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

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  • Jo Thori Lind
  • Dominic Rohner

Abstract

No voters cast their votes based on perfect information, but richer voters are on average best informed. 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, income is more important in affecting voting behavior for more informed voters than for less informed voters. Further, 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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Suggested Citation

  • Jo Thori Lind & Dominic Rohner, 2017. "Knowledge is Power: A Theory of Information, Income and Welfare Spending," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 84(336), pages 611-646, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:econom:v:84:y:2017:i:336:p:611-646
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs

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