Knowledge is Power: A Theory of Information, Income, and Welfare Spending

Jo Thori Lind and Dominic Rhoner

Memo 26/2011

Memo (pdf)

No voters cast their votes based on perfect information, but better educated and richer voters are on average better informed than others. We develop a model where the voting mistakes resulting from low political knowledge reduce the weight of poor voters, and cause parties to choose political platforms that are better aligned with the preferences of rich voters. In US election survey data, we nd that income is more important in a ecting voting behavior for more informed voters than for less informed voters, as predicted by the model. Further, in a panel of US states we nd that when there is a strong correlation between income and political information, Congress representatives vote more conservatively, which is also in line with our theory.

Published June 20, 2014 2:14 PM - Last modified Jan. 24, 2019 11:44 AM