Political expertise, interdependent citizens, and the value added problem in democratic politics

In this paper we are primarily concerned with political expertise, interest, and agreement as factors that might accelerate the flow of information between citizens. We examine dyadic exchanges of information as a function of two primary sets of factors: the characteristics of the citizens in the dyadic relationship and the characteristics of the larger network within which the dyad is located. Moreover, we compare political communication within dyads across several different national contexts: Germany, Japan, and the United States. We assume that citizens are more likely to obtain information from people they trust, but why do they trust some individuals more than others? Is the frequency of communication predicated on shared political preferences? Or is it based on one citizen's assessment regarding the political expertise of another? The answers to these questions have important implications for whether social communication and social capital create added value in the collective deliberations of democratic politics
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Reprint years 2007
DOI 10.1017/s1468109900002012
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