Explaining changes in Palestinian and Israeli opinions towards a peace settlement

The project focuses on understanding the formation and evolution of Palestinian and Israeli opinions about the core elements of a peace settlement.

We plan to use data from the Joint Israeli-Palestinian Poll (JIPP) to better understand the emergence of opinions and what makes people shift from one position to another. We are particularly interested in understanding the evolution of opinions of individuals and different social groups (as characterized for example by age, gender, economic class, education level, area of residence, religiosity, etc) and in exploring whether some of these groups influence the formation of opinions in the rest of society over time.

A change in opinions relative to the elements of a peace settlement is likely to correspond to a change of strategy (and not necessarily a change in preferences). Such changes can be due to changes in external circumstances that affect bargaining power, or to internal learning effects that change the way the “other” is perceived (learning effects).

We would want to clarify conceptually how opinions can interact and change over time, and then test empirically which of the possible explanations for these observed shifts is most compatible with observations.

Economic Research Forum