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Information acquisition, ideology and turnout: theory and evidence from Britain

Larcinese, Valentino (2006) Information acquisition, ideology and turnout: theory and evidence from Britain. PEPP/18. Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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Abstract

The amount of political information that voters decide to acquire during an electoral campaign depends, among other things, on prior ideological beliefs about parties and/or candidates. Voters that are ex ante indifferent about the candidates attach little value to information because they perceive that voting itself will have little value. Voters that are ex ante very ideological also attach little value to information because they think that the news will hardly change their opinion. Thus, high incentives to be informed can be found at intermediate levels of ideological strength. Moreover, the impact of increased political knowledge on turnout is asymmetric: New information increase the probability of voting of indifferent voters but decrease that of very ideological voters. These results are derived within a decision theoretical model of information acquisition and turnout that combines the Riker-Ordeshook (1968) approach to voting behaviour with the Becker (1965) approach to "personal production functions". These predictions are then tested on survey data from the 1997 British Election Study. Our empirical findings are compatible with all the results of the theoretical exercise.

Item Type: Monograph (Discussion Paper)
Official URL: http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/
Additional Information: © 2006 the author
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JC Political theory
Journal of Economic Literature Classification System: D - Microeconomics > D7 - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making > D72 - Economic Models of Political Processes: Rent-Seeking, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
D - Microeconomics > D8 - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty > D83 - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief
Sets: Departments > Government
Collections > Economists Online
Research centres and groups > Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines (STICERD)
Rights: http://www.lse.ac.uk/library/usingTheLibrary/academicSupport/OA/depositYourResearch.aspx
Identification Number: PEPP/18
Date Deposited: 28 Feb 2008
URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/3606/

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