The will for reason: voter demand for experts in office Articles uri icon

publication date

  • June 2021

start page

  • 1506

end page

  • 1531


  • 7


  • 44

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0140-2382

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1743-9655


  • Populism and technocracy constitute the main challenges to party government. While significant research has been devoted to support for populism, less is known about voters" demand for experts. In this study, a conjoint experiment in Spain to examine whether citizens prefer experts in executive positions is presented. It focuses on the most common form of expert participation in office: individuals who combine technical expertise and a party affiliation, the technopols. The conjoint experiment is complemented with a priming manipulation to examine to what extent the demand for experts depends on whether the crisis of representation is presented as a crisis of responsiveness or a crisis of responsibility. The results show that voters value expertise above any other candidate trait, including partisanship. Exposure to neither framing of the crisis substantially alters the strong demand for technopols. These findings contribute to the literature on voter attitudes towards the crisis of party government.


  • experts; technocracy; representative democracy; party government; conjoint experiments; spain