THE EFFECT OF SCIENTIFIC LITERACY ON PUBLIC OPINION OF MILITARY SPENDING LEVELS
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In this thesis, I study the association between scientific literacy and individual opinions on military spending of voting-age Americans using data from the 2016 General Social Survey. Based on responses to general science knowledge questions, I created a scientific knowledge test. Individuals were coded as scientifically literate if they answered 10 questions correctly out of the 12 on this test. Using multinomial logistic regression models, I found those exhibiting scientific literacy were 1.88 times more likely to express the opinion that military spending is too high, as compared to individuals classified as not scientifically literate. My results were robust to changes in the passing threshold for the test. Given the growing role of science and technology in the military, further study of this issue may have considerable implications for the education, scientific, and government communities. The findings could be applied to arguments related to the establishment of voter qualifications, changes in funding to science education, or how government agencies convey their spending habits to the public.
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