Campus News

Citizen competence researcher to deliver UGA 2012 Parthemos Lecture

Athens, Ga. – Arthur Lupia, the Hal R. Varian Professor of Political Science at the University of Michigan, will deliver the University of Georgia George S. Parthemos Lecture on April 20 at 10:30 a.m. in room 214 of the Miller Learning Center. The title of his lecture is “The Trouble with Voters… and Those Who Try to Fix Them.”

Hosted by the UGA School of Public and International Affairs’ department of political science, the event is free and open to the public.

Many people believe the trouble with voters, Lupia said, is there are a lot of things they do not know about politics. This leads some to want to “fix” voters, but he argues that many aspiring “fixers”-including policy advocates, experts on science and medicine and social scientists-also lack important information about how citizens think and learn. Others are mistaken about what information is necessary or sufficient for competent decision-making. This can undermine their attempts to improve civic competence.

In addition to his public lecture, Lupia will spend two days on campus interacting with students and faculty.

“We are lucky that Professor Lupia is willing to share so much of his time with us,” said John Maltese, head of the department of political science in SPIA.

“He epitomizes a scholar whose research matters,” Maltese said. “He studies how people make decisions when they lack information, and he has applied his insights to practical, real-world situations, such as voting and elections, civic competence, the relationship between Congress and the bureaucracy and the role of media in politics.”

In addition to being a prolific scholar and highly sought-after lecturer, Lupia is a founder of Time-Sharing Experiments for the Social Sciences, an organization that has helped hundreds of scientists from many disciplines run innovative experiments on opinion formation and change using nationally-representative subject pools. He also is a principal investigator of the American National Election Studies, one of the world’s best-known scientific studies of elections.

The Parthemos Lecture honors late political science professor George S. Parthemos, who taught at UGA from 1953 until his death in 1984. During his career at the university, he served as an Alumni Foundation Distinguished Professor, head of the department of political science and vice president for instruction.