When do deliberative citizens change their opinions? Evidence from the Irish Citizens’ Assembly
Work data:ISSN: 1460-373X
Type of work: Journal
Categories:Politics and Political Science
Many claims have been made for the impact of deliberative democracy in generating change in people’s opinions, and often in predictable ways. It is claimed that people involved in deliberation change their minds on important issues. We also know that political participation and attitudes towards certain issues depend on political knowledge and civic education. To what extent are these linked? Do certain types of people react differently to their involvement in deliberation and is opinion change contingent on the varying capacities and knowledge of participants? Using data from a nationwide exercise in deliberative democracy carried out in Ireland we find some evidence that the ‘deliberative’ citizen, or at least the citizen most likely to shift opinion following deliberation, is under 65, with median levels of knowledge. We also find that heterogeneous groups are important for deliberation to be effective.