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A Behavioral Theory of Elections - Princeton Scholarship Online
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A Behavioral Theory of Elections

Jonathan Bendor, Daniel Diermeier, David A. Siegel, and Michael M. Ting


Most theories of elections assume that voters and political actors are fully rational. While these formulations produce many insights, they also generate anomalies—most famously, about turnout. The rise of behavioral economics has posed new challenges to the premise of rationality. This book provides a behavioral theory of elections based on the notion that all actors—politicians as well as voters—are only boundedly rational. The theory posits learning via trial and error: actions that surpass an actor’s aspiration level are more likely to be used in the future, while those that fall short are ... More

Keywords: elections, parties, turnout, rationality, behavioral theory, adaptation, voters, party competition, candidates, politicians

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2011 Print ISBN-13: 9780691135076
Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017 DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691135076.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Jonathan Bendor, author
Stanford University, Graduate School of Business

Daniel Diermeier, author

David A. Siegel, author
Florida State University