Department of Political Science

Søren Serritzlew

Shaping Political Preferences: Information Effects in Political-Administrative Systems

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Information is at the heart of politics. However, since information is always sent by someone who is more or less powerful, it is difficult to disentangle the effect of information from the power of the sender. Drawing on a standard model of attitude formation, we argue that presenting information can affect preferences of politicians regardless of the power of the sender. We test this proposition in a survey experiment with 1205 Danish local politicians in which the experimental groups were presented with varying levels of cost information but where sender remained constant. The experiment shows that even in a setting where the information is not disclosed by a powerful sender, information may have a stronger impact on political preferences than other well-known determinants such as committee and party affiliation. Our findings speak to learning theories, knowledge perspectives and the literature on the determinants of politicians’ preferences.
Original languageEnglish
JournalLocal Government Studies
Pages (from-to)119-138
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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