ICES Seminar in Experimental Economics and Game Theory

The effect of a "None of the above" ballot paper option on voting behavior and election outcomes

Friday, September 10, 2021 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
Online Location, Zoom Meeting

ICES Seminar in Experimental Economics and Game Theory

The ICES Seminar in Experimental Economics and Game Theory of the Fall 2021 semester will feature:

Ben Greiner

Vienna University

The effect of a "None of the above" ballot paper option on voting behavior and election outcomes

 

Please contact ICES Office Manager (sbahabib@gmu.edu) for Zoom link.

 

Abstract

We study how an explicit blank vote option “None of the above” (NOTA) on the ballot paper affects the behavior of voters and political candidates as well as election results. In a series of survey and laboratory experiments we identify a tradeoff regarding making NOTA an explicit voting option. On the one hand it can reduce the vote share of candidates who voters consider as protest candidates, who often come from the extremes of the political spectrum, making it less likely that such a protest candidate wins the election. On the other hand, anticipating the above effect, establishment candidates may care less about the electorate when NOTA is on the ballot. Evidence on voters’ reaction to NOTA comes from two online survey experiments conducted in the weeks preceding the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election and the 2016 Austrian run-off election for President. Participants were subjected to either the original ballot paper or to a ballot paper where we added a NOTA option. We investigate the dynamic response of politicians to the presence of NOTA in a laboratory experiment in which establishment candidate can decide between selfish and fair policy proposals and voters can choose between the establishment candidate and an inefficient protest option.

 

For more information about the Seminar Series, please visit the Seminar Schedule homepage.

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