IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/zur/iewwpx/421.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Elections and deceptions: an experimental study on the behavioral effects of democracy

Author

Listed:
  • Luca Corazzini
  • Sebastian Kube
  • Michel Andr� Mar�chal
  • Antonio Nicol�

Abstract

Traditionally, the virtue of democratic elections has been seen in their role as means of screening and sanctioning shirking public officials. This paper proposes a novel rationale for elections and political campaigns considering that candidates incur psychological costs of lying, in particular from breaking campaign promises. These non-pecuniary costs imply that campaigns influence subsequent behavior, even in the absence of reputational or image concerns. Our lab experiments reveal that promises are more than cheap talk. They influence the behavior of both voters and their representatives. We observe that the electorate is better off when their leaders are elected democratically rather than being appointed exogenously - but only in the presence of electoral campaigns. In addition, we find that representatives are more likely to serve the public interest when their approval rates are high. Altogether, our results suggest that elections and campaigns confer important benefits beyond their screening and sanctioning functions.

Suggested Citation

  • Luca Corazzini & Sebastian Kube & Michel Andr� Mar�chal & Antonio Nicol�, 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:zur:iewwpx:421
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.econ.uzh.ch/static/wp_iew/iewwp421.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Guth, Werner & Levati, M. Vittoria & Sutter, Matthias & van der Heijden, Eline, 2007. "Leading by example with and without exclusion power in voluntary contribution experiments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(5-6), pages 1023-1042, June.
    2. Stutzer Alois & Frey Bruno S., 2006. "Making International Organizations More Democratic," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 1(3), pages 305-330, January.
    3. Forsythe, Robert & Rietz, Thomas & Myerson, Roger & Weber, Robert, 1996. "An Experimental Study of Voting Rules and Polls in Three-Candidate Elections," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 25(3), pages 355-383.
    4. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
    5. Sebastian Kube & Clemens Puppe, 2009. "(When and how) do voters try to manipulate?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 139(1), pages 39-52, April.
    6. Ellingsen, Tore & Johannesson, Magnus & Tjøtta, Sigve & Torsvik, Gaute, 2010. "Testing guilt aversion," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 95-107, January.
    7. Timothy Besley, 2005. "Political Selection," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(3), pages 43-60, Summer.
    8. Fehr, Ernst & Leibbrandt, Andreas, 2008. "Cooperativeness and Impatience in the Tragedy of the Commons," IZA Discussion Papers 3625, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. Jordi Brandts & Gary Charness, 2000. "Hot vs. Cold: Sequential Responses and Preference Stability in Experimental Games," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 2(3), pages 227-238, March.
    10. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2002. "The Political Economy of Government Responsiveness: Theory and Evidence from India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1415-1451.
    11. Tore Ellingsen & Magnus Johannesson, 2004. "Promises, Threats and Fairness," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(495), pages 397-420, April.
    12. Callander, Steven & Wilkie, Simon, 2007. "Lies, damned lies, and political campaigns," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 262-286, August.
    13. Charness, Gary, 2000. "Self-Serving Cheap Talk: A Test Of Aumann's Conjecture," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 177-194, November.
    14. Matthias Benz & Stephan Meier, "undated". "Do People Behave in Experiments as in the Field? � Evidence from Donations," IEW - Working Papers 248, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    15. Guth, Werner & Huck, Steffen & Muller, Wieland, 2001. "The Relevance of Equal Splits in Ultimatum Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 161-169, October.
    16. Uri Gneezy, 2005. "Deception: The Role of Consequences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 384-394, March.
    17. Pedro Dal Bo & Andrew Foster & Louis Putterman, 2010. "Institutions and Behavior: Experimental Evidence on the Effects of Democracy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 2205-2229, December.
    18. Schotter Andrew & Weigelt Keith & Wilson Charles, 1994. "A Laboratory Investigation of Multiperson Rationality and Presentation Effects," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 445-468, May.
    19. Levitt, Steven D, 1996. "How Do Senators Vote? Disentangling the Role of Voter Preferences, Party Affiliation, and Senate Ideology," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 425-441, June.
    20. Simon Gaechter & Daniele Nosenzo & Elke Renner & Martin Sefton, 2008. "Who Makes a Good Leader? Social Preferences and Leading-by-Example," Discussion Papers 2008-16, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    21. Steven Callander, 2008. "Political Motivations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(3), pages 671-697.
    22. Hermalin, Benjamin E, 1998. "Toward an Economic Theory of Leadership: Leading by Example," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(5), pages 1188-1206, December.
    23. S. Dellavigna., 2011. "Psychology and Economics: Evidence from the Field," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 4.
    24. Thomas Stratmann, 2005. "Some talk: Money in politics. A (partial) review of the literature," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 124(1), pages 135-156, July.
    25. Timothy N. Cason & Vai-Lam Mui, 1998. "Social Influence in the Sequential Dictator Game," Monash Economics Working Papers archive-37, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    26. Crawford, Vincent, 1998. "A Survey of Experiments on Communication via Cheap Talk," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 286-298, February.
    27. McKelvey, Richard D. & Ordeshook, Peter C., 1985. "Elections with limited information: A fulfilled expectations model using contemporaneous poll and endorsement data as information sources," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 55-85, June.
    28. Groãÿer, Jens & Schram, Arthur, 2006. "Neighborhood Information Exchange and Voter Participation: An Experimental Study," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 100(2), pages 235-248, May.
    29. Gary Charness & Martin Dufwenberg, 2006. "Promises and Partnership," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(6), pages 1579-1601, November.
    30. Olken, Benjamin A., 2010. "Direct Democracy and Local Public Goods: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Indonesia," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 104(2), pages 243-267, May.
    31. John Ferejohn, 1986. "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 5-25, January.
    32. Eric Maskin & Jean Tirole, 2004. "The Politician and the Judge: Accountability in Government," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 1034-1054, September.
    33. Forsythe Robert & Horowitz Joel L. & Savin N. E. & Sefton Martin, 1994. "Fairness in Simple Bargaining Experiments," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 347-369, May.
    34. Andreas Glöckner & Bernd Irlenbusch & Sebastian Kube & Andreas Nicklisch & Hans-Theo Normann, 2009. "Leading with(out) Sacrifice? A Public-Goods Experiment with a Super-Additive Player," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2009_08, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
    35. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List, 2007. "What Do Laboratory Experiments Measuring Social Preferences Reveal About the Real World?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 153-174, Spring.
    36. Pierpaolo Battigalli & Martin Dufwenberg, 2007. "Guilt in Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 170-176, May.
    37. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1990. "Equilibrium Political Budget Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 21-36, March.
    38. Krosnick, Jon A. & Brannon, Laura A., 1993. "The Impact of the Gulf War on the Ingredients of Presidential Evaluations: Multidimensional Effects of Political Involvement," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 87(4), pages 963-975, December.
    39. Navin Kartik & R. Preston McAfee, 2007. "Signaling Character in Electoral Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 852-870, June.
    40. Daniel Houser & Erte Xiao, 2011. "Classification of natural language messages using a coordination game," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 14(1), pages 1-14, March.
    41. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
    42. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Rosaz, Julie & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2012. "Lies and biased evaluation: A real-effort experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 537-549.
    2. Daniel Houser & Sandra Ludwig & Thomas Stratmann, 2009. "Does Deceptive Advertising Reduce Political Participation? Theory and Evidence," Working Papers 1011, George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science.
    3. Daniel Houser & Erte Xiao, 2011. "Classification of natural language messages using a coordination game," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 14(1), pages 1-14, March.
    4. Markussen, Thomas & Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2017. "Choosing a public-spirited leader: An experimental investigation of political selection," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 144(C), pages 204-218.
    5. Philippos Louis & Matias Núñez & Dimitrios Xefteris, 2019. "The Virtuous Cycle of Agreement," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 04-2019, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.
    6. Fabio Galeotti & Daniel John Zizzo, 2014. "Competence versus Trustworthiness: What Do Voters Care About?," Post-Print halshs-02467510, HAL.
    7. Elena Manzoni, 2020. "Extreme events, ex post renegotiation and vagueness of campaign promises," Working Papers 10/2020, University of Verona, Department of Economics.
    8. Rosaz, Julie & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2012. "Lies and biased evaluation: A real-effort experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 537-549.
    9. Rosaz, Julie & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2012. "Lies and biased evaluation: A real-effort experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 537-549.
    10. Prasenjit Banerjee & Vegard Iversen & Sandip Mitra & Antonio Nicolò & Kunal Sen, 2018. "Politicians and Their Promises in an Uncertain World: Evidence from a Lab-in-the-Field Experiment in India," Economics Discussion Paper Series 1806, Economics, The University of Manchester.
    11. Engel, Christoph & Kube, Sebastian & Kurschilgen, Michael, 2021. "Managing expectations: How selective information affects cooperation and punishment in social dilemma games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 187(C), pages 111-136.
    12. Giorgio Bellettini & Paolo Roberti, 2020. "Politicians’ coherence and government debt," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 182(1), pages 73-91, January.
    13. Matthias Lang & Simeon Schudy, 2020. "(Dis)honesty and the Value of Transparency for Campaign Promises," CESifo Working Paper Series 8366, CESifo.
    14. Prasenjit Banerjee & Vegard Iversen & Sandip Mitra & Antonio Nicolò & Kunal Sen, 2020. "Moral reputation and political selection in a decentralized democracy: Theory and evidence from India," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2020-26, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    15. Drazen, Allan & Ozbay, Erkut Y., 2019. "Does “being chosen to lead” induce non-selfish behavior? Experimental evidence on reciprocity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 174(C), pages 13-21.
    16. Feltovich, Nick & Giovannoni, Francesco, 2015. "Selection vs. accountability: An experimental investigation of campaign promises in a moral-hazard environment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 126(C), pages 39-51.
    17. Tebbe, Eva & Wegener, Benjamin, 2022. "Is natural language processing the cheap charlie of analyzing cheap talk? A horse race between classifiers on experimental communication data," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 96(C).
    18. Galeotti, Fabio & Zizzo, Daniel John, 2018. "Identifying voter preferences: The trade-off between honesty and competence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 27-50.
    19. Philippos Louis & Matias Núñez & Dimitrios Xefteris, 2018. "Beyond Outcomes: Experimental Evidence on the Value of Agreement," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 05-2018, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.
    20. Momsen, Katharina, 2021. "Recommendations in credence goods markets with horizontal product differentiation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 183(C), pages 19-38.
    21. Woon, Jonathan & Kanthak, Kristin, 2019. "Elections, ability, and candidate honesty," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 157(C), pages 735-753.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Luca Corazzini, Sebastian Kube, Michel André Maréchal, 2007. "Towards a Behavioral Public Choice: Guilt-Aversion and Accountability in the Lab," ISLA Working Papers 27, ISLA, Centre for research on Latin American Studies and Transition Economies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy.
    2. Walkowitz, Gari & Weiss, Arne R., 2017. "“Read my lips! (but only if I was elected)!” Experimental evidence on the effects of electoral competition on promises, shirking and trust," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 142(C), pages 348-367.
    3. Serra Garcia, M. & van Damme, E.E.C. & Potters, J.J.M., 2010. "Which Words Bond? An Experiment on Signaling in a Public Good Game (replaced by CentER DP 2011-139)," Discussion Paper 2010-33, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    4. Zakaria Babutsidze & Nobuyuki Hanaki & Adam Zylbersztejn, 2021. "Nonverbal content and trust: An experiment on digital communication," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 59(4), pages 1517-1532, October.
    5. Gari Walkowitz & Arne R. Weiss, 2014. ""Read my Lips!" Experimental Evidence on the Effects of Electoral Competition on Shirking and Trust," Cologne Graduate School Working Paper Series 05-07, Cologne Graduate School in Management, Economics and Social Sciences.
    6. Koukoumelis, Anastasios & Levati, M. Vittoria & Weisser, Johannes, 2012. "Leading by words: A voluntary contribution experiment with one-way communication," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 379-390.
    7. Zakaria Babutsidze & Nobuyuki Hanaki & Adam Zylbersztejn, 2020. "Nonverbal content and swift trust: An experiment on digital communication," Working Papers 2008, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique Lyon St-Étienne (GATE Lyon St-Étienne), Université de Lyon.
    8. Ederer, Florian & Stremitzer, Alexander, 2017. "Promises and expectations," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 161-178.
    9. Zakaria Babutsidze & Nobuyuki Hanaki & Adam Zylbersztejn, 2019. "Digital Communication and Swift Trust," Post-Print halshs-02409314, HAL.
    10. Prasenjit Banerjee & Vegard Iversen & Sandip Mitra & Antonio Nicolò & Kunal Sen, 2018. "Politicians and Their Promises in an Uncertain World: Evidence from a Lab-in-the-Field Experiment in India," Economics Discussion Paper Series 1806, Economics, The University of Manchester.
    11. Naef, Michael & Schupp, Jürgen, 2009. "Measuring Trust: Experiments and Surveys in Contrast and Combination," IZA Discussion Papers 4087, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    12. Mikhail Drugov & John Hamman & Danila Serra, 2014. "Intermediaries in corruption: an experiment," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 17(1), pages 78-99, March.
    13. Jingnan Chen & Daniel Houser, 2017. "Promises and lies: can observers detect deception in written messages," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 20(2), pages 396-419, June.
    14. Servátka, Maroš & Tucker, Steven & Vadovič, Radovan, 2011. "Words speak louder than money," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 700-709.
    15. Serra Garcia, M. & van Damme, E.E.C. & Potters, J.J.M., 2010. "Which Words Bond? An Experiment on Signaling in a Public Good Game (replaced by TILEC DP 2011-055)," Other publications TiSEM 5ed24dc3-e6cf-4fa4-bace-2, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    16. Maroš Servátka & Steven Tucker & Radovan Vadovič, 2008. "Strategic Use of Trust," Working Papers in Economics 08/11, University of Canterbury, Department of Economics and Finance.
    17. Dufwenberg, Martin & Gächter, Simon & Hennig-Schmidt, Heike, 2011. "The framing of games and the psychology of play," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 459-478.
    18. Adrian Groot Ruiz & Theo Offerman & Sander Onderstal, 2014. "For those about to talk we salute you: an experimental study of credible deviations and ACDC," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 17(2), pages 173-199, June.
    19. Serra Garcia, M. & van Damme, E.E.C. & Potters, J.J.M., 2011. "Lying About What you Know or About What you Do? (replaces CentER DP 2010-033)," Discussion Paper 2011-139, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    20. Tobias Regner & Gerhard Riener, 2011. "Motivational Cherry Picking," Jena Economic Research Papers 2011-029, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Costs of lying; electoral competition; laboratory experiment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:zur:iewwpx:421. 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: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/seizhch.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Marita Kieser (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/seizhch.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.