Raymond Duch is an Official Fellow at Nuffield College and is the Director of the Nuffield Centre for Experimental Social Sciences (CESS), which currently has centres in Oxford and Santiago, Chile, and Nankai, China. Prior to assuming these positions he was the Senator Don Henderson Scholar in Political Science at the University of Houston. He received his BA (Honours) from the University of Manitoba in Canada and his MA and PhD from the University of Rochester. In addition, he has held visiting appointments at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona; the Hoover Institute and the Graduate School of Management, Stanford University; the Institute for Social Research Oslo; the Université de Montréal; and the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung. He is currently the Long Term Visiting Professor at the Institute for Advanced Studies at the Toulouse School of Economics. Professor Duch has served as Associate Editor of the American Journal of Political Science and the Journal of Experimental Political Science. He is one of the founders of the European Political Science Association and the International Meeting on Behavioural Science (IMEBESS) and is currently Vice-President of the Midwest Political Science Association. In 2015, Professor Duch was selected as a member of the UK Cabinet Office Cross-Whitehall Trial Advice Panel to offer Whitehall departments technical support in designing and implementing controlled experiments to assess policy effectiveness. He was recently nominated to the Evidence in Governance and Politics network.
Professor Duch’s research focuses on responsibility attribution, incorporating elements of theory, experiments and analysis of public opinion.
His award-winning 2008 Cambridge University Press book entitled The Economic Vote demonstrates that citizens hold political parties accountable for economic outcomes – economic evaluations in the 160 surveys (from 18 countries) he analyses is one of the most important factors shaping the vote decision. But the importance of the economic vote varies across counties and, sometimes, within countries from election to election. It varies because voters are able to determine when governing parties in fact are responsible for shaping economic outcomes and when they are not. Voters understand how collective decision-making in coalition governments can diffuse government responsibility for economic outcomes; they are able to figure out when external factors (such as global economic shocks) reduce government competency for economic outcomes; and they understand how political institutions (such as federalism) can moderate the effect of the federal government on economic outcomes.
How do citizens figure out what might appear to be complex features of economics and politics that on the face of it seem quite demanding in terms of information? Professor Duch’s research has focused on understanding how citizens solve these decision-making challenges. A unifying theme in this effort is the notion that voters deploy various information shortcuts in order to make reasoned – some would say rational – decisions.
And his research focuses on different components of the decision-making challenge. One element concerns the economy. He has proposed a model for how citizens make these information shortcuts in collecting information about the macro-economy. It focuses on how messages about the macro-economy are diffused, primarily through the media, and how citizens use these economic cues to form expectations about economic outcomes. In ‘Context and Economic Expectations: When Do Voters get it Right?’ in the British Journal of Political Science (2010), Professor Duch demonstrates how these information shortcuts result in quite accurate expectations regarding price fluctuations in 12 European countries. As part of this effort to identify the information shortcuts associated with evaluating the macro-economy, he has explored the extent to which political cues, such as those from governing parties or, in the US case the President, provide cues regarding macro-economic outcomes. This is the theme in ‘The Heterogeneity of Consumer Sentiment in an Increasingly Homogeneous Global Economy’ published in Electoral Studies (2011), and in ‘The Meaning and Use of Subjective Perceptions in Models of Economic Voting’, Electoral Studies (2013).
More recently Professor Duch has turned to experiments in order to identify the information shortcuts that individuals deploy for attributing responsibility for collective decision making. The broad intuition here is that individuals are frequently confronted with situations in which groups make decisions and individuals have developed a set of heuristics (or information shortcuts) that help them hold individual members of the collective decision making body responsible for collective outcomes. Professor Duch has conducted lab, field and online experiments in a variety of different countries in order to identify these information shortcuts. Results from these experiments have been reported in ‘Voter Perceptions of Agenda Power and Attribution of Responsibility for Economic Performance’, Electoral Studies (2013), ‘Responsibility Attribution for Collective Decision Makers’, American Journal of Political Science (2015) and ‘Coalition Context, Voter Heuristics and the Coalition-directed Vote’, (working paper, CESS, 2012).
A current area of interest is the micro-foundations of cheating and unethical behavior. Professor Duch has run real effort tax compliance experiments designed to understand who cheats at taxes. Results are summarized in a paper entitled ‘Why We Cheat?’, which is currently under review. An extension of this project examines tax compliance in different tax regimes. Lab and online experiments have been used to explore who in the population is most likely to cheat at their taxes and how policies can be designed to encourage tax compliance.
Professor Duch’s teaching focuses on experimental methods and recently he has taught courses on this topic in the University of Oxford’s Department of Politics and International Relations, in the CESS centres in Oxford and Santiago, at the University of Santiago Business School, University of Toronto Munk School, Pompeu Fabra University Barcelona, and at the Oxford/Essex Summer School. Professor Duch also conducts workshops on evidence-based experimental methods for policy making in both the private and governmental sector. Recent workshops have been conducted for the UK Department of Business Innovation and Skills and the Chilean Ministry of Education.
In addition to his native English, Professor Duch is fluent in French and has a working knowledge of Spanish. He has conducted research in North America, Europe, Africa, Latin America, Eastern Europe, and the Republics of the former Soviet Union. He was born in Winnipeg, Canada, and spent over 30 years studying and teaching in the US, prior to his position at Nuffield College.