Roundtable about the 2019 Portuguese Elections

The last SPARC consisted of roundtable about the 2019 Portuguese Elections, composed of the following researchers:

Marina Costa Lobo, António Costa Pinto, Pedro Magalhães and Sofia Serra da Silva.

For the first time SPARC had a live session.

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Joris Alberdingk “Mechanisms of scandal disclosure in 21st century Brazil” 

Joris Alberdingk a PhD 1st year student presented a chapter of his master thesis that aims understand how and why the incriminating information that set off the scandals of Mensalão and Petrolão/Lava Jato  in Brazil was brought to the public eye.

Here’s the abstract

A lot has been written about the consequences of the big scandals of Mensalão and Petrolão/Lava Jato which marked Brazil in the first two decades of this century. However, little research has gone into how and why the incriminating information that set off the scandals was brought to the public eye. This article aims to shed more light on the matter by identifying and examining different causal mechanisms leading to information about official misconduct being disclosed, based on interviews with Brazilian media professionals, an ex-president of the Supreme Court, and a veteran political scientist. It was found that the roles of the media, law-enforcement and the judiciary have shifted considerably between Mensalão and Lava Jato.


Lea Heyne “Why Perceived Deprivation Matters: Social Status and Support for Democracy in Europe”

Lea Heyne presented a paper about the effects of subjective and objective social status on citizens’ expectations and evaluations of democracy

Here’s the abstract:

Why do losers like democracy less than winners? The fact that social status has an impact on satisfaction with democracy is, while empirically established, often overlooked in the literature. This paper analyses the effects of subjective and objective social status on citizens’ expectations and evaluations of democracy. I argue that relative deprivation, defined as the notion of being left behind in society and disadvantaged by social inequality, systematically affects the way citizens judge their own democracy: The lower their status, the more they support substantive over procedural democracy, and the more critical they see their own democracies. Using data for 26 countries from the European Social Survey 6, I test whether citizens’ attitudes towards democracy are affected by perceived deprivation as well as objective socio-economic status. Results show that a low status leads citizens to value democratic dimensions differently – they prefer social justice over liberal criteria. Additionally, low status citizens also evaluate the performance of their own democratic system in all dimensions significantly more critical than their higher status counterparts. These two effects combined create a bigger difference between low-status citizens’ expectations and evaluations, especially in the social dimension, causing them to be more prone to democratic dissatisfaction. I further find differences across countries: Citizens in former communist countries and countries affected by the Eurocrisis generally have higher expectations of democracy, while simultaneously evaluating their own democratic systems more negatively. In Western Europe, on the other hand, social status affects citizens’ attitudes more strongly than in the other country groups.

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Mafalda Mascarenhas “Verão na ULisboa”

O Verão na ULisboa é uma iniciativa da Universidade de Lisboa à qual o ICS se associou para preparar uma semana de atividades relacionadas com as áreas de investigação do instituto. Neste âmbito Mafalda Mascarenhas, assistente de investigação no projecto de investigação MiLD, dinamizou uma atividade sobre psicologia social e marketing.

No final, os alunos que participaram escreveram um post para ser partilhado no blog do SPARC (o texto que se segue foi escrito pelos alunos que participaram no Verão na ULisboa, apenas foram editados erros ortográficos e gralhas).


“A psicologia social do marketing

 Este post pretende abordar a actividade realizada no âmbito do Verão na ULisboa com a investigadora Mafalda Mascarenhas.

Tendo em conta que a psicologia social estuda como as pessoas pensam, influenciam e se relacionam umas com as outras, este ramo enquadra-se no marketing.

Para nos familiarizarmos com este conceito, começámos por realizar uma experiência social, na qual batíamos palmas sempre que ouvíamos um determinado som enquanto os nossos colegas entravam na sala sem saberem o que se passava e analisámos as suas reações. Depois disso, para nos conhecermos melhor, fizemos uma pequena apresentação onde dissemos o nosso nome, o curso que frequentamos, o que queremos seguir na universidade e uma curiosidade sobre nós.

De seguida, a investigadora do ICS explicou-nos o que era a psicologia social e como se enquadra no marketing. Deu-nos alguns exemplos mostrando alguns vídeos e imagens.

Por fim, foi nos lançado o desafio de criar uma publicidade sobre um copo, onde tivemos de usar diferentes tipos de abordagem. Depois apresentámos a nossa publicidade aos  nossos colegas.”





Sofia Serra da Silva “Explaining Cross-national differences: a fuzzy set analysis”

Sofia Serra da Silva presented a chapter of her thesis where she uses QCA to explain differences between Parliament’s profile of citizen’s online engagement across Europe.

Here’s the first paragraph:

“In the previous chapters, the level of online engagement was defined and measured in 21 European countries. The descriptive analysis showed differences among parliaments in the way they choose to invest in ICT to engage with the public. Many questions were left unanswered on which factors explain those differences. Thus, this chapter bases on an explorative approach to explore the combinations of conditions that led to parliaments’ supply of online public engagement tools and activities. The analysis will be focused on the impact of pulling factors, i.e. driving forces that emerge within institutions or politics, in general, through administrative and political reform initiatives and strong political or administrative leadership, and pushing factors, i.e. societal forces (non-political and non-institutional) that promote and facilitate the advances of technology. They include economy-pushing and technology-pushing forces. In order to assess which conditions led to parliaments’ different levels of online public engagement supply, we use a fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis, also known as fuzzy-set QCA. While developed initially by Ragin (1987; 2000), a growing number of scholars have contributed to further elaboration of these techniques. In essence, QCA (qualitative comparative analysis) is a family of comparative techniques that aim to explain macro-social phenomena in a parsimonious way while working with small to medium-size data sets between ten to fifty cases (Vink and Vliet, 2007).”

Yael Shomer How intra-party candidate selection processes foster political engagement: Analysis of the Israeli case (1996-2015)”

Yael Shomer, of Tel Aviv University, presented a paper on the effect of intra-party candidate selection processes on citizens’ political engagement levels.

Here’s the abstract:

“This paper investigates the effect of intra-party candidate selection processes on citizens’ political engagement levels. Previous research has exclusively focused on forms of political participation and found limited evidence for positive long-term consequences. We hypothesize that, contrary to political participation, political engagement levels are positively affected by democratic candidate selection processes. After theorizing on the role of mass media and citizens’ attention to candidate selection, we first test for the effect of candidate selection on two forms of political participation – i.e. voting in elections and partisan participation via membership or party activity. After that, we examine how inclusive intra-party processes influence three forms of political engagement: watching campaign ads, reading daily newspapers and talking about politics with friends. The analysis is based on public opinion data during seven election cycles from the Israel National Election Survey (INES) and candidate selection data on Israeli political parties. The results of the hierarchical models support the hypothesis that democratic candidate selection processes are associated with higher levels of political engagement, while they bare no effect on formal political participation. Contrary to previous research, these findings suggest that democratized candidate selection processes influence citizen political behavior, albeit only forms of political engagement.”