Research Seminar on Diversity and Development Georgiy Syunyaev "Public attribution of responsibility in autocracies: Evidence from Russia"
HSE International Center for the Study of Institutions and Development (ICSID) and NES Center for the Study of Diversity and Social Interactions are pleased to announce their next joint Research Seminar on Diversity and Development. The event is held jointly with the seminar “Political Economy”.
Georgiy Syunyaev (Columbia University) will present his paper "Public attribution of responsibility in autocracies: Evidence from Russia".
The seminar will be held at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 26, 2020. For registration we would like to ask everyone to send an e-mail to Valeria Kotelnikova at email@example.com until 3 p.m., May 26. Working language of the seminar is English.
Abstract: Correct attribution of responsibility for economic outcomes is one of the key assumptions underlying citizens’ ability to hold politicians accountable: Correct attribution allows citizens to use punishment and reward strategies to discipline politicians and to prevent them from introducing policies that contravene the preferences of the electoral majority (Ferejohn, 1986; Fiorina, 1981). Even in contexts with formal, legal mechanisms of accountability and a putatively free media, citizens often fail to correctly punish and/or reward politicians for economic performance. Among the reasons for the absence of correct blame attribution—even in its most propitious circumstances—scholars highlight scarce or biased information (Alcañiz and Hellwig, 2011), perceptual biases of voters (Bullock, 2011), and diffuse structures of responsibilities in multilevel governments (Malhotra and Kuo, 2008; Reuter and Beazer, 2016). This study examines whether and how contents of media reporting affect citizens’ perception of public policy outcomes, responsibility for those outcomes and evaluation of the politicians in non-democratic context in 4 Siberian regions of Russia: Novosibirsk, Irkutsk, Kemerovo and Krasnoyarsk. I analyze data from an original survey experiment in which respondents are asked to watch video excerpts from "Rossia 1" news reports that aim to inform citizens about responsibility for recent policy outcomes. Respondents are then asked to evaluate the outcomes of various economic policies as well as performance of different levels of government. The design allows me to learn whether popularity of the government in countries without strong democratic traditions and vibrant media can be predicated on strategic and potentially biased framing of the news. One unique feature of this study is its on allocation of responsibility between multiple tiers of the government. This feature allows me to test ability of citizens to correctly attribute responsibility in multi-level government structures — important but empirically understudied aspect of political accountability in comparative context.
We look forward to seeing you!
ICSID and NES CSDSI