Pivotality and Responsibility Attribution in Sequential Voting

Journal of Public Economics, Forthcoming

University of Zurich Department of Economics Working Paper No. 138

57 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2014 Last revised: 5 May 2015

See all articles by Björn Bartling

Björn Bartling

University of Zurich - Department of Economics; Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Urs Fischbacher

University of Konstanz - Faculty of Economics and Statistics

Simeon Schudy

University of Munich (LMU)

Date Written: April 17, 2015

Abstract

This paper analyzes responsibility attributions for outcomes of collective decision making processes. In particular, we ask if decision makers are blamed for being pivotal if they implement an unpopular outcome in a sequential voting process. We conduct an experimental voting game in which decision makers vote about the allocation of money between themselves and recipients without voting rights. We measure responsibility attributions for voting decisions by eliciting the monetary punishment that recipients assign to individual decision makers. We find that pivotal decision makers are punished significantly more for an unpopular voting outcome than non-pivotal decision makers. Our data also suggest that some voters avoid being pivotal by voting strategically in order to delegate the pivotal vote to subsequent decision makers.

Keywords: Collective decision making, responsibility attribution, voting, pivotality, delegation, experiment

JEL Classification: C91, C92, D63, D71, D72

Suggested Citation

Bartling, Björn and Fischbacher, Urs and Schudy, Simeon, Pivotality and Responsibility Attribution in Sequential Voting (April 17, 2015). Journal of Public Economics, Forthcoming, University of Zurich Department of Economics Working Paper No. 138, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2387656 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2387656

Björn Bartling (Contact Author)

University of Zurich - Department of Economics ( email )

Zuerich, 8006
Switzerland

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Economics ( email )

Helleveien 30
N-5035 Bergen
Norway

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

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Urs Fischbacher

University of Konstanz - Faculty of Economics and Statistics ( email )

Universitaetsstr. 10
78457 Konstanz
Germany

Simeon Schudy

University of Munich (LMU) ( email )

Ludwigstrasse 28
Munich, D-80539
Germany
+49 89 2180 9786 (Phone)

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