Skip to main content
×
Home

Status Quo Bias in Ballot Wording

  • Michael Barber (a1), David Gordon (a2), Ryan Hill (a3) and Joseph Price (a4)
Abstract
Abstract

We examine the role of status quo bias in the ballot wording of social issues that affect the rights of minority groups. We test the salience of this framing bias by conducting an experiment that randomly assigns different ballot wordings for five policies across survey respondents. We find that status quo bias changes the percent of individuals who vote for the ballot measure by 5–8 percentage points with the least informed individuals being the most affected by status quo bias.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Status Quo Bias in Ballot Wording
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Status Quo Bias in Ballot Wording
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Status Quo Bias in Ballot Wording
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
References
Hide All
Amir On, Ariely Dan, Cooke Alan, Dunning David, Epley Nicholas, Gneezy Uri, Koszegi Botond, Lichtenstein Donald, Mazar Nina, Mullainathan Sedhil, Prelec Drazen, Shafir Eldar, and Silva Jose. 2005. “Psychology, Behavioral Economics, and Public Policy.” Marketing Letters 16 (3–4): 443–54.
Barber Michael, Mann Christopher, Quin Monson J., and Patterson Kelly. 2014. “Online Polls and Registration Based Sampling: A New Method for Pre-Election Polling.” Political Analysis 22 (3): 321–35.
Berinsky Adam J., Huber Gregory A., and Lenz Gabriel S.. 2012. “Evaluating Online Labor Markets for Experimental Research: Amazon.com's Mechanical Turk.” Political Analysis 20 (3): 351–68.
Chong Dennis and Druckman James, N.. 2007. “A Theory of Framing and Opinion Formation in Competitive Elite Environments.” Journal of Communication 57 (1): 99118.
Christin Thomas, Hug Simon, and Pascal Sciarini. 2002. “Interests and Information in Referendum Voting: An Analysis of Swiss Voters.” European Journal of Political Research 41 (6): 759–76.
Eidelman Scott and Crandall Christian S.. 2009. “A Psychological Advantage for the Status Quo.” Jost John T., Kay Aaron C. and Thorisdottir Hulda. Social and Psychological bases of Ideology and System Justification. Oxford University Press, 85106.
Fernandez Raquel and Rodrik Dani. 1991. “Resistance to Reform: Status Quo Bias in the Presence of Individual-Specific Uncertainty.” The American Economic Review 81 (5): 1146–55.
Grose Christian, Malhotra Neil, Parks Robert, and Houweling Van. 2015. “Explaining Explanations: How Legislators Explain their Policy Positions and How Citizens React.” American Journal of Political Science 59 (3): 724–43.
Hartman Raymond S., Doane Michael J., and Woo Shi-Keung. 1991. “Consumer Rationality and the Status Quo.” The Quarterly Journal of Economics 106 (1): 141–62.
Hershey John, Johnson Eric, Meszaros Jacqueline, and Robinson Matthew. 1990. “What is the Right to Sue Worth?. Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.
Hobolt Sara Binzer. 2009. “Framing Effects in Referendums on European Integration: Experimental Evidence.” Europe in Question: Referendums on European Integration. Oxford University Press, 110–32.
Johnson Eric and Goldstein Daniel. 2003. “Do Defaults Save Lives?.” Science 302 (5649): 1338–39.
Kahneman Daniel, Knetsch Jack L., and Thaler Richard H.. 1991. “Anomalies: The Endowment Effect, Loss Aversion, and Status Quo Bias.” The Journal of Economic Perspectives 5 (1): 193206.
Kimball David C. and Kropf Martha. 2005. “Ballot Design and Unrecorded Votes on Paper-Based Ballots.” Public Opinion Quarterly 69 (4): 508–29.
List John A. 2004. “Neoclassical Rheory Versus Prospect Theory: Evidence from the Marketplace.” Econometrica 72 (2): 615–25.
Mason Winter and Watts Duncan J.. 2010. “Financial Incentives and the Performance of Crowds.” ACM SigKDD Explorations Newsletter 11 (2): 100–08.
Oppenheimer Adam J., Pannucci Christopher J., Kasten Steven J., and Haase Steven C.. 2011. “Survey Says? A Primer on Web-Based Survey Design and Distribution.” Plastic and Reconstructive surgery 128 (1): 299.
Paolacci Gabriele, Chandler Jesse, and Ipeirotis Panagiotis. 2010. “Running experiments on Amazon Mechanical Turk.” Judgment and Decision Making 5 (5): 411–9.
Quattrone George A. and Tversky Amos. 1988. “Contrasting Rational and Psychological Analyses of Political Choice.” The American Political Science Review 82 (3): 719–36.
Reilly Shauna and Richey Sean. 2009. “Ballot Question Readability and Roll-Off: The Impact of Language Complexity.” Political Research Quarterly 64 (1): 5967.
Reilly Shauna and Zimmerman Jeffrey Mark. 2016. “Linguistic accommodations and electoral participation.” Language Problems and Language Planning 40 (3): 250–68.
Samuelson William and Zeckhauser Richard. 1988. “Status Quo Bias in Decision Making.” Journal of Risk and Uncertainty 1 (1): 759.
Schuldt Jonathon, Konrath Sara, and Schwarz Norbert. 2011. ““Global Warming” or “Climate Change”? Whether the Planet is Warming Depends on Question Wording.” Public Opinion Quarterly 73 (1): 115–24.
Thaler Richard H. and Benartzi Shlomo. 2004. “Save More Tomorrow™: Using Behavioral Economics to Increase Employee Saving.” Journal of Political Economy 112 (1): 164–87.
Tomz Michael and Weeks Jessica. 2013. “Public Opinion and the Democratic Peace.” The American Political Science Review 107 (4): 849–65.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of Experimental Political Science
  • ISSN: 2052-2630
  • EISSN: 2052-2649
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-experimental-political-science
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords:

Type Description Title
PDF
Supplementary Materials

Barber et al supplementary material
Online Appendix

 PDF (77 KB)
77 KB

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 4
Total number of PDF views: 13 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 63 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 10th November 2017 - 19th November 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.