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Political Knowledge: The Moderating Effect of Welfare Protection

Political Participation
Welfare State
Knowledge
Dani Marinova
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Dani Marinova
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Paul Marx
University of Duisburg-Essen

Abstract

Individuals who are disproportionately exposed to economic difficulties are less likely to engage in politics. This standard finding in political behaviour has implications for information seeking and acquisition. People who experience economic hardship are less likely to become exposed to information about public affairs and are also less able to process and retrieve such information, resulting in observably lower levels of knowledge about public affairs (e.g., Fraile 2014; Gordon and Segura 1997; Grönlund and Milner 2006). In this study, we examine the degree to which contextual factors ameliorate the demobilizing effect of economic hardship. In particular, we examine the moderating effect of levels of welfare protection across countries and over time. We draw on data from an eight-wave panel survey in Spain and the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems to test our expectations.