Information and Preferences for Public Spending: Evidence from Representative Survey Experiments

46 Pages Posted: 7 Jun 2016

See all articles by Philipp Lergetporer

Philipp Lergetporer

ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research

Guido Schwerdt

University of Konstanz - Faculty of Economics and Statistics

Katharina Werner

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) - Ifo Institute

Ludger Woessmann

Ifo Institute for Economic Research; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research); University of Munich - Ifo Institute for Economic Research

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Abstract

The electorates' lack of information about the extent of public spending may cause misalignments between voters' preferences and the size of government. We devise a series of representative survey experiments in Germany that randomly provide treatment groups with information on current spending levels. Results show that such information strongly reduces support for public spending in various domains from social security to defense. Data on prior information status on school spending and teacher salaries shows that treatment effects are strongest for those who initially underestimated spending levels, indicating genuine information effects rather than pure priming effects. Information on spending requirements also reduces support for specific education reforms. Preferences on spending across education levels are also malleable to information.

Keywords: public spending, information, preferences, education spending, survey experiment

JEL Classification: H11, D83, D72, H52, I22, P16

Suggested Citation

Lergetporer, Philipp and Schwerdt, Guido and Werner, Katharina and Woessmann, Ludger, Information and Preferences for Public Spending: Evidence from Representative Survey Experiments. IZA Discussion Paper No. 9968. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2790005

Philipp Lergetporer (Contact Author)

ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research ( email )

Dresden Branch
Einsteinstra├če 3
Dresden, 01069
Germany

Guido Schwerdt

University of Konstanz - Faculty of Economics and Statistics ( email )

Universitaetsstr. 10
78457 Konstanz
Germany

Katharina Werner

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) - Ifo Institute ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, 01069
Germany

Ludger Woessmann

Ifo Institute for Economic Research ( email )

Poschingerstr. 5
Munich
Germany
++49 89 9224 1699 (Phone)
++49 89 9224 1460 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.cesifo.de/link/woessmann_l.htm

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

University of Munich - Ifo Institute for Economic Research

Schackstr. 4
Munich, 80539
Germany

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