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The Consequences of Political Innumeracy

29 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2011 Last revised: 29 Aug 2011

Eric Lawrence

George Washington University-Department of Political Science

John Sides

George Washington University - Department of Political Science

Date Written: 2011

Abstract

The prevalence of political innumeracy - or ignorance of politically relevant numbers - is well-documented. However, little is known about its consequences. We report on three original survey experiments in which respondents were randomly assigned to see correct information about the racial composition of the U.S. population, median income and educational attainment, and the unemployment and poverty rates. Although estimates of these quantities were frequently far from the truth, providing correct information had little effect on attitudes toward relevant public policies.

Keywords: political knowledge, innumeracy

Suggested Citation

Lawrence, Eric and Sides, John, The Consequences of Political Innumeracy (2011). APSA 2011 Annual Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1901775

Eric Lawrence (Contact Author)

George Washington University-Department of Political Science ( email )

2115 G St. NW
Washington, DC 20052
United States

John Sides

George Washington University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Washington, DC 20052
United States

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