A Test for the Rational Ignorance Hypothesis: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Brazil

Leite Lopez De Leon, Fernanda and Rizzi, Renata (2014) A Test for the Rational Ignorance Hypothesis: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Brazil. American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 6 (4). pp. 380-398. ISSN 1945-774X

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Abstract

This paper tests the rational ignorance hypothesis by Downs (1957). This theory predicts that people do not acquire costly information to educate their votes. We provide new estimates for the effect of voting participation by exploring the Brazilian dual voting system - voluntary and compulsory - whose exposure is determined by citizens' date of birth. Using a fuzzy RD approach and data from a self-collected survey, we find no impact of voting on the level of individuals' political knowledge or information consumption. Our results corroborate Downs's predictions and refute the conjecture by Lijphart (1997) that compulsory voting stimulates civic education

Item Type: Article
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Economics
University of East Anglia > Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Groups > Applied and Financial Economics
University of East Anglia > Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Groups > Media@uea
University of East Anglia > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Research Groups > Media@uea
Depositing User: Julie Frith
Date Deposited: 30 Apr 2013 13:04
Last Modified: 25 Jul 2018 03:15
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/42307
DOI: 10.1257/pol.6.4.380

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