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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. Timothy J. Feddersen & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1995. "The Swing Voter's Curse," Discussion Papers 1064, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
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  4. Battaglini, Marco & Morton, Rebecca & Palfrey, Thomas R, 2006. "The Swing Voter's Curse in the Laboratory," CEPR Discussion Papers 5458, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  6. Valentino Larcinese, 2006. "Information Acquisition, Ideology and Turnout:Theory and Evidence from Britain," STICERD - Political Economy and Public Policy Paper Series 18, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  7. 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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  11. Abdul Ghafar Noury & Tom Coupé, 2004. "Choosing not to choose: on the link between information and abstention," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/7756, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Matsusaka, John G & Palda, Filip, 1999. " Voter Turnout: How Much Can We Explain?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 98(3-4), pages 431-46, March.
  15. John Ferejohn, 1986. "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 5-25, January.
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  17. 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.
  18. Kenneth Bollen & David Guilkey & Thomas Mroz, 1995. "Binary outcomes and endogenous explanatory variables: Tests and solutions with an application to the demand for contraceptive use in tunisia," Demography, Springer, vol. 32(1), pages 111-131, February.
  19. Matsusaka, John G, 1995. " Explaining Voter Turnout Patterns: An Information Theory," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 84(1-2), pages 91-117, July.
  20. Kevin Milligan & Enrico Moretti & Philip Oreopoulos, 2003. "Does Education Improve Citizenship? Evidence from the U.S. and the U.K," NBER Working Papers 9584, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Lindert, Peter H., 1996. "What Limits Social Spending?," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 1-34, January.
  22. 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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