The grass is not greener on the other side: the role of attention in voting behavior



Year of publication 2023
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source PUBLIC CHOICE
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Economics and Administration

Keywords Voting behavior; Attention; Preferential voting; Czech parliamentary elections
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Description A lack of information about electoral candidates leads to a ballot order effect that increases the chances of candidates in the top electoral list positions winning voters’ support. The ballot order effect is confounded by the effect of ranking and the effect of attention, which work in the same direction. We exploit a variation in ballot layout (the quasi-random location of the break between the first and second sides of the ballot) in the 2006, 2010, 2013, and 2017 Czech parliamentary open list proportional representation elections to disentangle these effects and identify the effect of attention. We show that being listed on the reverse side of the ballot paper decreases electoral support—measured by number of preferential votes received—by at least 40%. Focusing on preferential votes allows us to filter out the effect of political party preference.
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