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Overconfidence in Political Behavior

  • Pietro Ortoleva
  • Erik Snowberg

This paper studies, theoretically and empirically, the role of overconfidence in political behavior. Our model of overconfidence in beliefs predicts that overconfidence leads to ideological extremeness, increased voter turnout, and increased strength of partisan identification. Moreover, the model makes many nuanced predictions about the patterns of ideology in society, and over a person's lifetime. These predictions are tested using unique data that measure the overconfidence, and standard political characteristics, of a nationwide sample of over 3,000 adults. Our predictions, eight in total, find strong support in this data. In particular, we document that overconfidence is a substantively and statistically important predictor of ideological extremeness and voter turnout.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w19250.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19250.

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Date of creation: Jul 2013
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Publication status: published as Pietro Ortoleva & Erik Snowberg, 2015. "Overconfidence in Political Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(2), pages 504-35, February.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19250
Note: POL
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  1. Enke, Benjamin & Zimmermann, Florian, 2013. "Correlation Neglect in Belief Formation," IZA Discussion Papers 7372, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Erik Snowberg & Justin Wolfers & Eric Zitzewitz, 2006. "Partisan Impacts on the Economy: Evidence from Prediction Markets and Close Elections," NBER Working Papers 12073, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Sugden Robert, 1993. "An Axiomatic Foundation for Regret Theory," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 159-180, June.
  4. S. Dellavigna., 2011. "Psychology and Economics: Evidence from the Field," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 4.
  5. Lu�s Santos-Pinto & Joel Sobel, 2005. "A Model of Positive Self-Image in Subjective Assessments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1386-1402, December.
  6. Arianna Degan & Antonio Merlo, 2011. "A Structural Model Of Turnout And Voting In Multiple Elections," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 209-245, 04.
  7. repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-80656 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Steven Callander, 2007. "Bandwagons and Momentum in Sequential Voting," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(3), pages 653-684.
  9. Erik Snowberg & Justin Wolfers & Eric Zitzewitz, 2006. "Party Influence in Congress and the Economy," NBER Working Papers 12751, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Geoffrey Brennan & Alan Hamlin, 1998. "Expressive voting and electoral equilibrium," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 95(1), pages 149-175, April.
  11. Leeat Yariv & Alessandro Lizzeri & Alberto Bisin, 2012. "Government Policy with Time Inconsistent Voters," 2012 Meeting Papers 92, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  12. Todd Sarver, 2008. "Anticipating Regret: Why Fewer Options May Be Better," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(2), pages 263-305, 03.
  13. Henderson, Daniel J. & List, John A. & Millimet, Daniel L. & Parmeter, Christopher F. & Price, Michael K., 2008. "Imposing Monotonicity Nonparametrically in First-Price Auctions," MPRA Paper 8769, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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