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Knowledge is Power: A Theory of Information, Income, and Welfare Spending

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Author Info

  • Lind, Jo Thori

    ()
    (Dept. of Economics, University of Oslo)

  • Rhoner, Dominic

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Zurich)

Abstract

No voters cast their votes based on perfect information, but better educated and richer voters are on average better informed than others. We develop a model where the voting mistakes resulting from low political knowledge reduce the weight of poor voters, and cause parties to choose political platforms that are better aligned with the preferences of rich voters. In US election survey data, we nd that income is more important in a ecting voting behavior for more informed voters than for less informed voters, as predicted by the model. Further, in a panel of US states we nd that when there is a strong correlation between income and political information, Congress representatives vote more conservatively, which is also in line with our theory.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Oslo University, Department of Economics in its series Memorandum with number 26/2011.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: 28 Nov 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:osloec:2011_026

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Department of Economics, University of Oslo, P.O Box 1095 Blindern, N-0317 Oslo, Norway
Phone: 22 85 51 27
Fax: 22 85 50 35
Email:
Web page: http://www.oekonomi.uio.no/indexe.html
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Keywords: Redistribution; Welfare Spending; Information; Income; Voting; Political Economics;

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References

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Cited by:
  1. Roland Hodler & Simon Luechinger & Alois Stutzer, 2012. "The Effects of Voting Costs on the Democratic Process and Public Finances," Working papers 2012/02, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.

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