Individual Behavior Under Evaluative Voting: A Comparison Between Laboratory and In Situ Experiments
This chapter compares two experimental methodologies for studying how individual voting behavior changes with respect to the choice of voting rule. We concentrate on different versions of Evaluative Voting. The results are based on two types of experimental protocol: a classical laboratory experiment with monetarily-induced preferences, and an in situ experiment run in parallel with the 2012 French presidential election. In the laboratory, individuals use the different rating scales in similar ways; but this is not the case in situ. The difference may be due to the different ways subjects interpret the proposed scales (in particular negative grades) when they concern real candidates. Finally, the chapter discusses what each method can teach us about voter behavior. Notably, we highlight behavior that is in contradiction with the tenets of strict rationality. This phenomenon, which is very widely observed in situ, and where it may be explained by a motive to express oneself, is also observed in the lab, where it is still to be explained.
KeywordsVoting Field Experiment In Situ Experiment Laboratory Experiment Evaluative Voting Approval Voting Strategic Behavior
We warmly thank all those who contributed to our experiments. For the in situ experiment, see http://www.gate.cnrs.fr/spip.php?article580#Merci. For the lab experiment, we especially thank E. Priour and the LABEX in Rennes, and K. Boun My and the LEES in Strasbourg. This chapter was first presented at the Montreal Voting Experiment Workshop held in March 2014; we are grateful to the project Making Electoral Democracy Work for their invitation and to the participants of the workshop for their comments. As regards funding, we thank the CREM, Chaire CNRS & UJM “Welfare economics” as well as the Foundation of the University of Strasbourg.
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