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Information, Perceptions, and Electoral Behaviour of Young Voters: A Randomised Controlled Experiment

Author

Listed:
  • Bruno Carvalho
  • Claudia Custodio
  • Benny Geys
  • Diogo Mendes
  • Susana Peralta

Abstract

Young voters’ political behaviour differs from the rest of the electorate in that they exhibit lower turnout and express different preferences. This article examines the impact of information provision about central government on young voters’ perception of government performance and their voting behaviour. We randomly exposed a sample of university students to positive, neutral or negative information before the 2017 Portuguese local elections. Treated voters update their perceptions, more so when exposed to negative news. This negativity bias is stronger for first-time voters. We find no evidence of an average treatment effect on voting behaviour, but negative information significantly affects initially undecided voters. Our results indicate that sensitivity to information is heterogeneous and that some young voters may be more prone to manipulation through the provision of negative news.

Suggested Citation

  • Bruno Carvalho & Claudia Custodio & Benny Geys & Diogo Mendes & Susana Peralta, 2020. "Information, Perceptions, and Electoral Behaviour of Young Voters: A Randomised Controlled Experiment," Working Papers ECARES 2020-14, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:eca:wpaper:2013/304574
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Media; Negativity Bias; Performance Perception; Local Elections; Information;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H70 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - General

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