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Listening to the government: how information shapes responsibility attributions

Hobolt, Sara, Tilley, James and Wittrock, Jill (2013) Listening to the government: how information shapes responsibility attributions. Political Behavior, 35 (1). pp. 157-174. ISSN 0190-9320

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Identification Number: 10.1007/s11109-011-9183-8


Assigning credit and blame in systems of multilevel government, such as federal states, requires information. This paper examines how voters respond to information about policy outcomes when attributing responsibility to multiple levels of government in a European context. Using an experimental design, we show that the responsibility attributions of British voters are affected by perceptual biases, notably their feelings about the government and the European Union (EU). But interestingly, we also find that voters, regardless of their predispositions, are only responsive to information they receive from their national government, whereas they ignore information provided by EU officials. These findings have implications not only for our understanding of attribution in systems of multiple levels of government, but also for how voters use information selectively depending on the credibility of the source.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media
Divisions: European Institute
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Sets: Departments > European Institute
Date Deposited: 24 Feb 2012 16:24
Last Modified: 20 May 2020 02:38
Projects: RES-062- 23-1522
Funders: British Economic and Social Research Council, Jesus College Major Research Grants Fund

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