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.
Lopez de Leon, Fernanda Leite, and Renata Rizzi.
"A Test for the Rational Ignorance Hypothesis: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Brazil."
American Economic Journal: Economic Policy,
Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements