Department of Political Science

Performance information in politics: How framing, format, and rhetoric matter to politicians’ preferences

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  • Martin Bækgaard
  • Nicola Bellé, Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies Pisa, Italy
  • Søren Serritzlew
  • Mariafrancesca Sicilia, University of Bergamo, Italy
  • Ileana Steccolini, Essex Business School, United Kingdom
Performance information research has grown rapidly over the last decade with much research emphasizing the importance of how information is framed, presented, and communicated by using a distinct rhetorical appeal. In this study, we examine how the framing, format, and rhetoric of performance information
influences preferences among elected politicians. We study the direct effects of how information is presented. We also argue that performance information is always a mixture of different frames, formats, and rhetorical appeals and that it is therefore important to account for interaction effects. Using a large-scale survey experiment with responses from 1,406 Italian local politicians, we find that framing and ethos-based rhetoric affect politicians’ responses to performance information. We also find that the format of presentation is important in several ways. Thus, politicians are more likely to support the status quo when information is presented graphically rather than textually, and a graphical format furthermore reduces the impact of ethos-based rhetoric and – to a lesser extent – the impact of equivalence framing.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Behavioral Public Administration
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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