Many scholars lament citizens’ lack of political sophistication, while others emphasize that information shortcuts can substitute for sophistication and help citizens with their political choices. In this paper, I use experiments to assess whether and under what conditions institutions can substitute for sophistication and enable even unsophisticated citizens to make informed decisions. The results of my experiments demonstrate that institutions, such as a penalty for lying or a threat of verification, can help both sophisticated and unsophisticated citizens to make more informed decisions. Further, my results suggest that institutions may, under certain conditions, level the playing field between sophisticated and unsophisticated citizens.
Political Behavior – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 28, 2008
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