(Mis)perceptions of political actors

April 25, 2017, 11.00 am - 12.00 pm

Eawag Dübendorf

Referent: Manuel Fischer, Umweltsozialwissenschaften
Ort: Forum Chriesbach, FC-C24
Sprache: Englisch 

Although often presumed to behave rationally, political actors are, at best, only “boundedly” rational. One aspect of bounded rationality is that actors involved in policy-making act according to their limited perception of the situation of policy problems and other actors around them. Taking actors’ potential (mis)perceptions into account is crucial, both when gathering data from actors, as well as when aiming at explaining their behavior. Many ideas on the behavior of collective political actors are adopted from socio-psychology, and their transfer to policy-making studies is based on important assumptions. Survey data on collective actors active within different Swiss policy sectors, and the comparison between actors’ subjective perceptions and more objective information, allows for an understanding of these (mis)perceptions. My presentation will discuss some of the most important approaches to conceptualize actors’ (mis)perceptions, related assumptions, and implications for data gathering and analysis.