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Overconfidence in Political Behavior

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  • Pietro Ortoleva
  • Erik Snowberg
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    Abstract

    This paper studies, theoretically and empirically, the role of overconfidence in political behavior. Our model of overconfidence in beliefs predicts that overconfidence leads to ideological extremeness, increased voter turnout, and increased strength of partisan identification. Moreover, the model makes many nuanced predictions about the patterns of ideology in society, and over a person's lifetime. These predictions are tested using unique data that measure the overconfidence, and standard political characteristics, of a nationwide sample of over 3,000 adults. Our predictions, eight in total, find strong support in this data. In particular, we document that overconfidence is a substantively and statistically important predictor of ideological extremeness and voter turnout.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19250.

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    Date of creation: Jul 2013
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    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19250

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    1. Enke, Benjamin & Zimmermann, Florian, 2013. "Correlation Neglect in Belief Formation," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79900, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    2. Snowberg, Erik & Wolfers, Justin & Zitzewitz, Eric, 2006. "Partisan Impacts on the Economy: Evidence from Prediction Markets and Close Elections," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 5591, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Zeelenberg, M., 1999. "Anticipated regret, expected feedback and behavioral decision-making," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-80656, Tilburg University.
    4. Sugden Robert, 1993. "An Axiomatic Foundation for Regret Theory," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 159-180, June.
    5. S. Dellavigna., 2011. "Psychology and Economics: Evidence from the Field," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 4.
    6. Lu�s Santos-Pinto & Joel Sobel, 2005. "A Model of Positive Self-Image in Subjective Assessments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1386-1402, December.
    7. Geoffrey Brennan & Alan Hamlin, 1998. "Expressive voting and electoral equilibrium," Public Choice, Springer, Springer, vol. 95(1), pages 149-175, April.
    8. Todd Sarver, 2008. "Anticipating Regret: Why Fewer Options May Be Better," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 76(2), pages 263-305, 03.
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