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Preference Uncertainty, Voter Participation and Electoral Efficiency: An Experimental Study


  • Jens Großer
  • Tamar Kugler
  • Arthur Schram


We experimentally study the impact of preference uncertainty on voter turnout and electoral efficiency in a participation game. We find higher participation rates when the electorate is informed about the level of support for various candidates than when group sizes remain uncertain. Moreover, despite higher free riding incentives majorities win more often than minorities. In aggregate, whether or not group sizes are known hardly affects welfare. We also distinguish between allied and floating voters and our data show that the lower turnout under uncertainty can be attributed to floating voters participating less. Finally, our results match better the predictions by quantal response (logit) equilibria than by (Bayesian-) Nash equilibria.

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  • Jens Großer & Tamar Kugler & Arthur Schram, 2003. "Preference Uncertainty, Voter Participation and Electoral Efficiency: An Experimental Study," Working Paper Series in Economics 2, University of Cologne, Department of Economics, revised 15 May 2005.
  • Handle: RePEc:kls:series:0002

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Vardan Baghdasaryan & Giovanna Iannantuoni & Valeria Maggian, 2017. "Electoral Fraud and Voter Turnout: An experimental study," Working Papers halshs-01511596, HAL.
    3. Vardan, Baghdasaryan & Giovanna, Iannantuoni & Valeria, Maggian, 2015. "Electoral fraud and voter turnout," Working Papers 315, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised 25 Nov 2015.
    4. 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.

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