Headlines 2017

The role of research in politics

2017-09-05

Magnus Henrekson, IFN, Marika Lindgren Åsbrink, LO, and Ulf Kristersson, M, in conversation about the role of research in politics. Photo: Karl Gabor.

On Tuesday, IFN, in cooperation with Studentlitteratur (Student Literature), held a seminar called "Is research the antidote to fake news?" Magnus Henrekson, IFN, led a conversation in which Ulf Kristersson, M, explained that the political debate’s detachment from research is a problem. Simultaneously, he said that politicians often listen to what economists have to say. Marika Lindgren Åsbrink, LO, felt that both fake news and filter bubbles cause problems in the political debate. Three researchers who are also authors of the anthology Nationalekonomis frågor  (National Economics Issues), talked about their research: Johanna Möllerström, Maria Börjesson and Henrik Jordahl.

  • 9:30 minutes into the seminar Johanna Möllerström presents "When do we want to help others?"
  • 21:40 into the seminar Maria Börjesson presents "Do socioeconomic estimates affect transport policy decisions?"
  • 36:00 into the seminar Henrik Jordahl presents "Do voters vote with their wallets?"
  • The moderated conversation between Marika Lindgren Åsbrink, LO, Ulf Kristersson, M, and Magnus Henrekson, IFN, starts 48:30 minutes into the seminar.

Panel 3.jpgPhoto: Karl Gabor

Panel 2.jpgPhoto: Karl Gabor

Johanna Möllerström, Professor at Humboldt University in Berlin, presented the research behind her chapter titled "When do we want to help others?" "There are those who always want to redistribute, there are those who never want to and there are those who want to redistribute sometimes”, she explained. In the United States, where her experiments and research were conducted, the first two groups each make up about 30 percent of the population. She noted that in Sweden the group sizes would likely be slightly different.
 

Johanna Möllerström.jpgPhoto: Karl Gabor

See Johanna Möllerström's presentation
 

Maria Börjesson, Professor at Statens Väg- & Transportforskningsinstitut (State Road and Transport Research Institute), spoke on the theme: "Do socioeconomic estimates affect transport policy decisions?" She explained that there is certainly fake news in the transport sector. As an example, she gave the claim that "we have a maintenance debt to the railroad" and that "too little is estimated and set aside for investment in transport infrastructure". Börjesson said that communal profitability often plays an insignificant role when transport policy decisions are made.
 

Maria Börjesson.jpgMaria Börjesson, Professor at Statens Väg- & Transportforskningsinstitut (State Road and Transport Research Institute), spoke on the theme: "Do socioeconomic estimates affect transport policy decisions?" She explained that there is certainly fake news in the transport sector. As an example, she gave the claim that "we have a maintenance debt to the railroad" and that "too little is estimated and set aside for investment in transport infrastructure". Börjesson said that communal profitability often plays an insignificant role when transport policy decisions are made.

See Maria Börjesson's presentation

 

Henrik Jordahl, associate professor at IFN, spoke about his research on whether voters vote with their wallets (the chapter in Nationalekonomins frågor is written together with Mikael Elinder, Uppsala University, who is also affiliated with IFN). Jordahl explained that the voters often vote based on election promises that affect their private finances. This also means that people take election promises seriously. As an example the researchers have studied what happened when the Social Democrats promised and later introduced the “maxtaxa” within childcare. They show that the implementation affected parents with younger children and caused them to vote for the Social Democrats.

 

Henrik Jordahl.jpgPhoto: Karl Gabor

See Henrik Jordahl's presentation
 

The seminar was full and there were many positive comments. "Good seminar w @IFN_Stockholm about politics’ dual need for scientific foundation and ideological passion!" wrote one of the participants on Twitter. Ulf Kristersson commented, "It's refreshing to be here. This is far from the [usual] political conversation culture in Sweden."

 

Forskarna + Eric Rehn.jpg

Maria Börjesson answers a question from the audience. To the left in the first row, Eric Rehn, Studentlitteratur, who opened the seminar with a presentation of the book Nationalekonomins frågor (National Economics Questions). Photo: Karl Gabor.

Research Institute of Industrial Economics, Grevgatan 34 - 2 fl, Box 55665, SE-102 15 Stockholm, Sweden | Phone: +46-(0)8-665 45 00 | info@ifn.se