Do information-rich contexts reduce knowledge inequalities? : the contextual determinants of political knowledge in Europe
Title: Do information-rich contexts reduce knowledge inequalities? : the contextual determinants of political knowledge in Europe
Author: FRAILE, Marta
Citation: Acta politica, 2013, Vol. 48, No. 2, pp. 119-143
ISSN: 0001-6810; 1741-1416
This article makes a contribution to the study of the determinants of political knowledge from a comparative perspective. Along with the usual suspects explaining knowledge at the individual level (that is, individual differences in motivation, ability and exposure to political news in the media), this article analyses the extent to which socio-economic, political and communicational contexts affect what people know about politics. More importantly, the article analyses whether information-rich contexts contribute towards reducing inequalities in knowledge. The results are obtained via two-level hierarchical linear models using the 2009 European Election Studies, Voter Study and confirm that citizens’ levels of political knowledge are driven by the context. They also demonstrate that information-rich environments crucially narrow knowledge inequalities between high- and low-status citizens. These findings thus suggest that socio-economic policies have the capacity to alter the balance between the information-rich and the information-poor.
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