Responsibility judgments in voting scenarios

Abstract

How do people assign responsibility for the outcome of an election? In previous work, we have shown that responsibility judgments in achievement contexts are affected by the probability that a person’s contribution is necessary, and by how close it was to being pivotal (Lagnado, Gerstenberg, & Zultan, 2013). Here we focus on responsibility judgments in voting scenarios. We varied the number of people in different voting committees, their political affiliations, the number of votes required for a policy to pass, which party supports the policy, and the pattern of votes (creating 170 different situations). As expected, we found that participants’ responsibility judgments increased the closer the voter was to being pivotal. Further, judgments increased the more unexpected a vote was. Voters were assigned more responsibility when they voted against the majority in the committee, and when they voted against their party affiliation.


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