Does Deceptive Advertising Reduce Political Participation? Theory and Evidence
We examine the effect of deceptive advertising on voting decisions in elections. We model two-candidate elections in which 1) voters are uncertain about candidates' attributes; and 2) candidates can inform voters of their attributes by sending advertisements. We compare political campaigns with truthful advertising to campaigns in which there is a small chance of deceptive advertising. Our theoretical model predicts that informed voters should act on the information contained in the advertisement. Thus, even in deceptive campaigns, informed voters should either vote for the candidate from whom they received an advertisement or abstain from voting; they should never vote for the opposing candidate. We test our model in laboratory elections, and, as predicted, find higher participation among informed voters in elections that allow only for truthful advertisement than in elections that permit deceptive advertising. Contrary to our theoretical predictions, we find substantial differences in voting behavior between truthful and deceptive campaigns. When faced with a small probability of deception, informed voters in deceptive campaigns vote for the candidate who did not send an advertisement, thereby making sub-optimal voting choices. Even when there is only a small chance that an advertisement is deceptive, voters are more likely to elect the candidate who generates less welfare.
|Date of creation:||Aug 2009|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: 4400 University Drive, MSN 1B2, Fairfax, VA 22030|
Web page: http://ices.gmu.edu/
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Matsusaka, John G, 1995. "Explaining Voter Turnout Patterns: An Information Theory," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 84(1-2), pages 91-117, July.
- Timothy J. Fedderson & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1996. "Abstention in Elections with Asymmetric Information and Diverse Preferences," Discussion Papers 1195, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- Luca Corazzini & Sebastian Kube & Michel Andrï¿½ Marï¿½chal & Antonio Nicolï¿½, 2009. "Elections and deceptions: an experimental study on the behavioral effects of democracy," IEW - Working Papers 421, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich, revised Aug 2013.
- Christian Schultz, 2003.
"Strategic Campaigns and Redistributive Politics,"
EPRU Working Paper Series
03-03, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
- Feddersen, Timothy J & Pesendorfer, Wolfgang, 1996.
"The Swing Voter's Curse,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 408-24, June.
- Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135.
- Abdul Ghafar Noury & Tom Coupé, 2004.
"Choosing not to choose: on the link between information and abstention,"
ULB Institutional Repository
2013/7756, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
- Coupe, Tom & Noury, Abdul G., 2004. "Choosing not to choose: on the link between information and abstention," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 261-265, August.
- Battaglini, Marco & Morton, Rebecca & Palfrey, Thomas R., 2006.
"The Swing Voter’s Curse in the laboratory,"
1263, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
- Battaglini, Marco & Morton, Rebecca & Palfrey, Thomas R, 2006. "The Swing Voter's Curse in the Laboratory," CEPR Discussion Papers 5458, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Marco Battaglini & Rebecca Morton & Thomas Palfrey, 2007. "The Swing Voter’s Curse in the Laboratory," Levine's Bibliography 321307000000000760, UCLA Department of Economics.
- Marci Battaglini & Rebecca Morton & Thomas Palfrey, 2007. "The Swing Voter's Curse in the Laboratory," Working Papers 0019, New York University, Center for Experimental Social Science.
- Battaglini, Marco & Morton, Rebecca & Palfrey, Thomas, 2005. "The Swing Voter's Curse in the Laboratory," Papers 03-13-2006, Princeton University, Research Program in Political Economy.
- Marco Battaglini & Rebecca Morton & Thomas Palfrey, 2005. "The Swing Voter's Curse in the Laboratory," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000914, UCLA Department of Economics.
- Andrea Prat, 2002.
"Campaign Advertising and Voter Welfare,"
Review of Economic Studies,
Oxford University Press, vol. 69(4), pages 999-1017.
- Matthew Gentzkow, 2006. "Television and Voter Turnout," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(3), pages 931-972.
- Stephen Coate, 2004. "Pareto-Improving Campaign Finance Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 628-655, June.
- Thomas Stratmann, 2005. "Some talk: Money in politics. A (partial) review of the literature," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 124(1), pages 135-156, July.
- David Dreyer Lassen, 2004. "The Effect of Information on Voter Turnout: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," EPRU Working Paper Series 04-03, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
- Potters, J.J.M. & Sloof, R. & van Winden, F.A.A.M., 1997.
"Campaign Expenditures, Contributions and Direct Endorsements : The Strategic Use of Information and Money to Influence Voter Behavior,"
1997-27, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
- Potters, Jan & Sloof, Randolph & van Winden, Frans, 1997. "Campaign expenditures, contributions and direct endorsements: The strategic use of information and money to influence voter behavior," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 1-31, February.
- Potters, J.J.M. & Sloof, R. & van Winden, F.A.A.M., 1997. "Campaign expenditures, contributions and direct endorsements. The strategic use of information and money to influence voter behaviour," Other publications TiSEM 347b9f99-149a-4ab3-966f-f, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
- Marco Battaglini & Rebecca B. Morton & Thomas R. Palfrey, 2008. "Information Aggregation and Strategic Abstention in Large Laboratory Elections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 194-200, May.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:gms:wpaper:1011. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Stan Tsirulnikov)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.