When are citizens most likely to hold politicians to account for wrongdoing? In a crowded information environment, political accountability requires that credible information about politician behavior is available and that citizens are able to identify credible information as such. Focusing on this second requirement, we argue that the ability to discern more credible from less credible information is increasing in citizens' cognitive and political sophistication. Using data from an original survey experiment in Brazil, we show that all citizens react negatively to corruption allegations but that more politically sophisticated respondents are themost likely to discern between sources of information that differ in their credibility. In particular, they are more skeptical of low-credibility sources than their less sophisticated counterparts. Our findings suggest a novel mechanism that may link increasing education with control of political corruption: educated citizens are better able to discern, and therefore act on, credible corruption accusations.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science
FingerprintDive into the research topics of 'Can citizens discern? Information credibility, political sophistication, and the punishment of corruption in Brazil'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
Replication Data for: "Can Citizens Discern? Information Credibility, Political Sophistication, and the Punishment of Corruption in Brazil"
Winters, M. S. (Creator) & Weitz-Shapiro, R. (Creator), Harvard Dataverse, Apr 15 2016