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Framing Effects in Political Decision Making: Evidence From a Natural Voting Experiment

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  • Bütler, Monika
  • Maréchal, Michel André

Abstract

This paper analyzes a recent ballot in which two virtually identical popular initiatives, both demanding a decrease in the legal age of retirement in Switzerland, led to differences in approval rates of nearly seven percentage points. Based on this unique natural experiment, the existence of emphasis framing effects is tested for and their determinants are identified outside of the controlled settings of laboratories. Nonetheless, the analyzed setting allows for considerably more control than usually available in the field: All party, government and interest group recommendations were symmetric for both initiatives, and the simultaneous vote rules out potential variation of individual preferences and compositional changes of the electorate over time. Using community and individual level data it is shown that the difference in approval rates is largely due to the different emphases in the initiatives' titles.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6200.

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Date of creation: Mar 2007
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6200

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Keywords: bounded rationality; direct democracy; framing effect; natural experiment; pension reform; voting;

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As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. 214 – The perils of asking people
    by David Pannell in Pannell Discussions on 2012-05-06 19:21:19
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Cited by:
  1. Alejandra Cattaneo & Stefan C. Wolter, 2007. "Are The Elderly A Threat To Educational Expenditures?," Economics of Education Working Paper Series, University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU) 0003, University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU).
  2. Patricia Funk, 2013. "How Accurate are Surveyed Preferences for Public Policies? Evidence from a Unique Institutional Setup," Working Papers 657, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  3. Patricia Funk, 2012. "How accurate are surveyed preferences for public policies? Evidence from a unique institutional setup," Economics Working Papers 1334, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.

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