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Overconfidence in Political Behavior

Pietro Ortoleva and Erik Snowberg

No 19250, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: This paper studies, theoretically and empirically, the role of overconfidence in political behavior. Our model of overconfidence in beliefs predicts that overconfidence leads to ideological extremeness, increased voter turnout, and increased strength of partisan identification. Moreover, the model makes many nuanced predictions about the patterns of ideology in society, and over a person's lifetime. These predictions are tested using unique data that measure the overconfidence, and standard political characteristics, of a nationwide sample of over 3,000 adults. Our predictions, eight in total, find strong support in this data. In particular, we document that overconfidence is a substantively and statistically important predictor of ideological extremeness and voter turnout.

JEL-codes: C83 D03 D72 D83 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2013-07
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cdm, nep-for and nep-pol
Note: POL
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Published as Pietro Ortoleva & Erik Snowberg, 2015. "Overconfidence in Political Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(2), pages 504-35, February.

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