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Political Behavior

, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 331–361 | Cite as

Explaining political sophistication

  • Robert C. Luskin
Article

Abstract

Debates over the political sophistication of mass publics smolder on. The more fundamental question, however, is why people become as politically sophisticated or unsophisticated as they do. This paper develops a nonlinear simultaneous equation model to weigh explanations of three general sorts: the politicalinformation to which people are exposed, theirability to assimilate and organize such information, and theirmotivation to do so. The estimates suggest that interest and intelligence, representing motivation and ability, have major effects, but that education and media exposure, the big informational variables, do not. I consider the reasons and sketch some implications for the sophistication of mass publics, for the study of sophistication and other “variables of extent,” and for democratic theory.

Keywords

Equation Model Major Effect Fundamental Question Simultaneous Equation Media Exposure 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert C. Luskin
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Texas at AustinAustin

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