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Seminar

The effect of a 'None of the above' ballot paper option on voting behavior and election outcomes


  • Series
  • Speaker(s)
    Ben Greiner (WU Vienna, Austria)
  • Field
    Behavioral Economics
  • Location
    University of Amsterdam, E. 0.09
    Amsterdam
  • Date and time

    December 08, 2022
    16:00 - 17:15

Abstract
We study how an explicit blank vote option "None of the above" (NOTA) on the ballot paper affects the behavior of voters and political candidates as well as election results. In a series of survey and laboratory experiments we identify a tradeoff regarding making NOTA an explicit voting option. On the one hand it can reduce the vote share of candidates who voters consider as protest candidates, who often come from the extremes of the political spectrum, making it less likely that such a protest candidate wins the election. On the other hand, anticipating the above effect, establishment candidates may care less about the electorate when NOTA is on the ballot. Evidence on voters' reaction to NOTA comes from two online survey experiments conducted in the weeks preceding the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election and the 2016 Austrian run-off election for President. Participants were subjected to either the original ballot paper or to a ballot paper where we added a NOTA option. We investigate the dynamic response of politicians to the presence of NOTA in a laboratory experiment in which an establishment candidate can decide between selfish and fair policy proposals and voters can choose between the establishment candidate and an inefficient protest option.

Link to paper: https://epub.wu.ac.at/7522/