What Should the Citizen Know about Politics? Two Approaches to the Measurement of Political Knowledge

A1 Journal article (refereed)


Internal Authors/Editors


Publication Details

List of Authors: Rapeli Lauri
Publisher: MEDP, Mitigating Endemic Democratic Problems
Publication year: 2014
Journal: Journal of Democratic Theory
Volume number: 1
Issue number: 1
Start page: 58
End page: 93


Abstract

The aim of this study is to provide an empirical example of how an election-related empirical indicator of political knowledge can be constructed. Studies of political knowledge have shown that most citizens fall short of the democratic ideal in terms of their knowledge about politics. But according to critics it is unclear what the reference point for such conclusions has been. The critics say that indicators of political knowledge lack a transparent logic and connection to concrete political behavior. In this study two measures of political knowledge are compared: one is a general measure of political knowledge; the other is based on a specific analytical framework by Kuklinski and Quirk (2001). Both the aggregate distribution and the individual-level determinants of political knowledge are compared. The differences between the two measures are found to be minor. The findings suggest that although specific and theory-driven measures offer a nuanced view into the public's knowledge levels, general measures of political knowledge also provide a reliable understanding of what the public knows.


Last updated on 2019-14-11 at 02:50