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Much ado about debt?

Understanding how people reason about debt sustainability and fiscal policy

Add to calendar 2023-05-09 17:00 2023-05-09 18:30 Europe/Rome Much ado about debt? Sala Triaria Villa Schifanoia YYYY-MM-DD


09 May 2023

17:00 - 18:30 CEST


Sala Triaria

Villa Schifanoia

Join Björn Bremer as he presents his recent co-authored research written with Charlotte Cavaille, Catherine de Vries, and Lisanne de Blok at the Political Economy Working Group seminar series.

Evidence of popular support for fiscal discipline and debt reduction have led researchers to hypothesise that, contra conventional wisdom, a possible electoral basis for debt consolidation exists. This seminar will present a paper that uses novel British survey data to further assess the contours of a possible demand for fiscal consolidation. First, authors examine the existence of a pro-consolidation sub-constituency, that is, an influential subset of voters who prioritize fiscal discipline over other issues.

Second, they turn to persuasion bias and investigate whether voters tend to resist arguments describing high debt levels as sustainable while more willingly accepting arguments describing them as unsustainable. Third, the paper tests for the existence of mental models that exist independently of partisan messaging and predispose voters to favor fiscal discipline. Researchers find no evidence that British voters tilt the balance in favor of fiscal consolidation in these ways, and discuss implications for future research on fiscal politics in Western democracies.


Björn Bremer (Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies (MPIfG))

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