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Letting the good times roll: A theory of voter inference and experimental evidence

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  • John Patty

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  • Roberto Weber

Abstract

This paper examines inference and attribution in a simple and ubiquitous strategic situation: a voter is faced with discerning whether a leader worked on his or her behalf after observing an informative, but noisy signal about the leader's performance. We characterize perfect Bayesian equilibria, quantal response equilibria (QRE), and provide a simple model of a heuristic-based approach, referred to as strategic naivete, within a wide class of such environments. We also discuss experiments conducted to examine human behavior within such an environment. While it is clear that the observed behavior is inconsistent with perfect Bayesian equilibrium, distinguishing between QRE and strategic naivete will require further work. We conclude with a discussion of the broader implications of probabilistic and/or heuristic-based attribution processes for electoral politics and political economy. Copyright Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2007

Suggested Citation

  • John Patty & Roberto Weber, 2007. "Letting the good times roll: A theory of voter inference and experimental evidence," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 130(3), pages 293-310, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:130:y:2007:i:3:p:293-310
    DOI: 10.1007/s11127-006-9084-2
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11127-006-9084-2
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gautam Gowrisankaran & Matthew F. Mitchell & Andrea Moro, 2004. "Why Do Incumbent Senators Win? Evidence from a Dynamic Selection Model," NBER Working Papers 10748, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Richard Mckelvey & Thomas Palfrey, 1998. "Quantal Response Equilibria for Extensive Form Games," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 1(1), pages 9-41, June.
    3. Wolfers, Justin, 2002. "Are Voters Rational? Evidence from Gubernatorial Elections," Research Papers 1730, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    4. McKelvey, Richard D. & Patty, John W., 2006. "A theory of voting in large elections," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 155-180, October.
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    7. Scott Ashworth, 2005. "Reputational Dynamics and Political Careers," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(2), pages 441-466, October.
    8. Wittman, Donald, 1989. "Why Democracies Produce Efficient Results," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1395-1424, December.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Russo, Giuseppe & Salsano, Francesco, 2012. "Electoral systems and immigration," MPRA Paper 38497, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. François Facchini & Mickaël Melki, 2012. "Political Ideology and Economic Growth in a Democracy: The French Experience, 1871 - 2009," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00662838, HAL.
    3. Niklas Potrafke, 2012. "Political cycles and economic performance in OECD countries: empirical evidence from 1951–2006," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 150(1), pages 155-179, January.
    4. Little, Andrew T., 2017. "Propaganda and credulity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 224-232.
    5. Tandon, Sharad, 2012. "Economic reform, voting, and local political intervention: Evidence from India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 221-231.
    6. Alexander Baturo & Slava Mikhaylov, 2016. "Blair disease? Business careers of the former democratic heads of state and government," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 166(3), pages 335-354, March.

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