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Does Political Knowledge Increase Turnout? Evidence from the 1997 British General Election

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  • Valentino Larcinese

Abstract

A number of recent formal models predict a positive effect of politicalknowledge on turnout. Both information acquisition and turnout, however,are likely to be determined by a similar set of variables, rendering hard theidentification of a causal link in empirical investigations. Availableempirical regularities should therefore be interpreted as mere correlations. Iaddress this problem by using an instrumental variables approach, where theinstruments are represented by various proxies of information supply onmass media. Using survey data from the 1997 British General ElectionStudy, I show that political knowledge has a sizeable influence on theprobability of voting and that mass media play an important role ininfluencing political participation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE in its series STICERD - Political Economy and Public Policy Paper Series with number 01.

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Date of creation: Feb 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cep:stipep:01

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Web page: http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/default.asp

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Keywords: voting; information; mass media; political participation;

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  1. 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.
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  5. Lindert, Peter H., 1996. "What Limits Social Spending?," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 1-34, January.
  6. Valentino Larcinese, 2006. "Information Acquisition, Ideology and Turnout:Theory and Evidence from Britain," STICERD - Political Economy and Public Policy Paper Series 18, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  7. Barry Nalebuff & Ron Shachar, 1999. "Follow the Leader: Theory and Evidence on Political Participation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 525-547, June.
  8. Sobel, Joel, 1985. "A Theory of Credibility," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(4), pages 557-73, October.
  9. Marco Battaglini & Rebecca Morton & Thomas Palfrey, 2007. "The Swing Voter’s Curse in the Laboratory," Levine's Bibliography 321307000000000760, UCLA Department of Economics.
  10. Matsusaka, John G & Palda, Filip, 1999. " Voter Turnout: How Much Can We Explain?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 98(3-4), pages 431-46, March.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Matsusaka, John G, 1995. " Explaining Voter Turnout Patterns: An Information Theory," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 84(1-2), pages 91-117, July.
  15. 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).
  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. David Strömberg, 2004. "Radio's Impact on Public Spending," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(1), pages 189-221, February.
  18. Coupe, Tom & Noury, Abdul G., 2004. "Choosing not to choose: on the link between information and abstention," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 261-265, August.
  19. ALDASHEV, Gani, 2006. "Political information acquisition for social exchange," CORE Discussion Papers 2006020, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
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  21. 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.
  22. John Ferejohn, 1986. "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 5-25, January.
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Cited by:
  1. Lind, Jo Thori & Rhoner, Dominic, 2011. "Knowledge is Power: A Theory of Information, Income, and Welfare Spending," Memorandum 26/2011, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  2. 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.
  3. Boeri, Tito & Tabellini, Guido, 2005. "Does Information Increase Political Support for Pension Reform?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5319, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Oliveros, Santiago, 2013. "Abstention, ideology and information acquisition," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 148(3), pages 871-902.
  5. Revelli, Federico, 2008. "Performance competition in local media markets," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(7), pages 1585-1594, July.

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