Overconfidence in Political Behavior

Published on Feb 1, 2015in The American Economic Review
· DOI :10.1257/AER.20130921
Pietro Ortoleva12
Estimated H-index: 12
(Columbia University),
Erik Snowberg21
Estimated H-index: 21
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 stronger partisan identification. The model also makes nuanced predictions about the patterns of ideology in society. 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 numerous predictions find strong support in these data. In particular, we document that overconfidence is a substantively and statistically important predictor of ideological extremeness, voter turnout, and partisan identification. (JEL C83, D03, D72, D83)
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