WAPOR Regional Conference: Barcelona, Spain

WAPOR Regional Conference
Barcelona, Spain
November 24-25, 2016

The World Association for Public Opinion Research (WAPOR), in collaboration with the Research and Expertise Center in Survey Methodology (RECSM) and the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, will hold a regional conference on November 24-25, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. The theme of the conference is Political Trust in Contemporary Representative Democracies.

Democratic representation seems to be in a crisis, at least from the citizen perspective. This is most notoriously observed in the low and still decreasing levels of political trust in the main institutions of democratic representation (parliaments, governments), social and political institutions of aggregation of interest (political parties and unions), and even international and supranational political and economic institutions. Citizens seem to be more and more critical towards these institutions essential for the political, economic and social order of contemporary representative democracies.  This is a particularly notable problem in today’s world, given the already visible consequences. Citizen distrust can lead to significant threats to representative democracy such as political populism, increased levels of political protest and decreased levels of citizen involvement in electoral politics, the emergence of radical, non-systemic parties and even increased political violence.

This topic has enjoyed considerable research attention, but the extant literature on political trust suffers from several problems.  First, most of the studies are centered in a limited number of the world’s regions, mostly in Western postindustrial societies and more concretely in Europe and the United States, creating a case-selection bias in the literature that limits the generalizability of its findings.  Second, the existing data are also fragmented and incomplete, especially aggregate data, limiting our ability to notice trends both over time and cross-nationally. Third, data analyses are not properly done or are based on a reduced number of case studies (countries), diminishing the statistical efficiency of the estimators at the aggregate level. Finally, most of the evidence on political trust is based on cross-sectional surveys (national and comparative) using the traditional institutional trust scale.

The aim of this congress will be to facilitate better research on the topic by increasing scholarly discourse on political trust and by calling for interregional comparative studies with individual or aggregate data on political trust, or for case studies based on innovative measures of political trust and for using innovative survey designs or survey experiments. Papers based on big data from internet and social media sources will be also welcome.

We welcome research that deals with the conference theme as well as other traditional WAPOR  research topics, but especially those dealing with the following topics:

  • Inter-regional comparative studies of political trust
  • Institutional factors of political trust
  • Elites and political trust
  • Economic crises and political trust
  • Political and non-political institutional trust
  • Political consequences of political trust
  • Political trust in supranational organizations: contamination or compensation
  • Methodological innovations for the study of political trust
  • Survey innovations and political trust


Two different types of proposals can be submitted:

1. Regular Research Papers: The proposals should include a general description of the research paper (research topic, specific research questions or hypotheses, methods and results, as applicable) as well as full contact information (mailing address, e-mail address and telephone number) for each (co-)author or participant on a separate sheet of paper. Maximum length: 750 words in English. The papers will be allocated to paper presentation sessions or a poster / interactive session, depending on the nature and content of the papers.

2. Panel Proposals: The proposals should include an overview of the panel (listing all papers, authors, titles and contact information of all presenters). In addition, it should list a short (100 words) summary of the different contributions, and specify the language of the presentations. There is a minimum of 4 and maximum of 5 papers for a panel. A written commitment of being present at the conference should be included from at least one author of each paper. Maximum length of proposal: 1,000 words in English.

All papers and proposals must be written in English following APA guidelines for manuscripts, and all proposals must be submitted to mariano.torcal@upf.edu no later than July 1, 2016.  All the proposals will be evaluated by the Scientific Committee of the Congress.


You can find more information about the conference including details about registration, the organizers, and Barcelona on the conference website. Please feel free to distribute this to others who might be interested.

See you in Barcelona!