Learning through social communication is promoted when citizens are able to identify which of their associates is likely to possess the necessary political information. This paper examines the factors that influence individuals’ evaluations of political expertise. Actual political expertise plays a large role in perceived expertise, but mistakes are made. These are largely the result of assuming that those engaged in politics must also be knowledgeable about politics. This paper uses the 1996 Indianapolis-St. Louis Study and the 2000 National Election Study to identify factors that bias levels of perceived political knowledge. The paper concludes by demonstrating that perceived expertise plays a larger role than actual expertise in the social influence process.
Political Behavior – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 21, 2010
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