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Does Political Knowledge Increase Turnout? Evidence from the 1997 British General Election

  • Valentino Larcinese

A number of recent formal models predict a positive effect of politicalknowledge on turnout. Both information acquisition and turnout, however,are likely to be determined by a similar set of variables, rendering hard theidentification of a causal link in empirical investigations. Availableempirical regularities should therefore be interpreted as mere correlations. Iaddress this problem by using an instrumental variables approach, where theinstruments are represented by various proxies of information supply onmass media. Using survey data from the 1997 British General ElectionStudy, I show that political knowledge has a sizeable influence on theprobability of voting and that mass media play an important role ininfluencing political participation.

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Paper provided by Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE in its series STICERD - Political Economy and Public Policy Paper Series with number 01.

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Date of creation: Feb 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cep:stipep:01
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  1. ALDASHEV, Gani, 2006. "Political information acquisition for social exchange," CORE Discussion Papers 2006020, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
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  6. Valentino Larcinese, 2006. "Information acquisition, ideology and turnout: theory and evidence from Britain," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3606, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  7. David Dreyer Lassen, 2004. "The Effect of Information on Voter Turnout: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," EPRU Working Paper Series 04-03, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
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  9. Coupe, Tom & Noury, Abdul G., 2004. "Choosing not to choose: on the link between information and abstention," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 261-265, August.
  10. Valentino Larcinese, 2003. "The Instrumental Voter Goes to the News-Agent: Demand for Information, Election Closeness, and the Media," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 579.03, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
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  13. Timothy J. Fedderson & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1996. "Abstention in Elections with Asymmetric Information and Diverse Preferences," Discussion Papers 1195, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
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  18. Larcinese Valentino, 2005. "Electoral Competition and Redistribution with Rationally Informed Voters," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-28, June.
  19. Grofman, Bernard & Norrander, Barbara, 1990. " Efficient Use of Reference Group Cues in a Single Dimension," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 64(3), pages 213-27, March.
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