When Bad News is Good News: Information Acquisition in Times of Economic Crisis

Eva Anduiza, Dani M. Marinova*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


A strong argument can be made for the prime importance of information in the context of an economic recession. It is in times of crisis that information on the state of the economy is abundant and citizens have incentives to acquire it in order to sanction incumbents for mismanagement of the economy. Simultaneously, however, economic hardship strains people’s cognitive resources and motivations to seek relevant information. Using a novel research design, we assess how the recent economic recession has shaped information acquisition. Our results indicate that while personal economic hardship depresses levels of information, the recession overall boosted considerably the public’s knowledge of the state of the economy and, to a lesser degree, of parties’ policy positions in elections. For both economic and electoral types of information, economically marginal groups caught up to the economically secure in contexts of economic hardship, thereby reducing information inequalities. We discuss the findings’ implications for representative democracy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)465-486
Number of pages22
JournalPolitical Behavior
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 29 Sept 2018


  • Economic crisis
  • Economic information
  • Economic voting
  • Electoral information
  • Gaps in political knowledge


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