Targeted Testing for Bias in Order Assignment, with an Application to Texas Election Ballots

30 Pages Posted: 19 Aug 2019

See all articles by Sheridan Grant

Sheridan Grant

University of Washington - Department of Statistics

Michael Perlman

University of Washington - Department of Statistics

Darren P. Grant

Sam Houston State University - College of Business Administration - Department of Economics and International Business

Date Written: August 12, 2019

Abstract

Statistical methods are developed for assessing the likelihood of prejudicial bias in agent-assigned permutations, such as the ordering of candidates on an election ballot. The null hypothesis of an unbiased order assignment is represented by several forms of probabilistic exchangeability of the random orderings, while bias is represented either by compatibility with an assumed ranking of the items with respect to a hypothesized preference criterion (PC) or by linear concordance with assumed scores of the items on a PC scale. A power analysis indicates the superiority of these methods to an neutral alternative when appropriate a priori information is available; their usefulness is affirmed in an application to the ordering of candidates on 2014 Texas Republican primary election ballots. Significant evidence of bias is found in three of the five races studied, a finding that does not obtain using currently available tests.

Keywords: ballot-order effect, primacy effect, bias, ordering, ranking, hypothesis testing

JEL Classification: C12, C49

Suggested Citation

Grant, Sheridan and Perlman, Michael and Grant, Darren P., Targeted Testing for Bias in Order Assignment, with an Application to Texas Election Ballots (August 12, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3436471 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3436471

Sheridan Grant

University of Washington - Department of Statistics ( email )

Seattle, WA
United States

Michael Perlman

University of Washington - Department of Statistics ( email )

Seattle, WA
United States

Darren P. Grant (Contact Author)

Sam Houston State University - College of Business Administration - Department of Economics and International Business ( email )

SHSU Box 2118
Huntsville, TX 77341-2118
United States
936-294-4324 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.shsu.edu/dpg006

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