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Information and Preferences for Public Spending: Evidence from Representative Survey Experiments

Author

Listed:
  • Philipp Lergetporer

    (Ifo Institute, University of Munich, Germany; CESifo)

  • Guido Schwerdt

    (Department of Economics, University of Konstanz, Germany; CESifo, IZA)

  • Katharina Werner

    (Ifo Institute, University of Munich, Germany)

  • Ludger Woessmann

    (Ifo Institute, University of Munich, Germany; CESifo, IZA, and CAGE)

Abstract

The electorates’ lack of information about the extent of public spending may cause misalignments between voters’ preferences and the size of government. We devise a series of representative survey experiments in Germany that randomly provide treatment groups with information on current spending levels. Results show that such information strongly reduces support for public spending in various domains from social security to defense. Data on prior information status on school spending and teacher salaries shows that treatment effects are strongest for those who initially underestimated spending levels, indicating genuine information effects rather than pure priming effects. Information on spending requirements also reduces support for specific education reforms. Preferences on spending across education levels are also malleable to information.

Suggested Citation

  • Philipp Lergetporer & Guido Schwerdt & Katharina Werner & Ludger Woessmann, 2016. "Information and Preferences for Public Spending: Evidence from Representative Survey Experiments," Working Paper Series of the Department of Economics, University of Konstanz 2016-07, Department of Economics, University of Konstanz.
  • Handle: RePEc:knz:dpteco:1607
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Katharina Werner, 2019. "Der Einfluss von Informationen auf die öffentliche Meinung zur Bildung - Erkenntnisse aus repräsentativen Befragungsexperimenten," ifo Beiträge zur Wirtschaftsforschung, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 82, May.
    3. Elisabeth Bublitz, 2017. "Misperceptions of income distributions: Cross-country evidence from a randomized survey experiment," LIS Working papers 694, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    4. Philipp Lergetporer & Marc Piopiunik & Lisa Simon, 2017. "Does the Education Level of Refugees Affect Natives' Attitudes?," CESifo Working Paper Series 6832, CESifo.
    5. Ludger Wößmann & Philipp Lergetporer & Franziska Kugler & Katharina Werner, 2016. "Denken Lehrkräfte anders über die Bildungspolitik als die Gesamtbevölkerung? - Ergebnisse des ifo Bildungsbarometers 2016," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 69(17), pages 19-34, September.
    6. Philipp Lergetporer & Katharina Werner & Ludger Woessmann, 2017. "Public Opinion on Education Policy in Germany," CESifo Working Paper Series 6602, CESifo.
    7. Alexis Grigorieff & Christopher Roth & Diego Ubfal, 2016. "Does Information Change Attitudes Towards Immigrants? Representative Evidence from Survey Experiments," Working Papers 590, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    8. Armenak Antinyan & Luca Corazzini & Filippo Pavesi, 2018. "What Matters for Whistleblowing on Tax Evaders? Survey and Experimental Evidence," Working Papers 07/2018, University of Verona, Department of Economics.
    9. Lisa Simon, 2019. "Mikroökonometrische Analysen der Determinanten von Individuellem Arbeitsmarkterfolg," ifo Beiträge zur Wirtschaftsforschung, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 83, May.
    10. Simon, Lisa & Piopiunik, Marc & Lergetporer, Philipp, 2017. "Information, perceived education level, and attitudes toward refugees: Evidence from a randomized survey experiment," VfS Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168280, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    11. Bublitz, Elisabeth, 2016. "Misperceptions of income distributions: Cross-country evidence from a randomized survey experiment," HWWI Research Papers 178, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI).
    12. Antinyan, Armenak & Corazzini, Luca & Pavesi, Filippo, 2020. "Does trust in the government matter for whistleblowing on tax evaders? Survey and experimental evidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 171(C), pages 77-95.
    13. Werner, Katharina, 2018. "Obstacles to Efficient Allocations of Public Education Spending," Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series 128, CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition.
    14. 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.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Public spending; Information; Preferences; Education spending; Survey experiment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H52 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Education
    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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