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Published May 2005 | Published
Journal Article Open

An explanation of anomalous behavior in models of political participation


This paper characterizes behavior with "noisy" decision making for models of political interaction characterized by simultaneous binary decisions. Applications include: voting participation games, candidate entry, the volunteer's dilemma, and collective action problems with a contribution threshold. A simple graphical device is used to derive comparative statics and other theoretical properties of a "quantal response" equilibrium, and the resulting predictions are compared with Nash equilibria that arise in the limiting case of no noise. Many anomalous data patterns in laboratory experiments based on these games can be explained in this manner.

Additional Information

© 2005 by the American Political Science Association. We gratefully acknowledge financial support from the National Science Foundation (SBR-0094800), the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Bankard Fund at the University of Virginia, and the Dutch National Science Foundation (VICI 453.03.606). This paper benefited from comments provided by three anonymous referees, Rebecca Morton, Howard Rosenthal, and participants at the quantal response workshop at Caltech and the politics seminar at NYU.

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