Menu Adam R Brown

Notes navigation: Browse by titleBrowse by authorSubject index

Lupia: Busy voters, agenda control, and the power of information

Disclaimer. Don't rely on these old notes in lieu of reading the literature, but they can jog your memory. As a grad student long ago, my peers and I collaborated to write and exchange summaries of political science research. I posted them to a wiki-style website. "Wikisum" is now dead but archived here. I cannot vouch for these notes' accuracy, nor can I say who wrote them.

Lupia. 1992. Busy voters, agenda control, and the power of information. APSR 86:390-403.

In Brief

Lupia seeks to explain how referenda work. There's no parties, so we rely almost exclusively on cues from interest groups (who read all the propositions and tell us how we should vote). If we know which interest groups we can trust, then we follow their advice.

The Argument

The Game

There is a monopolistic agenda setter who proposes a referendum for a new policy. The agenda setter has complete knowledge. The voters have varying levels of information about the setter's preferences (see Table on p 392). Voters have complete information about the status quo, however.

Lemmas (Some)

Main Predictions

  1. Although voters lack complete information and lack an incentive to invest in information, they can heed information cues, which can help incompletely informed voters emulate informed voters.
  2. The setter should offer his personal ideal point as an alternative if he knows "that voters will be uncertain about the location (content) of the alternative" (p 398).

Data and Evidence

None. This is a formal model.

Future Research Proposals

Comments and Criticisms

Research by the same authors

Research on similar subjects


Lupia, Arthur (author)American PoliticsVotingInformationAgenda ControlState Politics (U.S.)Direct Democracy

Wikisum home: Index of all summaries by title, by author, or by subject.