Abstract

Using data from a randomized field experiment within a Deliberative Poll, this paper examines deliberation’s effects on both policy attitudes and the extent to which ordinal rankings of policy options approach single-peakedness (a help in avoiding cyclical majorities). The setting was New Haven, Connecticut, and its surrounding towns; the issues were airport expansion and revenue sharing – the former highly salient, the latter not at all. Half the participants deliberated revenue sharing, then the airport; the other half the reverse. This split-half design helps distinguish the effects of the formal on-site deliberations from those of other aspects of the treatment. As expected, the highly salient airport issue saw only a slight effect, while much less salient revenue-sharing issue saw a much larger one.

Research Paper