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Why votes have value: Instrumental voting with overconfidence and overestimation of others' errors

Author

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  • Dittmann, Ingolf
  • Kübler, Dorothea
  • Maug, Ernst
  • Mechtenberg, Lydia

Abstract

We perform an experiment in which subjects bid for participating in a vote. The setting precludes conflicts of interests or direct benefits from voting. The theoretical value of participating in the vote is therefore zero if subjects have only instrumental reasons to vote and form correct beliefs. Yet, we find that experimental subjects are willing to pay for the vote and that they do so for instrumental reasons. The observed voting premium in the main treatment is high and can only be accounted for if some subjects either overestimate their pivotality or do not pay attention to pivotality at all. A model of instrumental voting, which assumes that individuals are overconfident and that they overestimate the errors of others, is consistent with results from treatments that make the issue of pivotality salient to experimental subjects.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:84:y:2014:i:c:p:17-38
    DOI: 10.1016/j.geb.2013.12.004
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Bortolon, Patrícia M. & Câmara Leal, Ricardo P., 2014. "Dual-class unifications and corporate governance in Brazil," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(C), pages 89-108.
    2. Schnellenbach, Jan & Schubert, Christian, 2015. "Behavioral political economy: A survey," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 40(PB), pages 395-417.
    3. 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.
    4. Schnellenbach, Jan & Schubert, Christian, 2014. "Behavioral public choice: A survey," Freiburg Discussion Papers on Constitutional Economics 14/03, Walter Eucken Institut e.V..
    5. Karl H.Schlag, 2015. "Who gives Direction to Statistical Testing? Best Practice meets Mathematically Correct Tests," Vienna Economics Papers 1512, University of Vienna, Department of Economics.
    6. Jean-Robert Tyran & Alexander K. Wagner, 2016. "Experimental Evidence on Expressive Voting," Discussion Papers 16-12, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    7. Steve Sauerwald & J. (Hans) Van Oosterhout & Marc Van Essen, 2016. "Expressive Shareholder Democracy: A Multilevel Study of Shareholder Dissent in 15 Western European Countries," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(4), pages 520-551, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Voting; Experimental economics; Overconfidence; Pivotality; Cognitive biases;

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill

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