Research Workshop - What People Know and Think: The Role of Attitudes and Information in the Process of Political Decision-Making and Policy Use, 16-17 March 2017, Germany

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THE ROLE OF ATTITUDES AND INFORMATION IN THE PROCESS OF POLITICAL DECISION-MAKING ANDPOLICY USE

at the University of Bamberg, 16-17 March, 2017

CALL FOR POSTERS

The Bamberg Graduate School of Social Sciences happily announces the call for workshop participation for an interdisciplinary research workshop on 16-17 March 2017 at the University of Bamberg. The workshop focuses on the role of information and attitudes within the process of policy design as well as individual policy take-up.

INTER-DISCIPLINARY CONCEPT

What impacts individual use of social policies? And how are policies decided upon in the first place? Which role do attitudes and information of population and policy makers play?
Over the past decades, many European countries have increasingly invested in social policies to facilitate the combination of employment and family. However, previous social science research has on the one hand focused on the structural and institutional level of policy-making, comparing policy decisions over time and across countries to decipher patterns, similarities or differences. On the other hand, studies have predominantly investigated whether changes in social policy have reduced social inequalities and social stratification. However, less is known about the role of attitudes and information when it comes to political decision-making and use of implemented social policies.

To-date, the influence of attitudes and information on the use of policies such as family policies, education policies, welfare policies is well assumed. However, only few studies provide empirical evidence on how individual attitudes as well as relevant information on availability or access conditions may moderate the individual use of policies. Moreover, only few studies have investigated whether and through which channels policy legislation may also alter social attitudes and norms in the short-term. Against the well documented background of socio-economic disparities in use as well as the heterogeneous impact of social policies, this rather comes as a surprise.

There is an equally important research gap with regard to the role of information and attitudes in the process of political decision making itself. Yet, it can be assumed that attitudes and the availability of information have a significant impact on actors and decision-making processes. Again, there is not much research on how attitudes of population and political actors, as well as information through media and other channels, might affect party and government positions on social policy. Little is known especially about how this influences actors’ subsequent strategies in policy-making processes. Social policy has long been a key concern for national governments, and is increasingly important to policy-makers in the European Union. However, research has not sufficiently explored how attitudes and affect policy-makers positions and strategies and alter the European process of social policy-making.

We wish to connect researchers of different disciplines and methodological backgrounds in a workshop to discuss these questions and see how we can jointly improve research: on the importance of attitudes and available information in the context of access and use of social policies as well as the decision-making process of such policies on the national and European level. Our workshop aims to encourage a debate about where research stands, what current theoretical frameworks as well as methods can and cannot achieve and where our research should head.

APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION

The Organizing Committee invites young scholars to present their work and to discuss prospective research with young and established scholars.
We encourage submissions of current research from all areas of social science research but special attention will be given to those concerned with the focus on attitudes and information in policy design and policy take-up - both from a comparative national and European perspective.
Possible themes include but are not limited to ...

  • The role of information or attitudes in policy take-up or policy-design
  • Trends in policy-design on the national and European level
  • Differences in public attitudes and attitudinal change with regard to public policies
  • Treatment studies on information or role models
  • Other approaches that deal with the importance of attitudes and information of population and policy makers.

The workshop is open to all disciplines (sociology, political science, economics), approaches, methods and concepts within the field of policy research, and papers coming from an inter-, trans- or multidisciplinary background are particularly
welcomed. Both research papers of empirical, theoretical or conceptual nature and policy papers are welcomed. If you have any questions regarding your submission please contact the Organizing Committee.
With this call we invite the submission of abstracts (max. 500 words) for papers to be presented in poster sessions. All poster presenters will receive feedback on their work from senior experts. The best poster will be rewarded with a prize in a
competitive selection process.
Furthermore, applicants are invited to join one of the following Focus Groups, held at the second day, in order to discuss prospective research with other young scholars and leading experts in the field:

  1. Information and Attitudes – How to connect Voters, Parties and Policies?
  2. How to measure Attitudes and Information more adequately?
  3. Attitudes and Information – Keys to explain heterogeneous Policy Effects?

Please submit your abstract (max. 500 words) and preference for a focus group via Email to the organizers: marketing.bagss[at]uni-bamberg.de. The deadline for submission is 31 January. Decisions will be communicated until 15 February 2017.

Overview

WHAT IMPACTS INDIVIDUAL USE OF SOCIAL POLICIES? And how are policies decided upon in the first place? Which role do attitudes and information of population and policy makers play? Over the past decades, many European countries have increasingly invested in social policies to facilitate the combination of employment and family. However, previous social science research has, on the one hand, focused on the structural and institutional level of policy-making, comparing policy decisions over time and across countries to decipher patterns, similarities or differences. On the other hand, studies have predominantly investigated whether changes in family policy, such as parental leave legislations and the provision of state-subsidized childcare services, have removed disincentives to female labour supply. However, less is known about the role of attitudes and information when it comes to political decision-making and use of implemented social policies.

 TO-DATE, THE INFLUENCE OF ATTITUDES AND INFORMATION on the use of family policies such as formal childcare services or length of leave take-up, particularly for fathers, is well assumed. However, only few studies provide empirical evidence on how individual attitudes as well as relevant information on availability or access conditions may moderate the individual
use of policies. Moreover, only few studies have investigated whether and through which channels family policy legislation may also alter social attitudes and norms in the short-term. Against the well documented background of socio-economic disparities in use as well as the heterogeneous impact of family policies on parental employment behaviour, this rather comes as a surprise.

THERE IS AN EQUALLY IMPORTANT RESEARCH GAP with regard to the role of information and attitudes in the process of political decision making itself. Yet it can be assumed that attitudes and the availability of information have a significant impact on actors and decision-making processes. Again, there is not much research on how attitudes of population and political actors, as well as information through media and other channels, might affect party and government positions on
social policy, and family policy in particular. Little is known especially about how this influences actors’ subsequent strategies in policy-making processes. Family policy has long been a key concern for national governments, and is increasingly important to policy-makers in the European Union. However, research has not sufficiently explored how attitudes,
such as national work-care norms, and affect policymakers positions and strategies and alter the European process of family policy-making.

WE WISH TO CONNECT RESEARCHERS of different disciplines and methodological backgrounds in a workshop to discuss these questions and see how we can jointly improve research: on the importance of attitudes and available information in the context of access and use of family policies as well as the decisionmaking process of such policies on the national and European level. Our workshop aims to encourage a debate about where research stands, what current theoretical frameworks as well as methods can and cannot achieve and where our research should head.

Fore more information click "further official information" below.

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