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ICES Experimental Economics Brown Bag Lecture: “The Effect of Voting on Political Preferences”

February 9, 2023 @ 11:00 am 12:00 pm

Siyu Wang has been invited to give a talk on a new paper, “The Effect of Voting on Political Preferences” at George Mason University’s Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science’s Experimental Economics Brown Bag Lecture.

The Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science (ICES) at George Mason University is a research center and laboratory affiliated with the Antonin Scalia Law SchoolSchool of BusinessDepartment of Economics in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and the Mercatus Center. ICES was founded in 2001 by Vernon Smith (2002 Nobel Laureate in Economics), and it has been directed by Daniel Houser since 2009.

ICES brings together researchers and students interested in using the methods of experimental economics to answer research questions from a variety of fields. Using both laboratory and field experiments, research at ICES has been conducted in such areas as public choice, development, bargaining, neuroscience, and economic systems design (ESD).

About the paper:

In this paper, we investigate how voting behavior and electoral outcomes impact voters’ evaluations of politicians. Using 2000-2020 data from the American National Election Studies (ANES), we find that voters favor their supported winning candidates more after the election than before. Estimates show that winning the election leads to a seven percent increase in feeling thermometer ratings of the candidates. This effect is strong and persistent in every election since 2000. Using a laboratory experiment, we want to identify the role of following hypotheses in explaining this effect. First, chosen preference theory predicts that the act of voting could lead to a more favorable opinion of the supported candidate in the future in order to resolve internal dissonance. Second, we apply motivated belief in the context of voting. Winning an election is interpreted by voters as evidence that confirms the correctness of their vote. However, losing an election is not calculated as evidence against this. Finally, stronger echo chambers may form among friends and religious groups after their supported candidate wins.


The Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science


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