ICES Experimental Economics Brown Bag Lecture

The Effect of Voting on Political Preferences

Thursday, February 9, 2023 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM EST
Vernon Smith Hall (formerly Metropolitan Building), Room 5075

The Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science (ICES) presents an ICES Brown Bag Lecture featuring:

Siyu Wang

Wichita State University

The Effect of Voting on Political Preferences





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.


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