What has salience to do with it?
In the third week of my reading class, we read this recent paper
Dennison, J. (2020). How issue salience explains the rise of the populist right in western europe. International Journal of Public Opinion Research, 32(3), 397–420. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ijpor/edz022
The author argues that various explanations for radical right support are all linked to the salience of their issues (first and foremost immigration).
What we liked
The students (and I) thought this was an interesting new approach to an already crowded (but still interesting) field. Students found the text accessible and well-structured, liked the models (particularly the presentation of the fixed effects approach, which was new to most of them) and the literature review. They also said the benefited from the carefully written introduction and the extensive conclusions.
What we did not like so much
There was not much we did not like, but some minor points were raised. The figures were less than perfectly readable. The argument for aggregating individual data was not immediately obvious (but became clear once we discussed the alternatives). Students would have liked some explanations re the random effects specification and asked for replication data.
We also wondered if it would have been possible/necessary to include fixed effects in the structural equation model. And finally, the students were a bit disappointed that the only case for which individual data were available was the UK, arguably an unusual case in the larger far-right landscape. But at the end of the day, we very much enjoyed reading this text.