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Uncertainty and Resistance to Reform in Laboratory Participation Games

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  • Vai-Lam Mui
  • Timothy N. Cason

Abstract

This paper presents a participation game experiment to study the impact of uncertainty and costly political participation on the incidence of reform. Fernandez and Rodrik (1991) show that uncertainty about who will ultimately gain or lose as a result of a reform can prevent its adoption. We introduce intra-group conflict into this framework by incorporating costly political participation, which creates a natural incentive for free-riding on fellow group members’ efforts to influence policy outcomes. An agent, however, may still be willing to participate if her participation is likely to affect the policy outcome given the probabilities of participation by others. Our experimental findings show that uncertainty reduces the incidence of reform even with costly political participation, and that an increase in the cost of participation reduces the participation of all agents, regardless of whether they belong to the majority and minority. This second result cannot be reconciled with the standard mixed strategy Nash equilibrium, but is consistent with the quantal response equilibrium.

Suggested Citation

  • Vai-Lam Mui & Timothy N. Cason, 2004. "Uncertainty and Resistance to Reform in Laboratory Participation Games," Econometric Society 2004 Australasian Meetings 1, Econometric Society.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecm:ausm04:1
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    File URL: http://repec.org/esAUSM04/up.19981.1070926540.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Aguirre, Alvaro, 2016. "The risk of civil conflicts as a determinant of political institutions," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 36-59.
    2. Marco Battaglini & Rebecca B. Morton & Thomas R. Palfrey, 2010. "The Swing Voter's Curse in the Laboratory," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(1), pages 61-89.
    3. Cason, Timothy N. & Mui, Vai-Lam, 2005. "Uncertainty and resistance to reform in laboratory participation games," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 708-737, September.
    4. repec:cup:apsrev:v:101:y:2007:i:01:p:143-158_07 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Esteban F. Klory & Eyal Winter, 2006. "On Public Opinion Polls and Voters' Turnout," Levine's Working Paper Archive 321307000000000451, David K. Levine.
    6. repec:pit:wpaper:456 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Bhattacharya, Sourav & Duffy, John & Kim, Sun-Tak, 2014. "Compulsory versus voluntary voting: An experimental study," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 111-131.
    8. Timothy N. Cason & Vai-Lam Mui, 2003. "Testing Political Economy Models of Reform in the Laboratory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 208-212, May.
    9. Paetzel, Fabian & Sausgruber, Rupert & Traub, Stefan, 2014. "Social preferences and voting on reform: An experimental study," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 36-55.
    10. Jingjing Zhang, 2012. "Communication in asymmetric group competition over public goods," ECON - Working Papers 069, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
    11. Zinnia Mukherjee, 2016. "Controlling stochastic externalities with penalty threats: the case of bycatch," Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Springer;Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies - SEEPS, vol. 18(1), pages 93-113, January.
    12. Coate, Stephen & Conlin, Michael & Moro, Andrea, 2008. "The performance of pivotal-voter models in small-scale elections: Evidence from Texas liquor referenda," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(3-4), pages 582-596, April.
    13. Jens Großer & Arthur Schram, 2007. "Public Opinion Polls, Voter Turnout, and Welfare: An Experimental Study," Labsi Experimental Economics Laboratory University of Siena 014, University of Siena.
    14. repec:wfo:wstudy:46919 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. repec:eee:jeborg:v:147:y:2018:i:c:p:95-114 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Sheremeta, Roman, 2009. "Essays on Experimental Investigation of Lottery Contests," MPRA Paper 49888, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    17. Levine, David K. & Palfrey, Thomas R., 2007. "The Paradox of Voter Participation? A Laboratory Study," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 101(01), pages 143-158, February.
    18. Andréasson, Hannes & Elert, Niklas & Karlson, Nils, 2013. "Does Social Cohesion Really Promote Reforms?," Ratio Working Papers 211, The Ratio Institute.
    19. Alan Gerber & Mitchell Hoffman & John Morgan & Collin Raymond, 2017. "One in a Million: Field Experiments on Perceived Closeness of the Election and Voter Turnout," NBER Working Papers 23071, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. repec:wfo:wstudy:47022 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Marina Agranov & Jacob K. Goeree & Julian Romero & Leeat Yariv, 2012. "What makes voters turn out: the effects of polls and beliefs," ECON - Working Papers 067, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
    22. Jingjing Zhang, 2009. "Communication in Asymmetric Group Competition over Public Goods," Department of Economics Working Papers 2009-06, McMaster University.
    23. repec:pit:wpaper:492 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Reform; Uncertainty; Experiment; Participation Game; Bounded Rationality; Quantal Response Equilibrium;

    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
    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General

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