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Patrick Fournier @ Hot Politics Lab

February 10 @ 3:00 pm 4:00 pm

In this session of the Hot Politics Lab, Patrick Fournier (University of Montreal) will give a talk titled “Do Emotions Drive the Link Between Winning and Satisfaction with Democracy? Leveraging the Lion King, the Super Bowl, and the World Cup”.

The talk will be followed by a Q&A, and everbody is welcome to join via Zoom: https://uva-live.zoom.us/j/82942755100 at 3pm (CET).

Abstract: It is well known that people who vote for electoral winners have higher levels of satisfaction with democracy than those who do not. The literature on this link posits a policy mechanism (people become satisfied or dissatisfied because their party will or will not enter government and form policy) and an emotional mechanism (people become satisfied or dissatisfied because winning and losing affects feelings and emotions that then impact satisfaction), but it has not been able to disentangle the two convincingly. To address this, we employ three pre-registered studies. One study is a survey experiment where participants are randomly assigned to a view a positive/negative excerpt of the animated movie The Lion King before expressing their satisfaction with democracy. Two other two studies exploit the outcome of the 2022 Super Bowl and the final game of the 2022 World Cup. In each case, we interview several thousand people in the two geographic regions home to the two football teams, who are exogenously separated into winning and losing groups based on the outcome of the game. Our interviews are held just before and just after the game’s outcome is known. This short-term interrupted panel design allows us to estimate the causal effect of experiencing victory on satisfaction with democracy. Further, as the outcome of the games has no bearing on governmental policy, any difference in satisfaction with democracy across groups is attributable to emotions—especially if effects are bigger for respondents with a strong attachment to one of the competing teams. A null effect would suggest that prior findings of a winner’s boost in satisfaction with democracy are attributable to policy considerations.