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Competition over the Politicization of Science (WP-14-20)

Toby Bolsen and James Druckman

Few trends in science have generated as much discussion as its politicization: when the inherent uncertainty of science is exploited to promote a particular agenda. Politicization can stunt support for scientific adaptations by generating uncertainty about whether one can trust scientific information. Yet, no work explores the impact of politicization in competitive rhetorical settings. Bolsen and Druckman study the effects of counteractive communications that precede or follow the politicization of science.  They generate predictions that they test with nationally representative survey experiments.  They find that politicization’s impact depends on the nature of the competitive communication environment and an individual’s motivation. The results provide novel insights about science communication in a politicized era and offer a blueprint on which future work can build.

Due to journal review, this working paper is currently unavailable.

Toby Bolsen, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Georgia State University

James Druckman, Payson S. Wild Professor of Political Science, Associate Director and Faculty Fellow, Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University