Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2145529
 


 



Education, Intelligence, and Attitude Extremity


Michael D. Makowsky


Clemson University - John E. Walker Department of Economics

Stephen Miller


Western Carolina University -School of Economics, Management, and Project Management

December 13, 2012


Abstract:     
Education and general intelligence both serve to inform opinions, but do they lead to greater attitude extremity? We use questions on economic policy, social issues, and environmental issues from the General Social Survey to test the impact of education and intelligence on attitude extremity, as measured by deviation from centrist or neutral positions. Using quantile regression modeling, we find that intelligence is a moderating force across the entire distribution in economic, social, and environmental policy beliefs. Completing high school strongly correlates to reduced extremity, particularly in the upper quantiles. College education increases attitude extremity in the lower tail of environmental beliefs. The relevance of the low extremity tail (lower quantiles) to potential swing-voters and the high extremity tail (upper quantiles) to a political party’s core are discussed.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 38

Keywords: Public Opinion, Voter Cognition, Attitude Extremity, Voter Education

JEL Classification: D72, D83


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Date posted: September 12, 2012 ; Last revised: December 13, 2012

Suggested Citation

Makowsky, Michael D. and Miller, Stephen, Education, Intelligence, and Attitude Extremity (December 13, 2012). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2145529 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2145529

Contact Information

Michael D. Makowsky (Contact Author)
Clemson University - John E. Walker Department of Economics ( email )
Clemson, SC 29634
United States
Stephen Miller
Western Carolina University -School of Economics, Management, and Project Management ( email )
Cullowhee, NC 28723
United States
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