Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Who Misvotes? The Effect of Differential Cognition Costs on Election Outcomes

Contents:

Author Info

  • Shue, Kelly

    ()
    (Harvard University)

  • Luttmer, Erzo F.P.

    ()
    (Dartmouth College)

Abstract

If voters are fully rational and have negligible cognition costs, ballot layout should not affect election outcomes. In this paper, we explore deviations from rational voting using quasi-random variation in candidate name placement on ballots from the 2003 California Recall Election. We find that the voteshares of minor candidates almost double when their names are adjacent to the names of major candidates on a ballot. Voteshare gains are largest in precincts with high percentages of Democratic, Hispanic, low-income, non-English speaking, poorly educated, or young voters. A major candidate that attracts a disproportionate share of voters from these types of precincts faces a systematic electoral disadvantage. If the Republican frontrunner Arnold Schwarzenegger and Democratic frontrunner Cruz Bustamante had been in a tie, adjacency misvoting would have given Schwarzenegger an edge of 0.06% of the voteshare. This gain in voteshare exceeds the margins of victory in the 2000 U.S. Presidential Election and the 2004 Washington Gubernatorial Election. We explore which voting technology platforms and brands mitigate misvoting.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp2451.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2451.

as in new window
Length: 49 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2006
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 2009, 1(1), 229-257
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2451

Contact details of provider:
Postal: IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
Phone: +49 228 3894 223
Fax: +49 228 3894 180
Web page: http://www.iza.org

Order Information:
Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
Email:

Related research

Keywords: electoral systems; bounded rationality; voting mistakes; ballot design; voting technology; voter intent; electoral reform;

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2005. "Financial Literacy and Planning: Implications for Retirement Wellbeing," CeRP Working Papers 46, Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies, Turin (Italy).
  2. David A. Wise, 1989. "The Economics of Aging," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number wise89-1, May.
  3. Thomas S. Dee, 2007. "Technology and Voter Intent: Evidence from the California Recall Election," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(4), pages 674-683, November.
  4. John A. List & David Lucking-Reiley, 2002. "Bidding Behavior and Decision Costs in Field Experiments," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 40(4), pages 611-619, October.
  5. James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian & Andrew Metrick, 2001. "For Better or For Worse: Default Effects and 401(k) Savings Behavior," NBER Working Papers 8651, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. David Card & Enrico Moretti, 2005. "Does Voting Technology Affect Election Outcomes? Touch-screen Voting and the 2004 Presidential Election," NBER Working Papers 11309, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Brigitte C. Madrian & Dennis F. Shea, 2000. "The Power of Suggestion: Inertia in 401(k) Participation and Savings Behavior," NBER Working Papers 7682, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Daniel J. Benjamin & Sebastian A. Brown & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2006. "Who is “Behavioral”? Cognitive Ability and Anomalous Preferences," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000001334, David K. Levine.
  9. Herbert Simon & Lindsay McSweeney, 2010. "A Behavioral Model of Rational Choice," CPI Journal, Competition Policy International, vol. 6.
  10. Knack, Stephen & Kropf, Martha, 2003. "Voided Ballot in the 1996 Presidential Election: A County-Level Analysis," MPRA Paper 24895, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  11. Sumit Agarwal & John C. Driscoll & Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson, 2007. "The age of reason: financial decisions over the lifecycle," Working Paper Series WP-07-05, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  12. Phillip Garner & Enrico Spolaore, 2005. "Why chads? Determinants of voting equipment use in the United States," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 123(3), pages 363-392, June.
  13. Richard H. Thaler & Shlomo Benartzi, 2004. "Save More Tomorrow (TM): Using Behavioral Economics to Increase Employee Saving," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(S1), pages S164-S187, February.
  14. Michael S. Rashes, 2001. "Massively Confused Investors Making Conspicuously Ignorant Choices (MCI-MCIC)," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(5), pages 1911-1927, October.
  15. John Conlisk, 1996. "Why Bounded Rationality?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(2), pages 669-700, June.
  16. Knack, Stephen & Kropf, Martha, 2002. "Who Uses Inferior Voting Technology?," MPRA Paper 27241, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  17. Sendhil Mullainathan & Richard H. Thaler, 2000. "Behavioral Economics," NBER Working Papers 7948, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Richard Thaler & Shlomo Benartzi, 2004. "Save more tomorrow: Using behavioral economics to increase employee saving," Natural Field Experiments 00337, The Field Experiments Website.
  19. Ho, Daniel E. & Imai, Kosuke, 2006. "Randomization Inference With Natural Experiments: An Analysis of Ballot Effects in the 2003 California Recall Election," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 101, pages 888-900, September.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. S. Dellavigna., 2011. "Psychology and Economics: Evidence from the Field," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 4.
  2. Xavier Gabaix & John C. Driscoll & David Laibson & Sumit Agarwal, 2008. "The Age of Reason: Financial Decisions Over the Lifecycle," 2008 Meeting Papers 322, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Nattavudh Powdthavee & Paul Dolan, Robert Metcalfe, 2008. "Electing Happiness: Does Happiness Effect Voting and do Elections Affect Happiness," Discussion Papers 08/30, Department of Economics, University of York.
  4. Berta Esteve-Volart & Manuel F. Bagües, 2009. "Are Women Pawns in the Political Game? Evidence from Elections to the Spanish Senate," Working Papers 2009-30, FEDEA.
  5. Sumit Agarwal & John C. Driscoll & Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson, 2009. "The Age of Reason: Financial Decisions over the Life Cycle and Implications for Regulation," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 40(2 (Fall)), pages 51-117.
  6. Christian Bredemeier, 2010. "Imperfect Information and the Meltzer-Richard Hypothesis," Ruhr Economic Papers 0213, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
  7. Lin, C.-Y. Cynthia & Muelegger, Erich, 2007. "Using Approximations to Competitors’ Private Information: An Application of Cognitive Costs to Strategic Behavior," Working Paper Series rwp07-025, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2451. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Fallak).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.