March 24, 2014
Why do Americans hate the media?
◆ Decrease in trust in government
◆ Use and increase in alternative Media Sources
● Like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report
● Dogmatic/ideological view
● Reinforce not challenge
● Contribute to cultural/political divide
➔ Depending on the type of media the public watch, their opinions will be affected
➔ Why is political participation important?
➔ What is political participation?
➔ Is participation, particularly voting, rational?
➔ Who participates and why?
➔ Is voter turnout low, and is this a problem?
➔ How do Americans vote?
I. Political Participation: Overview
➔ Why important?
● Communication preferences to those in power
● Principal Agent Problem
○ How do representatives dutifully reflect principles of
● Understand preferences
● Organization/Intensity of interest in an issue
○ If a large number of people are action pregnant,
representatives will likely pay attention to the issue
● Electoral Consequences
○ Of supporting or ignoring particular issues
◆ What is participation?
● Political activities whose purpose is to influence the government
● Using existing rules ◆ Unconventional
● Existing outside the rules of the game to affect
II. Is Participation Rational?
➔ Rationality and Participation
◆ Probability times Benefits > Cost = Participation
◆ Probability times Benefits < Cost = No Participation (Free Ride)
➔ Benefits of engaging in participation
● Could be money, jobs, financial ramification for a policy
◆ Solidary or Social
● Create new networks
● Meet new people
● Psychological benefit of participation
● “Doing your duty” and being a “good citizen”
● Assessing or collecting information about candidates to make an