New articles on the CIR
New and old data from the CIR research project has produced fresh insights on the CIR process. The newest article comes from Robert Richards, who recently completed a doctoral dissertation at Penn State on the importance of “intersubjectively relevant information.” Richards’ work includes theoretical and experimental studies relevant to the CIR, and his most recent publication uses the CIR to illustrate some of his theoretical insights. His newest article will appear soon at Policy & Politics:
Making policy information relevant to citizens: A model of deliberative mini-publics, applied to the Citizens’ Initiative Review. Policy & Politics. Explains why the CIR provides voters with the kind of information they need to make decisions on ballot measures.
By way of a tease, here’s one important insight, which appears in the articles first footnote:
Before 2014, CIR panelists wrote CIR ballot-measure evaluations (‘citizens’ statements’) themselves, using information submitted during CIR proceedings. In 2014, CIR procedures were changed such that CIR ‘participants began deliberations with a set of claims [hereinafter “initial claims”] developed by advocates and largely worked to
prioritize and edit these claims for inclusion in the Citizens’ Statement’ (Gastil et al., 2015, p. 5). Each 2014 CIR citizens’ statement includes some assertions consisting of unique language not included in initial claims, some combining unique language with paraphrased or copied portions of initial claims, and some consisting of portions of initial claims, as well as some consisting of initial claims copied whole. Therefore 2014 CIR panelists retained discretion to shape the content of CIR citizens’ statements.
Earlier this year, an essay examining data from the very first Oregon CIR in 2010 appeared in American Politics Research. This study reanalyzed data first presented in a CIR report from that year, and it shows clearly the impact a CIR Statement can have on voter decision making.
Gastil, J., Knobloch, K., Reedy, J., Henkels, M., & Walsh, K. C. (2017). Assessing the Electoral Impact of the 2010 Oregon Citizens’ Initiative Review. American Politics Research. Shows the voter impact of the 2010 CIR on sentencing reform through a survey experiment and a cross-sectional phone survey.
Here’s the main takeaway from this second article:
The balance of evidence across these two studies suggests that reading the 2010 Oregon CIR on Measure 73 reduced support for it. One cannot estimate
from the data the precise net impact on final ballot tallies in Oregon because there exists no definitive measure (beyond self-reporting) of what percentage
of Oregon voters read the CIR panel’s Citizens’ Statement. The experiment in Study 1 found that reading the Statement doubled the number of voters at
least leaning against the measure, and Study 2 found an equally strong association between reading the Statement and opposing Measure 73.
By way of reminder, the CIR Research Project always welcomes new collaborators who can draw fresh insight on the CIR and public deliberation from our data. For more information, visit our data access page.