IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/aea/aejpol/v6y2014i4p380-98.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

A Test for the Rational Ignorance Hypothesis: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Brazil

Author

Listed:
  • Fernanda Leite Lopez de Leon
  • Renata Rizzi

Abstract

This paper tests the rational ignorance hypothesis by Downs (1957). This theory predicts that people do not acquire costly information to educate their votes. We provide new estimates for the effect of voting participation by exploring the Brazilian dual voting system- voluntary and compulsory- whose exposure is determined by citizens' date of birth. Using a fuzzy RD approach and data from a self-collected survey, we find no impact of voting on individuals' political knowledge or information consumption. Our results corroborate Downs' predictions and refute the conjecture by Lijphart (1997) that compulsory voting stimulates civic education.

Suggested Citation

  • Fernanda Leite Lopez de Leon & Renata Rizzi, 2014. "A Test for the Rational Ignorance Hypothesis: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Brazil," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 6(4), pages 380-398, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:6:y:2014:i:4:p:380-98
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.6.4.380
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/pol.6.4.380
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: https://www.aeaweb.org/aej/pol/data/0604/2012-0281_data.zip
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: https://www.aeaweb.org/aej/pol/app/0604/2012-0281_app.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: https://www.aeaweb.org/aej/pol/ds/0604/2012-0281_ds.zip
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to AEA members and institutional subscribers.

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Raphael Bruce & Rafael Costa Lima, 2015. "Compulsory Voting and TV News Consumption," Working Papers, Department of Economics 2015_48, University of São Paulo (FEA-USP), revised 12 Jun 2017.
    2. Mechtenberg, Lydia & Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2016. "Voter Motivation and the Quality of Democratic Choice," CEPR Discussion Papers 11622, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Hoffman, Mitchell & León, Gianmarco & Lombardi, María, 2017. "Compulsory voting, turnout, and government spending: Evidence from Austria," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 145(C), pages 103-115.
    4. Niklas Potrafke & Felix Rösel, 2016. "Opening Hours of Polling Stations and Voter Turnout: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," CESifo Working Paper Series 6036, CESifo Group Munich.
    5. repec:eee:deveco:v:127:y:2017:i:c:p:56-71 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. León, Gianmarco, 2017. "Turnout, political preferences and information: Experimental evidence from Peru," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 56-71.
    7. Fernanda Leite Lopez Leon & Renata Rizzi, 2016. "Does forced voting result in political polarization?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 166(1), pages 143-160, January.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:6:y:2014:i:4:p:380-98. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Michael P. Albert). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/aeaaaea.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.