Washington, D.C. NGO and consulting firm Democracy International.

Lecturer: Steven Finkel is Daniel H. Wallace Professor of Political Science at the University of Pittsburgh, USA.

Date: 12/3/2019

Time: 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Categories: Social Sciences

Organizer: Department of Political Science/V-Dem

Location: B336, Stora Skansen

Contact person: Nazifa Alizada

Page Manager: |Last update: 8/16/2010
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