Martin Bisgaard awarded for outstanding dissertation

Martin Bisgaard wins this year’s best PhD dissertation award from the American Political Science Association's section on political psychology. This is the first time the award is won by a person from a university outside the US.

2017.09.01 | Ingrid Marie Fossum

Martin Bisgaard has just received the prestigious award at this year’s American Political Science Association conference in San Francisco. Photo: Lars Kruse (from AUFF's award ceremony 5/24-17)

“It’s very impressive that Martin receives this award, because naturally there’s massive competition for the award from a vast number of talented PhD students from all the best universities in the US. We have every reason to be proud of him. Martin’s award helps underline the fact that we have a good PhD programme at Aarhus BSS and a strong environment within political psychology and opinion research,” says Martin Bisgaard’s colleague and PhD supervisor Rune Slothuus.

In his award-winning dissertation ’Perceiving the Unobservable’, Bisgaard studies what controls our perception of the “unobservable” national economy. The economy is an important factor in relation to who people vote for. But are we as voters capable of forming perceptions about the country’s economy? Bisgaard studies various origins of voter opinion: The voters’ party affiliation and day-to-day experiences as well as the communication of politicians.

He compares it to being a supporter of a football team. If you support the incumbent government, you generally have a more favourable view of the economy than if you support the opposition. Bisgaard’s research breaks new ground because it demonstrates that on the one hand there are limits to how far government and opposition supporters will go when it comes to “distorting” economic facts. If it is obvious that the state of the economy has been poor, such as during the financial crisis, even government supporters will realise this. But, on the other hand, this does not mean that government supporters will oust their own party. For example, when they realise that the economy is in a poor state, government supporters will suddenly find many good reasons why the government cannot be held responsible.

The dissertation consists of four articles, three of which were published in the leading journals Journal of Politics and American Journal of Political Science. Martin’s PhD supervisor Rune Slothuus praises him for his good work:

“Martin is an exceptionally skilled and talented young researcher, and the award shows that his strategy of aiming to publish in the very best journals has borne fruit, in this way as well.”

Slothuus and Bisgaard are now working together on the project "When and How Political Parties Influence Public Opinion Formation".

Another award
Earlier this year, Martin Bisgaard won another award for his PhD dissertation when the Aarhus University Research Foundation presented him with their PhD award of DKK 50,000. Read the story here 

Martin Bisgaard’s PhD dissertation ’Perceiving the Unobservable – How Partisanship and Everyday Life Influence Citizens’ Perceptions of the National Economy’ can be read in Politica. 

Read more about Martin Bisgaard and his research on his PURE profile.

The four articles in the PhD dissertation are:

  • Partisan Elites as Culprits? How Party Cues Shape Partisan Perceptual Gaps. American Journal of Political Science (published together with Rune Slothuus)
  • Bias Will Find a Way: Economic Perceptions, Attributions of Blame, and Partisan-Motivated Reasoning During Crisis. The Journal of Politics
  • How Do Partisans Respond to New Evidence? The Two-Step Process of Belief Revision and the Hydraulic Nature of Partisan Bias Working paper
  • Reconsidering the Neighborhood Effect: Does Exposure to Residential Unemployment Influence Voters’ Perceptions of the National Economy? The Journal of Politics (published together with Peter Thisted Dinesen and Kim Mannemar Sønderskov)

 

 

 

 

Awards