Skip to main content

Department Seminar: Compromise and Trade-offs on Salient Policy Issues

Ida Hjermitslev
Wednesday, September 28, 2022, 1:30 pm – 3:10 pm

Department Seminar

Title: Compromise and Trade-offs on Salient Policy Issues

Recent research provides reasons to be quite optimistic about voters’ appreciation for compromise in politics. Compromise is touted as a democratic virtue and voters are broadly supportive of the abstract idea of compromise. However, we do not know much about how voters evaluate compromise on actual policy issues that they care about. Will voters understand and appreciate that parties will have to make concessions on some issues in order to influence others? Or do voters expect their representatives to stay ideologically pure across the board?

Furthermore, issues might vary in nature. Some issues associated with a socio-cultural policy are usually more principled, while those associated with a socio-economic policy are more pragmatic. Voters might expect parties to have a stable position on a principled issue, but expect parties to be responsive to changing circumstances on pragmatic issues. Willingness to compromise "to make things happen" is part of a pragmatic approach - especially in multiparty systems. But are voters still in favor of compromise if it implies that policies will move away from their ideal point on the issues they feel strongly about?  

In a conjoint experiment, embedded in a survey of Austrian voters conducted in June 2022, I test various hypotheses about the interactive effects of policy positions, issue salience, and compromise behavior.