What Citizens Know Depends on How You Ask Them: Experiments on Time, Money and Political Knowledge
AbstractSurveys provide widely cited measures of political knowledge. Do unusual aspects of survey interviews affect these measures? An experiment on a nationally representative sample of over 1200 Americans provides an answer. Respondents are randomly assigned to one of four groups. A control group answers questions in a typical survey context. Respondents in three treatment groups are given a longer window of time in which to answer questions, a small monetary incentive for answering questions correctly, or both. These variations increase performance significantly for almost every knowledge question we asked. Overall, average knowledge scores in the treatment groups are 11-24 percent higher than in the control group. The treatments also cause significant reductions in the magnitude of respondents’ errors on open-ended questions. The findings imply that new elicitation strategies can improve our understanding of what citizens know about politics and other socially relevant phenomena.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by EconWPA in its series Experimental with number 0510001.
Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: 05 Oct 2005
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Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 45
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information economics; political information; experimental economics; incentives;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2005-10-08 (All new papers)
- NEP-CDM-2005-10-08 (Collective Decision-Making)
- NEP-EXP-2005-10-08 (Experimental Economics)
- NEP-POL-2005-10-08 (Positive Political Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Blair, Edward & Burton, Scot, 1987. " Cognitive Processes Used by Survey Respondents to Answer Behavioral Frequency Questions," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(2), pages 280-88, September.
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Journal of Risk and Uncertainty,
Springer, vol. 19(1-3), pages 7-42, December.
- Camerer, Colin F. & Hogarth, Robin M., 1999. "The Effects of Financial Incentives in Experiments: A Review and Capital-Labor-Production Framework," Working Papers 1059, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
- Smith, Vernon L & Walker, James M, 1993. "Monetary Rewards and Decision Cost in Experimental Economics," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 31(2), pages 245-61, April.
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