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Pivotality and Responsibility Attribution in Sequential Voting

  • Björn Bartling
  • Urs Fischbacher
  • Simeon Schudy

Are people blamed for being pivotal if they implement an unpopular outcome in a sequential voting process? We conduct an experimental voting game and analyze how pivotality affects responsibility attribution by parties who can be negatively affected by the voting outcome. We measure responsibility attribution by assigned punishment points and find that pivotal decision makers are blamed significantly more than non-pivotal decision makers. Moreover, we find that some voters avoid being pivotal by voting strategically to delegate the pivotal vote to subsequent decision makers.

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Paper provided by Thurgauer Wirtschaftsinstitut, Universität Konstanz in its series TWI Research Paper Series with number 90.

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Date of creation: 2014
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Handle: RePEc:twi:respas:0090
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  1. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1999. "A theory of fairness, competition, and cooperation," Munich Reprints in Economics 20650, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  2. Armin Falk & Urs Fischbacher, 2001. "A Theory of Reciprocity," CESifo Working Paper Series 457, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Björn Bartling & Urs Fischbacher, 2008. "Shifting the Blame: On Delegation and Responsibility," TWI Research Paper Series 32, Thurgauer Wirtschaftsinstitut, Universität Konstanz.
  4. Gilat Levy, 2007. "Decision making in committees: transparency, reputation, and voting rules," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3697, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  5. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  6. David K Levine, 1997. "Modeling Altruism and Spitefulness in Experiments," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2047, David K. Levine.
  7. Margin Dufwenberg & Georg Kirchsteiger, 2001. "A Theory of Sequential Reciprocity," Levine's Working Paper Archive 563824000000000090, David K. Levine.
  8. Jordi Brandts & Gary Charness, 2011. "The strategy versus the direct-response method: a first survey of experimental comparisons," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 375-398, September.
  9. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
  10. Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2004. "Voting when money and morals conflict: an experimental test of expressive voting," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1645-1664, July.
  11. John R. Hamman & George Loewenstein & Roberto A. Weber, 2010. "Self-Interest through Delegation: An Additional Rationale for the Principal-Agent Relationship," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(4), pages 1826-46, September.
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