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Bounded Rationality and Voting Decisions Exploring a 160-year Period

Author

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  • David Stadelmann

    () (University of Fribourg)

  • Benno Torgler

    () (QUT)

Abstract

Using a natural voting experiment in Switzerland that encompasses a 160-year period (1848–2009), we investigate whether a higher level of complexity leads to increased reliance on expert knowledge. We find that when more referenda are held on the same day, constituents are more likely to refer to parliamentary recommendations in making their decisions. This finding holds true even when we narrow our focus to referenda with a relatively lower voter turnout on days on which more than one referendum was held. We also show that when constituents face a higher level of complexity, they listen to parliament rather than interest groups.

Suggested Citation

  • David Stadelmann & Benno Torgler, 2012. "Bounded Rationality and Voting Decisions Exploring a 160-year Period," School of Economics and Finance Discussion Papers and Working Papers Series 287, School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology.
  • Handle: RePEc:qut:dpaper:287
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    File URL: http://external-apps.qut.edu.au/business/documents/discussionPapers/2012/WP287.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Stadelmann, David & Portmann, Marco & Eichenberger, Reiner, 2013. "Quantifying parliamentary representation of constituents’ preferences with quasi-experimental data," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 170-180.
    2. Simon, Herbert A, 1978. "Rationality as Process and as Product of Thought," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(2), pages 1-16, May.
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    6. Reiner Eichenberger & David Stadelmann & Marco Portmann, 2012. "A comparative analysis of the voting behavior of constituents and their representatives for public debts," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 23(3), pages 244-260, September.
    7. Herbert A. Simon, 1955. "A Behavioral Model of Rational Choice," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(1), pages 99-118.
    8. J. M. Clark, 1918. "Economics and Modern Psycholoy: I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26, pages 1-1.
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    11. Daniel Kahneman, 2003. "Maps of Bounded Rationality: Psychology for Behavioral Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1449-1475, December.
    12. W. Crain & Donald Leavens & Lynn Abbot, 1987. "Voting and not voting at the same time," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 53(3), pages 221-229, January.
    13. Morton, Rebecca B. & Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2011. "Let the experts decide? Asymmetric information, abstention, and coordination in standing committees," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 485-509, June.
    14. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135-135.
    15. Frey, Bruno S, 1994. "Direct Democracy: Politico-economic Lessons from Swiss Experience," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 338-342, May.
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    18. Marco Portmann & David Stadelmann & Reiner Eichenberger, 2010. "District Magnitude and Representation of the Majority?s Preferences: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from Popular and Parliamentary Votes," CREMA Working Paper Series 2010-13, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Benno Torgler & Davis Stadelmann & Marco Portmann, 2013. "The Power of Religious Organizations in Human Decision Processes: Analyzing Voting Behavior," QuBE Working Papers 023, QUT Business School.
    2. David Stadelmann & Reiner Eichenberger & Marco Portmann, 2014. "Voting against the separation of powers between legislature and administration," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 25(2), pages 207-229, June.
    3. Friedrich Heinemann & Theocharis Grigoriadis, 2016. "Origins of reform resistance and the Southern European regime," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 43(4), pages 661-691, November.
    4. repec:wfo:wstudy:46881 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Felix Arnold & Ronny Freier & Magdalena Pallauf & David Stadelmann, 2014. "Voting for Direct Democracy: Evidence from a Unique Popular Initiative in Bavaria," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1435, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Bounded rationality; voting; referenda attention; rules of thumb;

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • H70 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - General

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