Bounded Rationality and Voting Decisions Exploring a 160-Year Period

34 Pages Posted: 1 Sep 2012

See all articles by David Stadelmann

David Stadelmann

University of Bayreuth - Faculty of Law, Business and Economics; CREMA

Benno Torgler

Queensland University of Technology; CREMA; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: August 30, 2012

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.

Keywords: bounded rationality, voting, referenda attention, rules of thumb

JEL Classification: D030, D720, D830, H700

Suggested Citation

Stadelmann, David and Torgler, Benno, Bounded Rationality and Voting Decisions Exploring a 160-Year Period (August 30, 2012). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 3907. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2138808

David Stadelmann

University of Bayreuth - Faculty of Law, Business and Economics ( email )

Universitätsstraße 30
Bayreuth, 95447
Germany

CREMA ( email )

Gellertstrasse 18
Basel
Zurich, CH 8006
Switzerland

Benno Torgler (Contact Author)

Queensland University of Technology ( email )

GPO Box 2434
2 George Street
Brisbane, Queensland 4001
Australia

CREMA

Gellertstrasse 18
Basel
Zurich, CH 8006
Switzerland

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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