(When and how) do voters try to manipulate?
We study strategic voting in a laboratory experiment using a Borda mechanism. We find that manipulation rates are surprisingly low, even for individuals who know that they possess superior information about the other agents’ preferences. Exploring possible explanations, we find that manipulation rates rise significantly if individuals are not only informed about the other agents’ preferences but also about their actual votes. This suggests that uncertainty plays a key role in understanding strategic behavior in elections. By contrast, distributional concerns, e.g., in the form of inequality aversion, are found to play a negligible role in our context.
KeywordsStrategic voting Manipulation Borda rule Mechanism design Laboratory experiment Satisficing Bounded rationality
JEL ClassificationD71 C91 D81 D63 D72
- Abbink, K., & Sadrieh, K. (1995). RATImage—Research assistance toolbox for computer-aided human behavior experiments. SFB discussion paper, B-325, University of Bonn. Google Scholar
- Abbink, K., & Sadrieh, K. (2008). The pleasure of being nasty. Mimeo. Google Scholar
- Asch, S. E. (1951). Effects of group pressure upon the modification and distortion of judgement. In H. Guetzkow (Ed.), Groups, leadership and men. Pittsburgh: Carnegie Press. Google Scholar
- Ben-Haim, Y. (2006). Info-gap decision theory: decisions under severe uncertainty, 2nd ed. London: Academic Press. Google Scholar
- Bolton, G. E., & Ockenfels, A. (2000). ERC: a theory of equity, reciprocity and competition. American Economic Review, 90, 269–299. Google Scholar
- Carpenter, J., Liati, A., & Vickery, B. (2006). They come to play: supply effects in an economic experiment. Mimeo. Google Scholar
- Corazzini, L., Kube, S., & Maréchal, M. A. (2007). Towards a behavioral public choice: Guilt-aversion and accountability in the lab. ISLA working paper 27. Google Scholar
- Dowding, K., & van Hees, M. (2007). In praise of manipulation. British Journal of Political Science, 38, 1–15. Google Scholar
- Regenwetter, M., Grofman, B., Marley, A. A. J., & Tsetlin, I. M. (2006). Behavioral social choice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Google Scholar
- Simon, H. A. (1959). Theories of decision-making in economics and behavioral science. American Economic Review, 49, 253–283. Google Scholar
- Weizsäcker, G. (2007). Do we follow others when we should? A simple test of rational expectations. Mimeo. Google Scholar