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27.11. BGSE Micro Workshop: Carl Heese

BGSE Micro Workshop with Carl Heese (University of Bonn)

Event details
What
  • BGSE Workshop
When Nov 27, 2019
from 12:00 to 13:00
Where Room 0.017
Contact Name Francesc Dilmé
Contact Email
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Topic

 Voter Attention and Distributive Politics



Abstract
 

 I study the role of heterogeneous attention among voters for distributive politics. Groups in the population pay systematically different attention to politics and acquire different levels of information. I study the effects of heterogenous attention when a reform may benefit one group at the expense of others. In the benchmark, when the information of voters is exogenous, a median voter theorem holds and a welfare-enhancing reform is not adopted if it is not preferred by a majority. When information is endogenous, attention shifts election outcomes into a direction that is welfare-improving. Even when a welfare-enhancing reform is not preferred by a majority ex-post, under certain conditions, there are equilibria where the reform is adopted. The key driver of the results is that voters who are more severely affected by a proposed reform will pay more attention, consistent with empirical studies (“issue publics hypothesis”, Converse (1964)). This information advantage translates into voting power precluding the majority from exerting its dominance.


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