The Politicization of Science and Support for Scientific Innovations (WP-13-11)


IPR-WP-13-11

Toby Bolsen, James Druckman, and Fay Lomax Cook

Does the politicization of science influence support for scientific innovations? Can it render appeals to evidence inconsequential? The authors use an experiment embedded within a large survey to study these questions, focusing on how exposure to information that highlights the politicization of science affects support for using nuclear power. They find that politicizing science renders arguments about the environmental benefits of nuclear energy invalid, with or without a reference to consensus scientific evidence, and, in fact, reduces support for using it. The authors’ goal is to set an agenda of research that focuses on how the politicization of science shapes public opinion. The findings have implications for the future of scientific innovations in today’s politicized scientific climate.

Toby Bolsen, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Georgia State University
James Druckman, Payson S. Wild Professor of Political Science, and Associate Director and Faculty Fellow, Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University
Fay Lomax Cook, Professor of Human Development and Social Policy and Faculty Fellow, Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University

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