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How to Improve Citizen Understanding of European Union Policies?

European Union
Public Policy
Knowledge
Quantitative
Communication
Experimental Design
Lab Experiments
Roman Senninger
Aarhus Universitet
Roman Senninger
Aarhus Universitet

Abstract

In their interinstitutional agreement on better law-making the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union, and the European Commission agree that ‘Union legislation should be comprehensible and clear, allow citizens, administrations and businesses to easily understand their rights and obligations (...)’. To achieve this goal many different measures to facilitate the comprehensibility of European Union (EU) policies are used. These include explanatory memorandums, fact sheets, press releases, and promotional videos, among other things. In light of the large number of measures it is difficult to disentangle which activities prove effective. This project addresses the question how we can improve citizens’ understanding of EU policies. In addition, it examines whether a better understanding increases the willingness to engage with EU policies. To do so, randomized evaluations of the impact of various measures to facilitate the comprehensibility of policy content are conducted. Workshops with the general public are organized and participants are randomly assigned to control and treatment conditions receiving different information about EU policy. A pre-analysis plan outlining the experimental design will be presented at the conference panel.