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Information-processing by individual political actors. The determinants of exposure, attention and action in a comparative perspective

Objective

A well-functioning democracy implies that political actors are aware of the real problems in society, their potential solutions, and the associated preferences of citizens. This requires information about the real world. This project examines how individual political actors process information coming out of society. Its goal is to lay bare the patterns whereby exposure to certain types of information regarding problems lead to specific forms of attention to that information triggering particular kinds of action by political actors. For the first time, this project tackles the information-processing of political actors in a direct, encompassing and comparative manner. Drawing on previous work on agenda-setting, on bounded rationality and on representation the project first develops a theory of individual political actors’ dealing with information. Information-processing depends on properties of the source of information, of the message itself, and of the receiver of the information. Laying bare the information streams and information-processing of political actors is complex. The study assesses the behavior of political actors in three countries (Belgium, Canada and Israel) and across actors’ different institutional positions (MPs, ministers, party leaders). I expect to find differences between institutional position of actors and between nations. In fact, the countries under study have very different political systems which should lead to a different information-processing behavior of elites. The heart of the empirical part of the project is an in-depth, almost ethnographic study of the information-processing of fifty politicians in each country. These actors are observed relying on (a) time-budgeting, (b) participatory observation, and (c) interviews. Apart from this sample of fifty actors, the entire population (or a large sample) of political actors will be scrutinized using (d) surveys, (e) experiments, and (f) behavioral records.

Call for proposal

ERC-2011-ADG_20110406
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

ERC-AG - ERC Advanced Grant

Host institution

UNIVERSITEIT ANTWERPEN
Address
Prinsstraat 13
2000 Antwerpen
Belgium
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 1 693 444,08
Principal investigator
Stefaan Johan Aloys Walgrave (Prof.)
Administrative Contact
Anne Adams (Ms.)

Beneficiaries (4)

UNIVERSITEIT ANTWERPEN
Belgium
EU contribution
€ 1 693 444,08
Address
Prinsstraat 13
2000 Antwerpen
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Principal investigator
Stefaan Johan Aloys Walgrave (Prof.)
Administrative Contact
Anne Adams (Ms.)
ROYAL INSTITUTION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF LEARNING MCGILL UNIVERSITY

Participation ended

Canada
EU contribution
€ 96 676,99
Address
845 Sherbrooke Street West
H3A0G4 Montreal
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Martyn Liness (Mr.)
THE HEBREW UNIVERSITY OF JERUSALEM
Israel
EU contribution
€ 492 338,40
Address
Edmond J Safra Campus Givat Ram
91904 Jerusalem
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Jane Turner (Ms.)
THE GOVERNING COUNCIL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO
Canada
EU contribution
€ 214 940,50
Address
Kings College Circle 27
M5S 1A1 Toronto
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Krista Montgomery (Ms.)