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Partisan bias and expressive voting

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  • Robbett, Andrea
  • Matthews, Peter Hans

Abstract

We conduct an experiment to characterize the “expressive” voting behavior of political partisans. We find that participants who are asked to vote on the answer to factual questions tend to offer more partisan responses than those who must answer as decisive individuals. We further test whether voters exploit corrective information that sometimes challenges their partisan views. When information is available, we observe smaller partisan gaps and more correct responses, especially when the information is free. When information is costly to acquire, we find that voters generally choose to remain uninformed, consistent with the Downsian theory of rational ignorance.

Suggested Citation

  • Robbett, Andrea & Matthews, Peter Hans, 2018. "Partisan bias and expressive voting," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 157(C), pages 107-120.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:157:y:2018:i:c:p:107-120
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2017.09.008
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

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    3. Barrera, Oscar & Guriev, Sergei & Henry, Emeric & Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina, 2020. "Facts, alternative facts, and fact checking in times of post-truth politics," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 182(C).
    4. Katharina Momsen & Markus Ohndorf, 2020. "Expressive Voting vs. Self-Serving Ignorance," Working Papers 2020-33, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    5. Yoshio Kamijo & Yoichi Hizen & Tatsuyoshi Saijo & Teruyuki Tamura, 2019. "Voting on Behalf of a Future Generation: A Laboratory Experiment," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(16), pages 1-21, August.
    6. Guilmi, Corrado Di & Galanis, Giorgos, 2020. "Convergence and divergence in dynamic voting with inequality," CRETA Online Discussion Paper Series 61, Centre for Research in Economic Theory and its Applications CRETA.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Experiment; Voting behavior; Expressive voting; Information aggregation; Rational ignorance; Rational irrationality;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior

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