American Politics & Public Policy Workshop: Erik Snowberg, California Institute of Technology
“Overconfidence in Political Behavior: Results and New Directions”
Guest Speaker: Erik Snowberg, Professor of Economics and Political Science, California Institute of Technology
Abstract: 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.
Erik Snowberg has broad research interests. In one area of focus, he uses economic theory to design better experiments for field trials in development and medicine. In another, he brings insights from behavioral psychology and economics to the study of political institutions, behavior, and trends. He is also an expert on using prediction markets to understand and hedge against political risk. Since 2011, Snowberg has been a Faculty Research Fellow in the Political Economy Group for the National Bureau of Economic Research.
This event is cosponsored with the Leitner Political Economy Seminar.