Estimating the Effect of Elite Communications on Public Opinion Using Instrumental Variables
A central question in the study of democratic polities is the extent to which elite opinion about public policy shapes and potentially manipulates public opinion on those issues. Existing empirical estimates of the effect of elite communication on individual opinion formation are, however, characterized by a number of serious methodological problems, and consequently, there is little in the way of compelling evidence that elites actually influence individual opinions. This paper proposes an identification strategy for estimating the causal effect of elite messages on public support for European integration employing instrumental variable estimation. The paper presents three main empirical results. First, we find that more negative elite messages about European integration do indeed decrease public support for Europe. Our analysis suggests that OLS estimates that ignore the endogeneity, omitted variables, and measurement problems that typically occur in estimating the effects of elite communication are biased, underestimating the magnitude of the effect of elite messages by fifty percent. Second, we find no evidence that this effect of elite messages varies for more politically aware individuals. Third, our estimates are inconsistent with a mainstreaming effect in which political awareness increases support for Europe in those political settings in which elites have a favorable consensus on the benefits of integration. This result is in sharp contrast to the OLS analysis that incorrectly suggests a mainstreaming effect.
|Date of creation:||Aug 2005|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Lexington, KY 40506-0027|
Phone: (859) 257-5741
Fax: (859) 323-1937
Web page: http://www.ifigr.org/
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Mark N. Franklin & Christopher Wlezien, 1997. "The Responsive Public," Journal of Theoretical Politics, SAGE Publishing, vol. 9(3), pages 347-363, July.
- Wacziarg, Romain & Alesina, Alberto & Devleeschauwer, Arnaud & Easterly, William & Kurlat, Sergio, 2002.
1744, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
- Alesina, Alberto & Devleeschauwer, Arnaud & Wacziarg, Romain & Kurlat, Sergio & Easterly, William, 2003. "Fractionalization," Scholarly Articles 4553003, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Alberto Alesina & Arnaud Devleeschauwer & William Easterly & Sergio Kurlat & Romain Wacziarg, 2003. "Fractionalization," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/229724, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
- Alberto Alesina & Arnaud Devleeschauwer & William Easterly & Sergio Kurlat & Romain Wacziarg, 2003. "Fractionalization," NBER Working Papers 9411, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Alberto Alesina & Arnaud Devleeschauwer & William Easterly & Sergio Kurlat & Romain Wacziarg, 2002. "Fractionalization," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1959, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- Evans, Geoffrey, 1998. "Euroscepticism and Conservative Electoral Support: How an Asset Became a Liability," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 28(04), pages 573-590, October.
- Leonard Ray, 2003. "Reconsidering the Link between Incumbent Support and Pro-EU Opinion," European Union Politics, SAGE Publishing, vol. 4(3), pages 259-279, September.
- Jochen Peter & Holli A. Semetko & Claes H. de Vreese, 2003. "EU Politics on Television News," European Union Politics, SAGE Publishing, vol. 4(3), pages 305-327, September.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ifr:wpaper:2005-02. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (David E. Wildasin)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.