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Andersson, Bendz & Olofsson Stensöta, 2018 🔗

The Limits of a Commitment? Public Responses to Asylum Policy in Sweden over Time

Year: 2018

Type of text: Vetenskaplig artikel

Published by: Scandinavian Political Studies, 41(3)

Language: Engelska

Author: Dennis Andersson, Anna Bendz and Helena Olofsdotter Stensöta

Pages: 28

Available at:
[Inte offentligt tillgÀnglig, abstract tillgÀngligt via lÀnk]

Short description of text

Artikeln Àr en kvantitativ studie som undersöker sambandet mellan antal beviljade asylansökningar, som författarna menar Àr att rÀkna som ett direkt resultat av den förda asylpolitiken, och allmÀnhetens attityd till invandring under perioden 1990-2015. De undersöker ocksÄ rollen av media, som förmedlar politikens resultat, dvs antalet beviljade asylansökningar i denna studie, till allmÀnheten. De tar förutom media Àven individers politiska orientering i beaktning, eftersom tidigare forskning visat att vÀnster-höger positionering troligtvis pÄverkar hur och om attityden till invandring förÀndras med förÀndring i antalet beviljade asylansökningar.

Most important results

“The findings display at first no effects of a general public response in relation to immigration policy, measured as asylums granted. However, when including the visibility variable (media coverage of the subject refugees), a significant relationship between asylums granted and attitudes emerges [which is negative]; hence, we interpret the findings as revealing a previously suppressed relationship. Indeed, the analysis shows that media moderates the relationship between asylums granted and attitudes towards granting asylum, so that more media visibility increases the distance between attitudes.” (309)

“When the sample is divided into political subgroups along the left‐right ideological dimension, it is shown, first, that people oriented to the left are more positively disposed to accepting more refugees, while those oriented to the right are more negative towards accepting more refugees.” (309)

“The public does not respond in parallel to policy change, which in turn makes it harder for the representatives to represent the public (Page & Shapiro 1992).” (331)

“Important to note is that the findings show weak effects in general, which means that public responsiveness is after all not very pronounced in this case; however, it exists. A relevant discussion concerns why the effects are comparatively modest.” (331)

Perspective/theoretical framework

  • democratic responsiveness
  • policy feedback 
    •  â€œAs Campbell (2012) concludes, earlier research on policy effects on attitudes has been inconsistent, since some studies (e.g., Wlezien 1995) find effects on attitudes and some do not (e.g., Soss & Schram 2007).” (310)
    • negative feedback: thermostatic model
    • “This model proposes that a responsive public behaves like a thermostat and adjusts its preferences for more or less policy in relation to the policies undertaken in various domains. Hence, if the public’s preferred level of policy is below the current level and the decision‐makers respond by increasing the level of policy, the public should respond by expressing a decrease in their preferences for more policy: net public support for a certain policy will decrease.” (310)
      • negative feedback would mean that the larger the number of asylums granted, the more negative the public attitudes to allowing more refugees into the country become
    • positive feedback: two ways
      •  â€œThe first way is if people’s experiences of policy reform are positive, they may want more of the same” (311)
      •  â€œIn the second way, people may adjust their preferences as a consequence of a policy change, coming to prefer a higher ‘level’ of policy” (311)


Statistisk regressionsanalys. Den beroende variabeln ‘attityd till invandring’ mĂ€ts genom svaret pĂ„ SOM-undersökningens pĂ„stĂ„ende om “Sverige borde ta emot fĂ€rre flyktingar” (7 gradig skala) och den oberoende variabeln Ă€r policyutfall, som i artikeln operationaliserats som antal bifall pĂ„ asylansökningar. Perioden som mĂ€ts Ă€r 1900-2015.

Summarised by: Josefin Åström