Marina Costa Lobo and Ian McManus “Technocracy in the EU: The Eurocrisis and Technocratic Legitimacy

Marina Costa Lobo presented her an Ian’s paper on support of technocratic governments in countries that have undergone a bailout (Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain). Here’s the abstract:

“Theory presents technocracy and democracy as a zero-sum game, but is it really so from a citizens’ perspective? Our main goal is to understand the social and political correlates of support for technocracy in the countries which experienced with different forms of technocracy during the Eurozone crisis. In fact, the Eurocrisis constitutes a natural experiment in which to analyse the correlates of technocratic legitimacy among citizens. Using Eurobarometer data, we measure support for technocracy in the Eurozone between 2009 and 2014, with a particular focus on countries that have undergone a bailout (Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain). For that purpose, we will consider the Eurozone as a whole and also distinguish between the GIIPS in order to understand whether the correlates for the Eurozone as a whole and the GIIPS as a group hold for each individual country. In addition, we test whether ideological positioning is significant for attitudes towards technocracy. “



Ignacio Lago and Mariano Torcal “Electoral Coordination and Party System Institutionalization”

Ignacio, from Universitat Pompeu Fabra, presented his and Mariano’s paper on electoral volatility and party system institutionalization.  Here’s the abstract:

“A new theoretical development for examining the institutionalization of party systems is proposed in this paper. We build on electoral coordination theories to disaggregate volatility into the vote transfers that occur between or towards parties that are in equilibrium (which we call endogenous volatility) and those that are not (exogenous volatility). The former captures accountability, and the latter reflects the number of voters who are acting in accordance with the existing equilibrium in the party system. Exogenous volatility measures the institutionalization of party systems. We show that endogenous volatility depends on government performance, while exogenous volatility is a function of institutional openness. The empirical evidence comes from an original data set that includes 448 electoral cycles in lower-house elections in 66 countries between 1977 and 2011.”

 Key Words: Accountability; Coordination; Equilibrium; Party System Institutionalization, Volatility.

Pedro Magalhães and Tiago Abril “Favorable Outcomes, Procedural Fairness, Political Support: Lab Experiments”


Pedro presented his and Tiago’s paper on favorable outcomes, procedural fairness and political support. Here’s the first paragraph:

“Several authors demonstrate that people care not only for political outcomes, but also about the way those outcomes are generated, the fairness in the process. Research has reported not only interactive effects between outcomes and procedures, but showed that the fairer the procedures, the less people seem to care about outcomes (Brockner and Wiesenfeld 1996; Gangl 2003; Grimmelikhuijsen and Meijer 2014; Van Dijke and Verboon 2010; Wilking and Zhang 2017). The results from our last online survey also support this effect. Although there is an empirically supported theoretical body, some aspects remain unclear. Qne first unclear aspect is the extent to which procedural fairness and outcome favorability matter for people when reacting to political and policy decisions. For instants, Esaiasson et al. (2016) suggest that “decision acceptance” is more driven by outcome favorability than by procedural fairness, but our online survey suggests the opposite. A second unclear aspect relates with the possible different effects from dimensions of procedural and which might be more consequential for political support. The previous results from our online survey suggest different effects from different dimension of procedural fairness. A third unclear aspect is if the process-outcome interaction applied when political support is concerned.  Our online survey suggests the existence of strong mediations, but also a tendency for interactions.”

Pedro Magalhães

Alice Ramos “The impact of values on attitudes towards immigration: the view of natives and im(e)migrants”

Alice presented a paper focusing on immigrants’ views about new immigrants. Here’s the first paragraph:

“European contemporary societies are getting more and more diverse and nothing makes us suppose that this tendency will regress. This diversity is largely originated by the migratory dynamics that characterise the present world. According to the International Migration Report , the number of international migrants worldwide has continued to grow rapidly over the past fifteen years reaching 244 million in 2015. During the last decades these fluxes of people have been particularly intense in Europe that has witnessed different contexts and causes – from the drama lived by the refugees to the human capital flight caused by the economic crisis that affected some European countries; from the pre-crisis arrival of many economic migrants to their departure during the crisis – the social landscape suffered considerable changes that in a way or another, with more or less intensity, influenced peoples’ lives and beliefs.”

Alice Ramos

Daniela Campello and Cesar Zucco “Commodity Price Shocks and Misattribution of Responsibility for the Economy: Observational and Experimental Evidence”

Cesar, from Getúlio Vargas Foundation, presented his and Daniela’s paper on commodity price shocks and responsibility for the economy. Here’s the abstract:

Recent research has documented the existence of a misattribution bias the tendency to systematically attribute economic outcomes caused by exogenous shocks to president competence among Latin American voters. This paper examines whether this behavior results from individuals’ lack of information needed to benchmark their country’s economic performance. We run survey-experiments in Brazil and in Ecuador that examine whether the provision of information about countries’ relative economic performance and, more directly, the occurrence of exogenous economic shocks prompts respondents to reassess president competence. We find that information has a very small effect, restricted to sophisticated voters only, but also surprisingly consistent across different experimental designs and countries. Results point to the limits of the economic vote as an instrument of democratic accountability in the region.
Commodity Price Shocks and Misattribution of Responsibility for the Economy Observational and Experimental Evidence

Carlos Martins (ICS): Fascism and Ideology: Fascist Leaders and their “Weltanschauung”

Carlos presented work related to this political theory dissertation on Fascist ideology. From the Intro:

“Since its very beginning, the fascist phenomenon has been dealt by researchers and intellectuals in general in a variety of different ways, some of them apparently irreconcilable. According to Garau (2015), academic studies on fascism are split in two main different approaches: one of them paying much attention to ideology as a crucial element to understand fascism, while the other sees ideology as something less important, if not totally irrelevant. The former approach can be considered as the predominant one nowadays, for most researchers do pay attention to ideology as something relevant to understand the phenomenon of fascism and important theorists and ideologues like Giovani Gentile and Carl Schmidt have already been subject of several studies.” IMG_0190

Joana Gonçalves-Sá (IGC), “40 years of debates: a computational approach to the study of the Portuguese Parliament”

Joana, from the Gulbenkian Institute of Science, presented her work on the computational analysis of discourse in the Portuguese parliament. Here’s the abstract:

“Individual decisions can have a large impact on society as a whole. This is obvious for political decisions, but still true for small, daily decisions made by common citizens. Individuals decide how to vote and whether or not to stay at home when they feel sick. In isolation, these individual decisions have a negligible social outcome, but collectively they determine the results of an election and the start of an epidemic. New data sources and data analysis tools have made it possible to study the behaviour of large numbers of individuals, enabling the rise of large-scale quantitative social research.

At the Science and Policy (S&P) group we are interested in understanding these decision-making events, particularly the behaviours that affect health and disease. We have been focusing on two types of problems. The first is related with what we usually identify as political debate and deliberation. The second is disease dynamics. Both cases depend strongly on both the behaviours of individuals (in bottom-up collective processes), and of decision-makers (the top-down decisions).

During the seminar I will try to bring them together and argue that specific political (and economic?) moods can work as triggers for epidemics. I will offer some background on our work on understanding disease dynamics and then focus on the computational analysis of the last 40 years of debates at the Portuguese Parliament, particularly during economic crisis settings.

I will describe some of the tools that we have been developing, or refining, to automatically identify and extract discourse and voting patterns, and to analyse the individual votes and plenary discourses of all members of the PP from 1976 to 2016. We are now beginning to compare individual discourses with each other and with those of each represented political party. In particular, we have been focusing on the IMF interventions to understand how networks and discourse changed during “times of austerity”. The hypothesis is that these strongly affect public health and disease dynamics and we are comparing the political discourse data with other datasets.

More generally, we expect this corpus and tools to offer insight on how the dynamics have changed in 40 years of democracy and approach questions such as whether the public debate has become more or less polarized, whether the representatives are becoming more or less homogeneous, in terms of stated positions and votes, or how have the arguments (broadly) changed with time. Therefore, and given the wide scope of questions that could gain from such resources, we are preparing a website to make all of our data (including debates and databases) freely and easily available to researchers, journalists and interested citizens.”