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Information, Knowledge, and Attitudes: An Evaluation of the Taxpayer Receipt

Barnes, L; Feller, A; Haselswerdt, J; Porter, E; (2018) Information, Knowledge, and Attitudes: An Evaluation of the Taxpayer Receipt. The Journal of Politics , 80 (2) pp. 701-706. 10.1086/695672. Green open access

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Abstract

To better understand the relationship between information and political knowledge, we evaluate an ambitious government initiative: the nationwide dissemination of “taxpayer receipts,” or personalized, itemized accounts of government spending, by the UK government in fall 2014. In coordination with the British tax authorities, we embedded a survey experiment in a nationally representative panel. We find that citizens became more knowledgeable about government spending because of our encouragement to read their receipt. Although baseline levels of political knowledge are indeed low, our findings indicate that individuals are capable of learning and retaining complex political information. However, even as citizens became more knowledgeable, we uncover no evidence that their attitudes toward government and redistribution changed concomitantly. The acquisition and retention of new information does not necessarily change attitudes. Our results have implications for citizens’ capacity to learn and research on the relationship between knowledge and attitudes.

Type: Article
Title: Information, Knowledge, and Attitudes: An Evaluation of the Taxpayer Receipt
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1086/695672
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/695672
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the version of record. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: political knowledge, political attitudes, taxpayer receipt, encouragement design
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Political Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10033318
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