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Are Voters Better Informed When They Have a Larger Say in Politics? Evidence for the European Union and Switzerland

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  • Matthias Benz
  • Alois Stutzer:

Abstract

Public choice theory takes citizens as rationally ignorant about political issues, because the costs of being informed greatly exceed the utility individuals derive from it. The costs of information (supply side) as well as the utility of information (demand side), however, can vary substantially depending on the political system under which citizens live. Using a large survey from Switzerland, we present empirical evidence that citizens are politically better informed when they have more extended participation rights in the political process. The results corroborate theoretical arguments and circumstantial evidence that voter information should be treated as endogenously determined by political institutions.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthias Benz & Alois Stutzer:, "undated". "Are Voters Better Informed When They Have a Larger Say in Politics? Evidence for the European Union and Switzerland," IEW - Working Papers 119, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  • Handle: RePEc:zur:iewwpx:119
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Frey, Bruno S & Stutzer, Alois, 2000. "Happiness, Economy and Institutions," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(466), pages 918-938, October.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    voter competence; direct democracy; information costs; rational ignorance;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • H00 - Public Economics - - General - - - General

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