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DECEPTION AND POLITICAL PARTICIPATION: THEORY AND LABORATORY EVIDENCE

Daniel Houser (), Sandra Ludwig and Thomas Stratmann ()

Economic Inquiry, 2016, vol. 54, issue 1, 464-484

Abstract: type="main" xml:id="ecin12236-abs-0001"> 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 C92, D72, D82)

Date: 2016
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