Erik Peterson

QSS Postdoc published in the Journal of Experimental Political Science

Erik Peterson, a postdoctoral fellow in the Program in Quantitative Social Science, recently published an article on candidate communication in the Journal of Experimental Political Science. Peterson and his co-author are interested in whether politicians can use targeted messages to offset the costs of taking an unpopular issue position that would other reduce their public support. Using survey experiments, they showed that two types of policy justifications, in which politicians employ either evidence or values to justify their stances, fail to offset the costs of unpopular position taking. Overall, Peterson’s study highlights limits on politicians' ability to use justifications to reduce the costs of deviating from the opinions of constituents.