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


Benz, Matthias; Stutzer, Alois (2002). Are Voters Better Informed When They Have a Larger Say in Politics? Evidence for the European Union and Switzerland. Working paper series / Institute for Empirical Research in Economics No. 119, University of Zurich.

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 survey data from the European Union and Switzerland, we present empirical evidence that citizens are politically better informed when they have more extended political participation rights. The results corroborate theoretical arguments and circumstantial evidence that voter information should be treated as endogenously determined by political institutions.

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 survey data from the European Union and Switzerland, we present empirical evidence that citizens are politically better informed when they have more extended political participation rights. The results corroborate theoretical arguments and circumstantial evidence that voter information should be treated as endogenously determined by political institutions.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Working Paper
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Working Paper Series > Institute for Empirical Research in Economics (former)
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Language:English
Date:November 2002
Deposited On:29 Nov 2011 21:26
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:10
Series Name:Working paper series / Institute for Empirical Research in Economics
ISSN:1424-0459
Official URL:http://www.econ.uzh.ch/wp.html
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-52019

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