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.
Political Behavior – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 17, 2011
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