IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/gamebe/v116y2019icp241-259.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Voter motivation and the quality of democratic choice

Author

Listed:
  • Mechtenberg, Lydia
  • Tyran, Jean-Robert

Abstract

The efficiency of committee voting and referenda with common-interest issues critically depends on voter motivation, i.e., on voters' willingness to cast an informed vote. If voters are motivated, voting may result in smart choices because of information aggregation but if voters remain ignorant, delegating decision making to an expert may yield better outcomes. We experimentally study a common-interest situation in which we vary voters' information cost and the competence of the expert. We find that voters are more motivated to collect information than predicted by standard theory and that voter motivation is higher when subjects demand to make choices by voting than when voting is imposed on subjects.

Suggested Citation

  • Mechtenberg, Lydia & Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2019. "Voter motivation and the quality of democratic choice," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 241-259.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:116:y:2019:i:c:p:241-259
    DOI: 10.1016/j.geb.2018.12.002
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S089982561830188X
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1016/j.geb.2018.12.002?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Marco Battaglini & Rebecca B. Morton & Thomas R. Palfrey, 2010. "The Swing Voter's Curse in the Laboratory," The Review of Economic Studies, Review of Economic Studies Ltd, vol. 77(1), pages 61-89.
    2. Thöni, Christian & Tyran, Jean-Robert & Wengström, Erik, 2012. "Microfoundations of social capital," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(7-8), pages 635-643.
    3. Feddersen, Timothy & Gailmard, Sean & Sandroni, Alvaro, 2009. "Moral Bias in Large Elections: Theory and Experimental Evidence," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 103(2), pages 175-192, May.
    4. Roland Hodler & Simon Luechinger & Alois Stutzer, 2015. "The Effects of Voting Costs on the Democratic Process and Public Finances," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 7(1), pages 141-171, February.
    5. Ben Greiner, 2015. "Subject pool recruitment procedures: organizing experiments with ORSEE," Journal of the Economic Science Association, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 1(1), pages 114-125, July.
    6. Matthias Benz & Alois Stutzer, 2004. "Are Voters Better Informed When They Have a Larger Say in Politics? -- Evidence for the European Union and Switzerland," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 119(1_2), pages 31-59, April.
    7. Matthias Sutter & Stefan Haigner & Martin G. Kocher, 2010. "Choosing the Carrot or the Stick? Endogenous Institutional Choice in Social Dilemma Situations," The Review of Economic Studies, Review of Economic Studies Ltd, vol. 77(4), pages 1540-1566.
    8. David Dreyer Lassen, 2005. "The Effect of Information on Voter Turnout: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 49(1), pages 103-118, January.
    9. Guarnaschelli, Serena & McKelvey, Richard D. & Palfrey, Thomas R., 2000. "An Experimental Study of Jury Decision Rules," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 94(2), pages 407-423, June.
    10. Sebastian Fehrler & Niall Hughes, 2018. "How Transparency Kills Information Aggregation: Theory and Experiment," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 181-209, February.
    11. McKelvey Richard D. & Palfrey Thomas R., 1995. "Quantal Response Equilibria for Normal Form Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 6-38, July.
    12. Dittmann, Ingolf & Kübler, Dorothea & Maug, Ernst & Mechtenberg, Lydia, 2014. "Why votes have value: Instrumental voting with overconfidence and overestimation of others' errors," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 17-38.
    13. Alexander Elvitar & Andrei Gomberg & César Martinelli & Thomas R. Palfrey, 2014. "Ignorance and bias in collective decision:Theory and experiments," Working Papers 1401, Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM.
    14. Großer, Jens & Seebauer, Michael, 2016. "The curse of uninformed voting: An experimental study," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 205-226.
    15. Martinelli, Cesar, 2006. "Would rational voters acquire costly information?," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 129(1), pages 225-251, July.
    16. Melis Kartal, 2015. "A Comparative Welfare Analysis of Electoral Systems with Endogenous Turnout," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 125(587), pages 1369-1392, September.
    17. Karl‐Dieter Opp, 2001. "Why Do People Vote? The Cognitive‐Illusion Proposition and Its Test," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(2‐3), pages 355-378, May.
    18. Urs Fischbacher & Simon Gachter, 2010. "Social Preferences, Beliefs, and the Dynamics of Free Riding in Public Goods Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 541-556, March.
    19. Gerlinde Fellner & Rupert Sausgruber & Christian Traxler, 2009. "Testing Enforcement Strategies in the Field: Legal Threat, Moral Appeal and Social Information," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2009_31, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
    20. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
    21. Austen-Smith, David & Banks, Jeffrey S., 1996. "Information Aggregation, Rationality, and the Condorcet Jury Theorem," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 90(1), pages 34-45, March.
    22. Jean-Robert Tyran & Alexander K. Wagner, 2016. "Experimental Evidence on Expressive Voting," Discussion Papers 16-12, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    23. Pedro Dal Bo & Andrew Foster & Louis Putterman, 2010. "Institutions and Behavior: Experimental Evidence on the Effects of Democracy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 2205-2229, December.
    24. Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2004. "Voting when money and morals conflict: an experimental test of expressive voting," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1645-1664, July.
    25. repec:oup:restud:v:84:y::i:1:p:143-181. is not listed on IDEAS
    26. Gerlinde Fellner & Rupert Sausgruber & Christian Traxler, 2013. "Testing Enforcement Strategies In The Field: Threat, Moral Appeal And Social Information," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 634-660, June.
    27. Stephen Knack, 1992. "Civic Norms, Social Sanctions, and Voter Turnout," Rationality and Society, , vol. 4(2), pages 133-156, April.
    28. Marco Battaglini & Rebecca B. Morton & Thomas R. Palfrey, 2008. "Information Aggregation and Strategic Abstention in Large Laboratory Elections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 194-200, May.
    29. Bhattacharya, Sourav & Duffy, John & Kim, SunTak, 2017. "Voting with endogenous information acquisition: Experimental evidence," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 316-338.
    30. Sourav Bhattacharya & John Duffy & Sun-Tak Kim, 2015. "Voting with Endogenous Information Acquisition: Theory and Evidence," Working Papers 151602, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
    31. Thomas Markussen & Louis Putterman & Jean-Robert Tyran, 2014. "Self-Organization for Collective Action: An Experimental Study of Voting on Sanction Regimes," The Review of Economic Studies, Review of Economic Studies Ltd, vol. 81(1), pages 301-324.
    32. Knack, Stephen, 1992. "Civic norms, social sanctions and voting turnout," MPRA Paper 28080, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    33. Opp, Karl-Dieter, 2001. "Why Do People Vote? The Cognitive-Illusion Proposition and Its Test," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(2-3), pages 355-378.
    34. Morton, Rebecca B. & Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2011. "Let the experts decide? Asymmetric information, abstention, and coordination in standing committees," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 485-509, June.
    35. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65(2), pages 135-135.
    36. Timothy Feddersen & Alvaro Sandroni, 2006. "A Theory of Participation in Elections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1271-1282, September.
    37. Hallsworth, Michael & List, John A. & Metcalfe, Robert D. & Vlaev, Ivo, 2017. "The behavioralist as tax collector: Using natural field experiments to enhance tax compliance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 148(C), pages 14-31.
    38. Philip Jones & Peter Dawson, 2008. "How Much Do Voters Know? An Analysis Of Motivation And Political Awareness," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 55(2), pages 123-142, May.
    39. Nicola Persico, 2004. "Committee Design with Endogenous Information," The Review of Economic Studies, Review of Economic Studies Ltd, vol. 71(1), pages 165-191.
    40. Patricia Funk, 2010. "Social Incentives and Voter Turnout: Evidence from the Swiss Mail Ballot System," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(5), pages 1077-1103, September.
    41. Stefano Dellavigna & John A. List & Ulrike Malmendier & Gautam Rao, 2017. "Voting to Tell Others," The Review of Economic Studies, Review of Economic Studies Ltd, vol. 84(1), pages 143-181.
    42. Gerber, Alan S. & Green, Donald P. & Larimer, Christopher W., 2008. "Social Pressure and Voter Turnout: Evidence from a Large-Scale Field Experiment," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 102(1), pages 33-48, February.
    43. Stephen Coate & Michael Conlin, 2004. "A Group Rule–Utilitarian Approach to Voter Turnout: Theory and Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1476-1504, December.
    44. Fernanda Leite Lopez de Leon & Renata Rizzi, 2014. "A Test for the Rational Ignorance Hypothesis: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Brazil," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 6(4), pages 380-398, November.
    45. Fehrler, Sebastian & Hughes, Niall, 2014. "How Transparency Kills Information Aggregation (And Why That May Be A Good Thing)," VfS Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100440, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    46. Rogers, Todd T, 2011. "Motivating Voter Turnout by Invoking the Self," Scholarly Articles 8052150, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
    47. Sutter, Matthias & Kocher, Martin & Haigner, Stefan, 2006. "Choosing the Stick or the Carrot? Endogenous Institutional Choice in Social Dilemma Situations," CEPR Discussion Papers 5497, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    48. Robert M. Bond & Christopher J. Fariss & Jason J. Jones & Adam D. I. Kramer & Cameron Marlow & Jaime E. Settle & James H. Fowler, 2012. "A 61-million-person experiment in social influence and political mobilization," Nature, Nature, vol. 489(7415), pages 295-298, 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


    Cited by:

    1. Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay & Moumita Deb & Johannes Lohse & Rebecca McDonald, 2024. "The swing voter's curse revisited: Transparency's impact on committee voting," Discussion Papers 24-01, Department of Economics, University of Birmingham.
    2. Morton, Rebecca B. & Piovesan, Marco & Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2019. "The dark side of the vote: Biased voters, social information, and information aggregation through majority voting," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 461-481.
    3. Thomas Markussen & Jean-Robert Tyran, 2023. "Is There a Dividend of Democracy? Experimental Evidence from Cooperation Games," CESifo Working Paper Series 10616, CESifo.
    4. Bandyopadhyay, Siddhartha & Deb, Moumita & Lohse, Johannes & McDonald, Rebecca, 2024. "The Swing Voter’s Curse Revisited: Transparency’s Impact on Committee Voting," Working Papers 0744, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
    5. Bhattacharya, Sourav & Duffy, John & Kim, SunTak, 2017. "Voting with endogenous information acquisition: Experimental evidence," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 316-338.
    6. Bryan C. McCannon & Paul Walker, 2020. "Individual Competence and Committee Decision Making: Experimental Evidence," Southern Economic Journal, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 86(4), pages 1531-1558, April.
    7. Schories, Fanny E., 2017. "Institutional Choice and Cooperation in Representative Democracies: An Experimental Approach," ILE Working Paper Series 9, University of Hamburg, Institute of Law and Economics.
    8. Fanny E. Schories, 2022. "The Influence of Indirect Democracy and Leadership Choice on Cooperation," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 25(4), pages 1173-1201, September.
    9. Keiichi Morimoto, 2021. "Information Use and the Condorcet Jury Theorem," Mathematics, MDPI, vol. 9(10), pages 1-22, May.
    10. Grieco, Daniela & Bripi, Francesco, 2022. "Participation of charity beneficiaries," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 199(C), pages 1-17.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Großer, Jens & Seebauer, Michael, 2016. "The curse of uninformed voting: An experimental study," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 205-226.
    2. Herrera, Helios & Llorente-Saguer, Aniol & McMurray, Joseph C., 2019. "Information aggregation and turnout in proportional representation: A laboratory experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 179(C).
    3. León, Gianmarco, 2017. "Turnout, political preferences and information: Experimental evidence from Peru," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 56-71.
    4. Bouton, Laurent & Llorente-Saguer, Aniol & Malherbe, Frédéric, 2017. "Unanimous rules in the laboratory," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 179-198.
    5. Morton, Rebecca B. & Piovesan, Marco & Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2019. "The dark side of the vote: Biased voters, social information, and information aggregation through majority voting," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 461-481.
    6. Bandyopadhyay, Siddhartha & Deb, Moumita & Lohse, Johannes & McDonald, Rebecca, 2024. "The Swing Voter’s Curse Revisited: Transparency’s Impact on Committee Voting," Working Papers 0744, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
    7. Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay & Moumita Deb & Johannes Lohse & Rebecca McDonald, 2024. "The swing voter's curse revisited: Transparency's impact on committee voting," Discussion Papers 24-01, Department of Economics, University of Birmingham.
    8. Quement, Mark T. Le & Marcin, Isabel, 2020. "Communication and voting in heterogeneous committees: An experimental study," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 174(C), pages 449-468.
    9. Breitmoser, Yves & Valasek, Justin, 2017. "A rationale for unanimity in committees," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economics of Change SP II 2017-308, WZB Berlin Social Science Center.
    10. Bouton, Laurent & Castanheira, Micael & Llorente-Saguer, Aniol, 2016. "Divided majority and information aggregation: Theory and experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 114-128.
    11. Cristina Bicchieri & Eugen Dimant & Simon Gächter & Daniele Nosenzo, 2020. "Observability, Social Proximity, and the Erosion of Norm Compliance," ECONtribute Discussion Papers Series 009, University of Bonn and University of Cologne, Germany.
    12. Mark T. Le Quement & Isabel Marcin, 2016. "Communication and voting in heterogeneous committees: An experimental study," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2016_05, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, revised Oct 2016.
    13. Kawamura, Kohei & Vlaseros, Vasileios, 2017. "Expert information and majority decisions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 147(C), pages 77-88.
    14. Cesar Martinelli & Thomas R. Palfrey, 2017. "Communication and Information in Games of Collective Decision: A Survey of Experimental Results," Working Papers 1065, George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science.
    15. Aimone, Jason A. & Butera, Luigi & Stratmann, Thomas, 2018. "Altruistic punishment in elections," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 149-160.
    16. Robbett, Andrea & Matthews, Peter Hans, 2018. "Partisan bias and expressive voting," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 157(C), pages 107-120.
    17. Piolatto, Amedeo & Schuett, Florian, 2015. "Media competition and electoral politics," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 80-93.
    18. Igerseim, Herrade & Baujard, Antoinette & Laslier, Jean-François, 2016. "La question du vote. Expérimentations en laboratoire et In Situ," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 92(1-2), pages 151-189, Mars-Juin.
    19. Meyer, Jacob & Rentschler, Lucas, 2023. "Abstention and informedness in nonpartisan elections," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 142(C), pages 381-410.
    20. Elena Panova, 2011. "A Passion for Democracy," CIRANO Working Papers 2011s-47, CIRANO.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Voting; Experiment; Information acquisition; Information aggregation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:116:y:2019:i:c:p:241-259. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    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 CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Catherine Liu (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622836 .

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

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.