In the past three decades, scholars have frequently used the concept of framing effects to assess the competence of citizens' political judgments and how susceptible they are to elite influence. Yet prior framing studies have reached mixed conclusions, and few have provided systematic cumulative evidence. This study evaluates the overall efficacy of different types of framing effects in the political domain by systematically meta-analyzing this large and diverse literature. A combined analysis of 138 experiments reveals that when examined across contexts, framing exerts medium-sized effects on citizens' political attitudes and emotions. However, framing effects on behavior are negligible, and small effects are also found in more realistic studies employing frame competition. These findings suggest that although elites can influence citizens by framing issues, their capacity to do so is constrained. Overall, citizens appear to be more competent than some scholars envision them to be.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
Copyright © The Author(s) 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press.
- citizen competence
- framing effects
- media effects
- political attitudes
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Political Science and International Relations