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How Information Affects Support for Education Spending: Evidence from Survey Experiments in Germany and the United States

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  • Martin R. West
  • Ludger Woessmann
  • Philipp Lergetporer
  • Katharina Werner

Abstract

We study whether current spending levels and public knowledge of them contribute to transatlantic differences in policy preferences by implementing parallel survey experiments in Germany and the United States. In both countries, support for increased education spending and teacher salaries falls sharply when respondents receive information about existing levels. Treatment effects vary by prior knowledge in a manner consistent with information effects rather than priming. Support for salary increases is inversely related to salary levels across American states, suggesting that salary differences between the two countries could explain Germans’ lower support for increases. Information about the tradeoffs between different categories of education spending shifts preferences away from class-size reduction and towards alternative purposes.

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  • Martin R. West & Ludger Woessmann & Philipp Lergetporer & Katharina Werner, 2016. "How Information Affects Support for Education Spending: Evidence from Survey Experiments in Germany and the United States," NBER Working Papers 22808, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:22808
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    Cited by:

    1. Lergetporer, Philipp & Woessmann, Ludger, 2019. "The Political Economy of Higher Education Finance: How Information and Design Affect Public Preferences for Tuition," Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series 145, CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition.
    2. Haaland, Ingar & Roth, Christopher & Wohlfart. Johannes, 2020. "Designing Information Provision Experiments," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1275, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    3. Grewenig, Elisabeth & Lergetporer, Philipp & Simon, Lisa & Werner, Katharina & Woessmann, Ludger, 2018. "Can Online Surveys Represent the Entire Population?," IZA Discussion Papers 11799, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. Elisabeth Grewenig & Philipp Lergetporer & Katharina Werner & Ludger Woessmann, 2019. "Incentives, search engines, and the elicitation of subjective beliefs: evidence from representative online survey experiments," CESifo Working Paper Series 7556, CESifo.
    5. Bernd Hayo & Florian Neumeier, 2020. "Between Fear Mongers and Samaritans: Does Information Provision Affect Attitudes towards the Right of Asylum in Germany?," CESifo Working Paper Series 8420, CESifo.
    6. Lergetporer, Philipp & Werner, Katharina & Woessmann, Ludger, 2020. "Educational inequality and public policy preferences: Evidence from representative survey experiments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 188(C).
    7. Joseph McMurray, 2017. "Ideology as Opinion: A Spatial Model of Common-Value Elections," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 108-140, November.
    8. Grewenig, Elisabeth & Lergetporer, Philipp & Werner, Katharina & Woessmann, Ludger, 2019. "Do Party Positions Affect the Public's Policy Preferences?," IZA Discussion Papers 12249, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. Christopher Roth & Sonja Settele & Johannes Wohlfart, 2020. "Beliefs About Public Debt and the Demand for Government Spending," CEBI working paper series 20-05, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. The Center for Economic Behavior and Inequality (CEBI).
    10. Cattaneo, Maria & Lergetporer, Philipp & Schwerdt, Guido & Werner, Katharina & Woessmann, Ludger & Wolter, Stefan C., 2020. "Information provision and preferences for education spending: Evidence from representative survey experiments in three countries," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 63(C).
    11. Egor Starkov, 2020. "Only Time Will Tell: Credible Dynamic Signaling," Discussion Papers 20-05, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    12. Sonja Settele, 2019. "How Do Beliefs about the Gender Wage Gap Affect the Demand for Public Policy?," CEBI working paper series 19-13, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. The Center for Economic Behavior and Inequality (CEBI).
    13. Elisabeth Grewenig & Sarah Kersten & Franziska Kugler & Philipp Lergetporer & Franziska Werner & Ludger Wößmann & Katharina Werner, 2019. "Was die Deutschen über Bildungsungleichheit denken," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 72(17), August.
    14. Simon Hetland & Rasmus Søndergaard Pedersen & Anders Rahbek, 2019. "Dynamic Conditional Eigenvalue GARCH," Discussion Papers 19-13, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    15. 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.
    16. Patrick Bareinz & Silke Uebelmesser, 2020. "The Role of Information Provision for Attitudes Towards Immigration: An Experimental Investigation," CESifo Working Paper Series 8635, CESifo.

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    More about this item

    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
    • H52 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Education
    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid

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