Recent Work [Jørgen Bølstad]
Have the EU's reforms increased legislative efficiency? This was one of the key motives behind the Amsterdam, Nice, and Lisbon treaties, but it may conflict with the goal of increasing democratic legitimacy. Using an interrupted time series design, we find that only one of the treaties succeeded at increasing the speed with which the EU creates laws. [read more]
Politics is about sides. It is about knowing your friends and your enemies; it is about groups, sharing goals and values. The most general groups are defined by their side of the center. We thus speak of liberal and conservative voters; left- and right-wing parties. Commentators do so as a matter of course. It would be strange if voters were any different, but the main theories of spatial voting do not capture this logic. [read more]
Is there a "European" public opinion toward integration? This study finds support for this idea, but it also identifies a separate trend among countries in the periphery. A vector error-correction model further demonstrates that both trends are cointegrated with policy: European integration is significantly influenced, or constrained, by public support both in the core and periphery. [read more]
Are European policy-makers able to reassure the bond markets? This study examines the effects of positive, negative and mixed signals by the EU, the ECB, and Germany on long-term government bond-spreads between 2009 and 2012. We find that that policy-makers are able both to make and break markets' trust by sending credible signals. [read more]
How transparent is the EU's legislative process? We show that rules introduced in 2001 triggered a massive shift towards greater transparency in the Council of Ministers. However, we also show that the trend towards greater transparency has been interrupted by the enlargement rounds in 2004 and 2007. [read more]
Is there a rational public? If the average citizen were completely uninformed and uninterested in politics and public policy, a fundamental condition for democracy as a form of government would appear to be missing. Yet existing scholarship is divided on whether this very basic condition is fulfilled. A number of scholars working in this area can be identified as either optimists or pessimists, and their lines of work follow long traditions in democratic theory. [read more]
Does the act of voting for a party improve an individual's evaluation of this party? If so, is this effect simply due to habit-formation, or a more complex psychological mechanism? Drawing on cognitive dissonance theory, we examine the act of voting as a choice inducing dissonance reduction. We go beyond existing research, by focusing on tactical voters — a group for which the notion of habitual reinforcement does not predict an effect. [read more]
Does a party's success in setting policy diminish its electoral prospects? This could give politicians an incentive to constrain the fulfillment of public demands, which would conflict with the notion of electoral accountability. This article addresses this paradox, looking at American presidential elections. [read more]


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