Matthew Hepplewhite

  Wednesday, 8th February 2023

  14:30 - 15:30

   Butler Room - Nuffield College + Online: Request the link

   How Important Are Candidates’ Sociodemographic Characteristics to Britons? An Investigation Using Experimental Data

ABSTRACT

Scholars have tested, at the experimental level, what kind of politicians (in terms of sociodemographic characteristics) Britons want to act as their representatives (see, for example, the work carried out by Rosie Campbell, Philip Cowley, Nicholas Carnes, Noam Lupu, Nick Vivyan, and Stefanie Reher).

However, there are a number of sociodemographic characteristics which have not been tested, which I believe could be important to Britons – indeed, perhaps more important than those which have been tested. Specifically, it has not been tested whether the type of secondary school that politicians attended (state or private), the type of university that politicians attended (Oxbridge or non-Oxbridge), the type of subject that politicians studied at university, or the number of subjects studied at university matter to British voters.

Moreover, none of the existing experimental studies have tested whether Britons’ preferences with regard to politicians’ sociodemographic characteristics withstand the introduction of policy positions.

Furthermore, none of the experimental studies test whether Britons have different views with regard to the type of person they want as their constituency MP and the type of people they want in the House of Commons as a whole.

My research extends the current literature by testing the additional sociodemographic characteristics listed above, testing whether Britons’ preferences with regard to politicians’ sociodemographic characteristics withstand the introduction of policy positions, and testing whether Britons have different views with regard to the type of MP they want to represent them and the type of MPs they want in the House of Commons as a whole.

I plan to do this via a conjoint experiment in the BES and a number of surveys conducted by YouGov.