(Ir)rational Voters?

Research output: Working paper

Abstract

Social scientists have long speculated about the extent of individuals' rationality, especially in the context of voting. However, existing attempts at classifying voters as (ir)rational have been hampered by the fact that optimal strategies are generally unobserved. Exploiting the incentive structure of Germany's electoral system to derive consistency properties that voters' choices ought to satisfy, this paper develops a novel set of empirical tests in order to pit the canonical rational choice model against behavioral theories according to which individuals simply choose their most preferred candidate. The results indicate that neither approach can explain the most-salient features of the data. The findings are consistent, however, with a hybrid model in which boundedly rational voters are subject to a \sincerity bias."
Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages63
StatePublished - Oct 2015

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