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Overconfidence in Political Behavior

Author

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  • Pietro Ortoleva
  • Erik Snowberg

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 stronger partisan identification. The model also makes nuanced predictions about the patterns of ideology in society. 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 numerous predictions find strong support in these data. In particular, we document that overconfidence is a substantively and statistically important predictor of ideological extremeness, voter turnout, and partisan identification. (JEL C83, D03, D72, D83)

Suggested Citation

  • Pietro Ortoleva & Erik Snowberg, 2015. "Overconfidence in Political Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(2), pages 504-535, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:105:y:2015:i:2:p:504-35
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.20130921
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C83 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Survey Methods; Sampling Methods
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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