Making Citizens Smart: When do Institutions Improve Unsophisticated Citizens’ Decisions?

Making Citizens Smart: When do Institutions Improve Unsophisticated Citizens’ Decisions? 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. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Political Behavior Springer Journals

Making Citizens Smart: When do Institutions Improve Unsophisticated Citizens’ Decisions?

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Publisher
Springer US
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 by Springer Science+Business Media, LLC
Subject
Political Science and International Relations; Political Science; Sociology, general
ISSN
0190-9320
eISSN
1573-6687
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11109-008-9077-6
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

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.

Journal

Political BehaviorSpringer Journals

Published: Nov 28, 2008

References

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