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Does political knowledge increase turnout? Evidence from the 1997 British general election

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  • Valentino Larcinese

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Abstract

A number of recent formal models predict a positive effect of political knowledge on turnout. Both information acquisition and turnout, however, are likely to be determined by a similar set of variables, rendering hard the identification of a causal link in empirical investigations. Available empirical regularities should therefore be interpreted as mere correlations. I address this problem by using an intrumental variables approach, where the instruments are represented by various proxies of information supply on mass media. Using survey data from the 1997 British General Election Study, I show that political knowledge has a sizeable influence on the probability of voting and that mass media play an important role in influencing political participation. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Public Choice.

Volume (Year): 131 (2007)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 387-411

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Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:131:y:2007:i:3:p:387-411

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Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100332

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Keywords: Voting; Information; Mass media; Political participation; Information aggregation; British politics;

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  1. Timothy J. Fedderson & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1996. "Abstention in Elections with Asymmetric Information and Diverse Preferences," Discussion Papers 1195, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  2. Marci Battaglini & Rebecca Morton & Thomas Palfrey, 2007. "The Swing Voter's Curse in the Laboratory," Working Papers 0019, New York University, Center for Experimental Social Science.
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  5. Richard McKelvey & Peter Ordeshook, 1984. "Rational expectations in elections: some experimental results based on a multidimensional model," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 44(1), pages 61-102, January.
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  8. Grofman, Bernard & Norrander, Barbara, 1990. " Efficient Use of Reference Group Cues in a Single Dimension," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 64(3), pages 213-27, March.
  9. Valentino Larcinese, 2003. "The Instrumental Voter Goes to the News-Agent: Demand for Information, Election Closeness, and the Media," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 579.03, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
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  11. David Strömberg, 2004. "Radio's Impact on Public Spending," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(1), pages 189-221, February.
  12. Valentino Larcinese, 2006. "Information acquisition, ideology and turnout: theory and evidence from Britain," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3606, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  13. Matsusaka, John G & Palda, Filip, 1999. " Voter Turnout: How Much Can We Explain?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 98(3-4), pages 431-46, March.
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  16. David Dreyer Lassen, 2004. "The Effect of Information on Voter Turnout: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," EPRU Working Paper Series 04-03, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  17. Matsusaka, John G, 1995. " Explaining Voter Turnout Patterns: An Information Theory," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 84(1-2), pages 91-117, July.
  18. Kenneth Bollen & David Guilkey & Thomas Mroz, 1995. "Binary outcomes and endogenous explanatory variables: Tests and solutions with an application to the demand for contraceptive use in tunisia," Demography, Springer, vol. 32(1), pages 111-131, February.
  19. Besley, Timothy J. & Case, Anne, 2002. "Political Institutions and Policy Choices: Evidence from the United States," CEPR Discussion Papers 3498, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  21. Kevin Milligan & Enrico Moretti & Philip Oreopoulos, 2003. "Does Education Improve Citizenship? Evidence from the U.S. and the U.K," NBER Working Papers 9584, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Larcinese Valentino, 2005. "Electoral Competition and Redistribution with Rationally Informed Voters," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-28, June.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Rafael Hortala-Vallve & Valentino Larcinese & Stephanie Rickard, 2013. "The Perverse Consequences of Policy Restrictions in the Presence of Asymmetric Information," STICERD - Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers Series 48, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  2. Jo Thori Lind & Dominic Rohner, 2011. "Knowledge is Power - A Theory of Information, Income, and Welfare Spending," CESifo Working Paper Series 3613, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Tito Boeri & Guido Tabellini, 2012. "Does information increase political support for pension reform?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 150(1), pages 327-362, January.
  4. Revelli Federico, 2008. "Performance Competition in Local Media Markets," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 200801, University of Turin.
  5. Oliveros, Santiago, 2013. "Abstention, ideology and information acquisition," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 148(3), pages 871-902.

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