8. Convincing citizens

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In a democracy, public acceptance of proposed policies is an important determinant of a successful government. Communication plays an important role in ascertaining public acceptance. The government has to convince the public that the proposed policy in the interest of the individual citizen or of society as a whole. To attain this goal, the government is expected to use proper arguments instead of taking its refuge to manipulation. Therefore, the quality of the arguments used is important. Argument quality is determined by two aspects: (1) <i>argument strength</i>, i.e., the belief in the probability that a consequence will arise, and (2) <i>argument valence</i>, i.e., the perceived desirability of the consequence. In order to convince the public of a policy&#8217;s desirability, the government has to convince the public that the policy will probably have desirable effects. This paper presents empirical research on how to attain this goal.


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