Recent experimental evidence ﬁnds that the decision maker in a collective decision making entity with proposal power attracts a disproportionate amount of the blame or reward by those materially aﬀected by these decisions. In the case of coalition governments evidence suggests that voters have heuristics for assigning responsibility for economic outcomes to individual parties and that they tend to disproportionately direct the economic vote toward the Prime Minister party. This essay demonstrates that voters also identify the Finance Minister party as an agenda setter on economic issues depending on whether the coalition context exaggerates or mutes its perceived agenda power. We deﬁne cabinet context as the extent to which coalition parties take issue ownership for particular policy areas. We ﬁnd that when decision making is compartmentalized, voters perceive the ﬁnance minister as having agenda power and hence it receives a relatively larger economic vote; in more “diﬀuse” cabinet contexts it is the PM Party that is attributed responsibility for the economy.
Raymond Duch is an Official Fellow at Nuffield College, University of Oxford, and the Director of the Nuffield Centre for Experimental Social Sciences (CESS), which currently has centres in Oxford (UK), Santiago (Chile), Tianjin (China) and Pune (India). Prior to assuming these positions, he was the Senator Don Henderson Scholar in Political Science at the University of Houston. He received his BA (Honours) from the University of Manitoba in Canada and his MA and PhD from the University of Rochester. In addition, he has held visiting appointments at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona; the Hoover Institute and the Graduate School of Management, Stanford University; the Institute for Social Research Oslo; the Université de Montréal; and the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung. He is currently the Long Term Visiting Professor at the Institute for Advanced Studies at the Toulouse School of Economics.
He draws on theory, experiments and public opinion analysis to understand how citizens solve decision-making challenges. This includes looking at how citizens use information shortcuts to make decisions. For example in ‘Context and Economic Expectations: When Do Voters get it Right?’ (British Journal of Political Science, 2010), he demonstrates how information shortcuts result in quite accurate expectations regarding price fluctuations in 12 European countries. One of his current areas of interest is the micro-foundations of cheating and unethical behaviour. He has run real effort tax compliance experiments designed to understand who cheats at taxes, the results of which are summarized in ‘Why We Cheat?’ (currently under review). An extension of this project examines tax compliance in different tax regimes.
Ray has served as Associate Editor of the American Journal of Political Science and the Journal of Experimental Political Science. He is one of the founders of the European Political Science Association and the International Meeting on Behavioural Science (IMESBESS), and he is currently Vice President of the Midwest Political Science Association. In 2015, Ray was selected as a member of the UK Cabinet Office Cross-Whitehall Trial Advice Panel to offer Whitehall departments technical support in designing and implementing controlled experiments to assess policy effectiveness. He was recently nominated to the Evidence in Governance and Politics network.