Letting the good times roll: A theory of voter inference and experimental evidence
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
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- Richard Mckelvey & Thomas Palfrey, 1998. "Quantal Response Equilibria for Extensive Form Games," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 9-41, June.
- Wolfers, Justin, 2002. "Are Voters Rational? Evidence from Gubernatorial Elections," Research Papers 1730, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
- Scott Ashworth, 2005. "Reputational Dynamics and Political Careers," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(2), pages 441-466, October.
- Wittman, Donald, 1989. "Why Democracies Produce Efficient Results," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1395-1424, December.
- 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.
- 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.
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