Blame attribution and political trust’ change in times of crisis. An experimental approach

Autor principal:
Roser Rifà (Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona)
Sesión 1
Día: lunes, 13 de julio de 2015
Hora: 15:00 a 17:30
Lugar: Aula 12

To understand to what extent individuals attribute responsibilities for the political outcomes to the political institutions is a core point in political science research today, to the extent that the attributions of responsibility work as mediators of political evaluations. In this paper, I attempt to assess to which extent blame attribution affects trust in political institutions in a context of economic crisis. And, furthermore, I pursue to know whether the perceived improvement or worsening of the economic crisis have an impact on the level of trust towards the political institutions. I give an answer to the questions above by using a pretest-posttest experiment conducted in May 2014 in Spain.

My expectations are twofold. On one hand, I work with the hypothesis that to receive a stimulus by which an institution is responsible of the correct/incorrect functioning of a public policy or the economy –that is, to give credit to or, contrarily, to blame for– will be translated into a change of political trust (higher or lower trust), in a way that if responsibility is attributed and the outcome is positive (credit), the higher the trust. And the reverse when the perceived outcome is negative (blame). On the other hand, I hypothesise that the impact of a stimulus on the level of trust would be higher when there is a reference of a specific public institution involved in the functioning of the economic crisis; that is, when individuals have a referent to which attribute blame about a given situation. Very first results confirm that, as hypothesised, blame attribution acts as a mediator for political trust change under some critic circumstances.

Palabras clave: experiment, blame attribution, political trust, crisis, pretest-posttest design