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The Swing Voter's Curse in the Laboratory

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  • Battaglini, Marco
  • Morton, Rebecca
  • Palfrey, Thomas R

Abstract

This paper reports the first laboratory study of the swing voter’s curse and provides insights on the larger theoretical and empirical literature on 'pivotal voter' models. Our experiment controls for different information levels of voters, as well as the size of the electorate, the distribution of preferences, and other theoretically relevant parameters. The design varies the share of partisan voters and the prior belief about a payoff relevant state of the world. Our results support the equilibrium predictions of the Feddersen-Pesendorfer model, and clearly reject the notion that voters in the laboratory use naïve decision-theoretic strategies. The voters act as if they are aware of the swing voter’s curse and adjust their behaviour to compensate. While the compensation is not complete and there is some heterogeneity in individual behaviour, we find that aggregate outcomes, such as efficiency, turnout, and margin of victory, closely track the theoretical predictions.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5458.

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Date of creation: Jan 2006
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5458

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Keywords: information aggregation; swing voter's curse; voting behaviour;

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References

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  1. Thomas Palfrey & Howard Rosenthal, 1983. "A strategic calculus of voting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 41(1), pages 7-53, January.
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  21. Stephen Coate & Michael Conlin & Andrea Moro, 2004. "The Performance of the Pivotal-Voter Model in Small-Scale Elections: Evidence from Texas Liquor Referenda," NBER Working Papers 10797, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Valentino Larcinese, 2007. "Does political knowledge increase turnout? Evidence from the 1997 British general election," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 131(3), pages 387-411, June.
  2. Ivo Bischoff & Henrik Egbert, 2010. "Social information and bandwagon behaviour in voting: an economic experiment," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201005, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
  3. Ivo Bischoff & Thomas Krauskopf, 2013. "Motives of pro-social behavior in individual versus collective decisions – a comparative experimental study," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201319, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
  4. Jørgen Juel Andersen & Jon H. Fiva & Gisle James Natvik, 2013. "Voting When the Stakes Are High," Working Papers 0017, Centre for Applied Macro- and Petroleum economics (CAMP), BI Norwegian Business School.
  5. Bruns, Christian, 2013. "Elections and Market Provision of Information," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79857, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  6. Sourav Bhattacharya, 2013. "Condorcet Jury Theorem in a Spatial Model of Elections," Working Papers 517, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Economics, revised Nov 2013.
  7. Battaglini, Marco & Makarov, Uliana, 2014. "Cheap talk with multiple audiences: An experimental analysis," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 147-164.
  8. John Duffy & Sourav Bhattacharya & Sun-Tak Kim, 2012. "Compulsory versus Voluntary Voting: An Experimental Study," Working Papers 492, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Economics, revised Aug 2013.
  9. Cesar Martinelli, 2011. "Ignorance and Naivete in Large Elections," Working Papers 1107, Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM.
  10. Sourav Bhattacharya, 2006. "Preference Monotonicity and Information Aggregation in Elections," Working Papers 325, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Economics, revised Dec 2008.
  11. Cox, Caleb, 2014. "Cursed beliefs with common-value public goods," MPRA Paper 53074, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  12. Höchtl, Wolfgang & Sausgruber, Rupert & Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2012. "Inequality aversion and voting on redistribution," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(7), pages 1406-1421.
  13. Dittmann, Ingolf & Kübler, Dorothea & Maug, Ernst & Mechtenberg, Lydia, 2014. "Why votes have value: Instrumental voting with overconfidence and overestimation of others' errors," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 17-38.
  14. Oliveros, Santiago, 2013. "Abstention, ideology and information acquisition," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 148(3), pages 871-902.
  15. Daniel Houser & Sandra Ludwig & Thomas Stratmann, 2009. "Does Deceptive Advertising Reduce Political Participation? Theory and Evidence," Working Papers 1011, George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science.

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