Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Thurmaier, Kurt M.

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of Political Science


This dissertation empirically tests the impact of budget information framing on citizens’ budgetary choices by investigating whether US residents respond differently to different frames of budgetary information when asked to choose capital projects. The study synthesizes research on framing, information transparency initiatives, and citizens’ spending preferences and allocation choices and argues that the packaging and presentation of local government budget proposals involve frames and framing styles that can potentially influence citizens’ choices during budget deliberations. Using experimental research design, the study randomly recruited and assigned participants provided by the Amazon Mechanical Turk (Mturk) into six treatment groups according to self-constructed frames of budgetary information and requiring them to choose a capital project based on their preference. The results show a bias favoring one project across the treatment groups but with noticeable variations attributed to the different frames of budgetary information. The study offers supporting evidence for budget information framing effects that have practical implications to local government budgeters in the US and around the globe. This dissertation contributes to behavioral public budgeting literature by showing how public administration practitioners can shape citizens’ decision-making with respect to different frames of budgetary information.


153 pages




Northern Illinois University

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