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

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  • Monika Bütler

    ()

  • Michel André Maréchal

    ()

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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File URL: http://www1.vwa.unisg.ch/RePEc/usg/dp2007/DP04-Bu.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen in its series University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2007 with number 2007-04.

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Length: 57 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:usg:dp2007:2007-04

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Related research

Keywords: Framing Effect; Voting; Direct Democracy; Pension Reform; Bounded Rationality; Natural Experiment;

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References

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  1. Marianne Bertrand & Dean S. Karlan & Sendhil Mullainathan & Eldar Shafir & Jonathan Zinman, 2005. "What's Psychology Worth? A Field Experiment in the Consumer Credit Market," Working Papers 918, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
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  19. repec:att:wimass:9406 is not listed on IDEAS
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Blog mentions

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. 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.
  2. Alejandra Cattaneo & Stefan C. Wolter, 2007. "Are the Elderly a Threat to Educational Expenditures?," CESifo Working Paper Series 2089, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. 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.

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