DP10405 Does polarization of opinions lead to polarization of platforms? the case of correlation neglect

Author(s): Gilat Levy, Ronny Razin
Publication Date: February 2015
Keyword(s): correlation neglect, polarization, policy polarization, public opinion
JEL(s): D72
Programme Areas: Public Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=10405

In this paper we question the common wisdom that more polarized voters? opinions imply larger policy polarization. We analyze a voting model in which the source of the polarization in voters? opinions is ?correlation neglect?, that is, voters neglect the correlation in their information sources. Our main result shows that such polarization in opinions does not necessarily translate to policy polarization; when the electoral system is not too competitive (that is, when there is some aggregate noise in the election?s outcome), then voters with correlation neglect may induce lower levels of policy polarization compared with rational electorates.