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

Leon, Fernanda L.L. de, 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 1945-7731. E-ISSN 1945-774X. (doi:10.1257/pol.6.4.380) (KAR id:54264)

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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 individuals' political knowledge or information consumption. Our results corroborate Downs' predictions and refute the conjecture by Lijphart (1997) that compulsory voting stimulates civic education.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1257/pol.6.4.380
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Economics
Depositing User: Fernanda Leite Lopez de Leon
Date Deposited: 25 Feb 2016 11:55 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 13:33 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Leon, Fernanda L.L. de:
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