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Knowledge is power: A theory of information, income, and welfare spending


Lind, Jo Thori; Rohner, Dominic (2011). Knowledge is power: A theory of information, income, and welfare spending. Working paper series / Department of Economics No. 36, University of Zurich.

Abstract

No voters cast their votes based on perfect information, but better educated and richer voters are on average better informed than others. We develop a model where the voting mistakes resulting from low political knowledge reduce the weight of poor voters, and cause parties to choose political platforms that are better aligned with the preferences of rich voters. In US election survey data, we fi*nd that income is more important in a*ffecting voting behavior for more informed voters than for less informed voters, as predicted by the model. Further, in a panel of US states we fi*nd that when there is a strong correlation between income and political information, Congress representatives vote more conservatively, which is also in line with our theory.

No voters cast their votes based on perfect information, but better educated and richer voters are on average better informed than others. We develop a model where the voting mistakes resulting from low political knowledge reduce the weight of poor voters, and cause parties to choose political platforms that are better aligned with the preferences of rich voters. In US election survey data, we fi*nd that income is more important in a*ffecting voting behavior for more informed voters than for less informed voters, as predicted by the model. Further, in a panel of US states we fi*nd that when there is a strong correlation between income and political information, Congress representatives vote more conservatively, which is also in line with our theory.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Working Paper
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Working Paper Series > Department of Economics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
JEL Classification:D31, D72, D82, H53
Language:English
Date:October 2011
Deposited On:25 Nov 2011 10:13
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:08
Series Name:Working paper series / Department of Economics
ISSN:1664-7041
Official URL:http://www.econ.uzh.ch/wp.html
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-51540

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