Publication details

Fast, frugal and correct? An experimental study on the influence of time scarcity and quantity of information on the voter decision making process



Year of publication 2018
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Public Choice
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Social Studies

Web článek
Keywords Decision making; Political information; Correct vote; Heuristics; Issue voting
Attached files
Description Classical theories of political representation claim that high levels of political knowledge and awareness across the electorate are crucial for a well-functioning democracy. In real life, though, the actual amount of political information possessed by voters is small and unevenly distributed. In addition, electoral decision making is complex and often characterized by severe time pressure. This study therefore experimentally tests the theoretical framework of “fast and frugal” voters and the “less-is-more effect” (Gigerenzer and Goldstein in Psychol Rev 103(4):650–669, 1996), which expects that in some instances low levels of political knowledge may actually result in equally good or even better outcomes than in the case of well-informed decisions. It is hence assumed that employing specific cognitive shortcuts can help voters make good and quick decisions, even with a lack of information. We have used a laboratory experiment to create an environment characterized by severe time pressure that allowed for only shallow information search and limited comparisons across alternatives. Subjects were able to base their decisions only on a small number of criteria operationalized by candidates’ positions on current political issues with various levels of perceived salience. Voters appear to simplify decision making by focusing mainly on those policy attitudes they consider important. Consequently, it seems that shifting the decision-making strategy from accuracy to efficiency has no effect on the final outcome.
Related projects:

You are running an old browser version. We recommend updating your browser to its latest version.

More info