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Political complexity and the pervading role of ideology in policy-making

journal contribution
posted on 2024-02-02, 14:50 authored by Benoît Béchard, Helen Hodgetts, Frédéric Morneau-Guérin, Mathieu Ouimet, Sébastien Tremblay

Policy-makers use different decision-making strategies and base their decisions – more or less explicitly – on both expert knowledge and opinions in order to cope with the sheer complexity of societal challenges and the political environment. Most politicians rely to some extent on personal ideology in the implementation of public policies. Potential decision biases such as ‘repair service behaviors’ – the human tendency to fix immediate problems rather than employ long-term strategies – also influence decision-making. While ideology plays a prominent role in politics, we know too little about its effect on political decision-making. Some researchers would argue that the use of ideology and repair service behavior facilitate the decision process, while others suggest that it adversely affects the ability to make logical decisions. Using a political microworld simulation that reproduces complex real-world problems, we investigate the effects of repair service behavior and personal ideology on performance in a dynamic decision-making task. Although repair service behavior was not associated with performance, the results suggest that personal ideology significantly impaired goal attainment. Despite clear instructions to be as objective as possible and think critically in completing the task, ideology was powerful enough to disrupt logical policy-making, as indicated by the deviation from optimal scores and the overall microworld task goal, i.e., to win votes and be re-elected by the end of the game.


Published in

Journal of Dynamic Decision Making


Heidelberg University


  • VoR (Version of Record)


Béchard, Benoît; Hodgetts, Helen; Morneau-Guérin, Frédéric; Ouimet, Mathieu, & Tremblay, Sébastien (2024). Political complexity and the pervading role of ideology in policy-making. Journal of Dynamic Decision Making.

Electronic ISSN


Cardiff Met Affiliation

  • Cardiff School of Sport and Health Sciences

Cardiff Met Authors

Helen Hodgetts

Cardiff Met Research Centre/Group

  • Applied Psychology and Behaviour Change

Copyright Holder

  • © The Authors


  • en

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