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How information affects support for education spending: Evidence from survey experiments in Germany and the United States

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  • Lergetporer, Philipp
  • Schwerdt, Guido
  • Werner, Katharina
  • West, Martin R.
  • Woessmann, Ludger

Abstract

To study whether current spending levels and public knowledge of them contribute to transatlantic differences in policy preferences, we implement parallel survey experiments in Germany and the United States. In both countries, support for increased education spending and teacher salaries falls when respondents receive information about existing levels. Treatment effects vary by prior knowledge in a manner consistent with information effects rather than priming. Support for salary increases is inversely related to salary levels across American states, suggesting that higher salaries could explain much of Germans' lower support for increases. Information about the tradeoffs between specific spending categories shifts preferences from class-size reduction towards alternative purposes. Additional German experiments indicate that information effects extend to specific reform proposals and to other areas of public spending.

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  • Lergetporer, Philipp & Schwerdt, Guido & Werner, Katharina & West, Martin R. & Woessmann, Ludger, 2018. "How information affects support for education spending: Evidence from survey experiments in Germany and the United States," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 167(C), pages 138-157.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:167:y:2018:i:c:p:138-157
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2018.09.011
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    Cited by:

    1. Lergetporer, Philipp & Woessmann, Ludger, 2019. "The Political Economy of Higher Education Finance: How Information and Design Affect Public Preferences for Tuition," Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series 145, CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition.
    2. Lergetporer, Philipp & Woessmann, Ludger, 2019. "The Political Economy of Higher Education Finance: How Information and Design Affect Public Preferences for Tuition," Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series 145, CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition.
    3. Ingar K. Haaland & Christopher Roth & Johannes Wohlfart, 2020. "Designing Information Provision Experiments," CESifo Working Paper Series 8406, CESifo.
    4. Grewenig, Elisabeth & Lergetporer, Philipp & Simon, Lisa & Werner, Katharina & Woessmann, Ludger, 2018. "Can Online Surveys Represent the Entire Population?," IZA Discussion Papers 11799, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Elisabeth Grewenig & Philipp Lergetporer & Katharina Werner & Ludger Woessmann, 2019. "Incentives, search engines, and the elicitation of subjective beliefs: evidence from representative online survey experiments," CESifo Working Paper Series 7556, CESifo.
    6. Bernd Hayo & Florian Neumeier, 2020. "Between Fear Mongers and Samaritans: Does Information Provision Affect Attitudes towards the Right of Asylum in Germany?," MAGKS Papers on Economics 202031, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    7. Lergetporer, Philipp & Werner, Katharina & Woessmann, Ludger, 2018. "Educational Inequality and Public Policy Preferences: Evidence from Representative Survey Experiments," IZA Discussion Papers 11730, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. Joseph McMurray, 2017. "Ideology as Opinion: A Spatial Model of Common-Value Elections," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 108-140, November.
    9. Grewenig, Elisabeth & Lergetporer, Philipp & Werner, Katharina & Woessmann, Ludger, 2019. "Do Party Positions Affect the Public's Policy Preferences?," IZA Discussion Papers 12249, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    10. Christopher Roth & Sonja Settele & Johannes Wohlfart, 2020. "Beliefs about Public Debt and the Demand for Government Spending," CESifo Working Paper Series 8087, CESifo.
    11. Elisabeth Grewenig & Sarah Kersten & Franziska Kugler & Philipp Lergetporer & Franziska Werner & Ludger Wößmann & Katharina Werner, 2019. "Was die Deutschen über Bildungsungleichheit denken," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 72(17), August.
    12. Bernd Hayo & Florian Neumeier, 2020. "Between Fear Mongers and Samaritans: Does Information Provision Affect Attitudes towards the Right of Asylum in Germany?," CESifo Working Paper Series 8420, CESifo.
    13. Simon Hetland & Rasmus Søndergaard Pedersen & Anders Rahbek, 2019. "Dynamic Conditional Eigenvalue GARCH," Discussion Papers 19-13, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    14. Haaland, Ingar & Roth, Christopher & Wohlfart. Johannes, 2020. "Designing Information Provision Experiments," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1275, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    15. Ingar Haaland & Christopher Roth & Johannes Wohlfart, 2020. "Designing Information Provision Experiments," CEBI working paper series 20-20, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. The Center for Economic Behavior and Inequality (CEBI).
    16. Egor Starkov, 2020. "Only Time Will Tell: Credible Dynamic Signaling," Discussion Papers 20-05, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    17. Busemeyer, Marius R. & Lergetporer, Philipp & Woessmann, Ludger, 2018. "Public opinion and the political economy of educational reforms: A survey," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 161-185.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Policy preferences; Cross-country comparison; Germany; United States; Education spending; Information; Survey experiments;

    JEL classification:

    • H52 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Education
    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid
    • 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

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