Deception and Political Participation: Theory and Laboratory Evidence

21 Pages Posted: 27 Nov 2015

See all articles by Daniel Houser

Daniel Houser

George Mason University - Department of Economics; Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science

Sandra Ludwig

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU)

Thomas Stratmann

George Mason University - Buchanan Center Political Economy; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: January 2016

Abstract

We model two‐candidate elections in which (1) voters are uncertain about candidates' attributes; and (2) candidates can inform voters of their attributes by sending advertisements. We compare between political campaigns with truthful advertising and campaigns in which there is a small chance of deceptive advertising. Our model predicts that voters should vote in‐line with an advertisement's information. We test our model's predictions using laboratory elections. We find, in the presence of even a small probability that an advertisement is deceptive, voters become substantially more likely to elect a “low‐quality” candidate. We discuss implications of this for existing models of voting decisions.

JEL Classification: C92, D72, D82

Suggested Citation

Houser, Daniel and Ludwig, Sandra and Stratmann, Thomas, Deception and Political Participation: Theory and Laboratory Evidence (January 2016). Economic Inquiry, Vol. 54, Issue 1, pp. 464-484, 2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2695904 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ecin.12236

Daniel Houser (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

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Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science ( email )

5th Floor, Vernon Smith Hall
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Sandra Ludwig

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU) ( email )

Ulm University
Helmholtzstrasse 18
Ulm, Baden-Württemberg 89081
Germany

Thomas Stratmann

George Mason University - Buchanan Center Political Economy ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States
703-993-2330 (Phone)

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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