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Rational Models of Political Behavior: The Effects of Opinion, Information, and Procedures


Llewellyn, Morgan Hunt (2009) Rational Models of Political Behavior: The Effects of Opinion, Information, and Procedures. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/2ZN6-FX30.


In order to recommend policies that promote representative government, political scientists and politicians must understand how changes to the current political environment affect political behavior. This dissertation analyzes how both opinion and policies affect political behavior in the context of voting, campaign competition, and committees. Rational models of political behavior are used to formulate hypotheses of political behavior and action. Testing models of political behavior the author employs a wealth of methodological knowledge and expertise in national surveys, survey experiments, laboratory experiments, computer simulations, and regression analysis. Results indicate that rational models of political behavior can be used to develop accurate hypotheses of political behavior. The conclusion of the second and third chapters is that voter opinions about the integrity of the election process are significantly affected by decisions at the election administration level and the outcome of elections. In laboratory experiments involving multimember committees results show that committee procedures similar to Roberts' Rules of Order reveal information held by biased, privately informed experts. Additionally, information aggregation is higher in multimember committees with heterogeneous preferences when committee procedures allow for the formation of an expert's reputation. The fifth chapter presents empirical results that suggest individual campaign contributions are positively and significantly affected by a candidate's association with specific types of social organizations. Finally, the sixth chapter presents results that show back-loaded primary calendars are more likely to lead to greater interparty competition and more extreme general election candidates.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:candidates; confidence; contributions; voting
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Humanities and Social Sciences
Major Option:Social Science
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Alvarez, R. Michael
Thesis Committee:
  • Alvarez, R. Michael (chair)
  • Katz, Jonathan N.
  • Sherman, Robert P.
  • Kiewiet, D. Roderick
Defense Date:14 May 2009
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-05292009-103427
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:2270
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:02 Jun 2009
Last Modified:04 Jun 2024 21:41

Thesis Files

PDF (Llewellyn_dissertation_final.pdf) - Final Version
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