An analysis of U.S. budgetary changes shows that, among subaccounts that are cut, Democrats make more large cuts when they control more lawmaking institutions. This surprising finding is consistent with legislators who are subject to motivated reasoning. In an information-rich world, they disproportionately respond to information in line with their bias unless they must make a large accuracy correction. This article tests, for the first time, motivated information processing among legislators. It finds evidence that Democrats engage in motivated information processing and that the effects of it are felt more on social spending and in off-election years.
- motivated reasoning
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science