Working paper

Risk Aversion, Over-Confidence and Private Information as Determinants of Majority Thresholds

Giuseppe Marco Attanasi, Luca Corazzini, Nikolaos Georgantzis, and Francesco Passarelli


We study, both theoretically and experimentally, the relation between preferred majority thresholds and behavioral traits such as the degree of risk aversion and the subjective confidence on others preferences over the alternative to vote. The main theoretical findings are supported by experimental data. The majority threshold chosen by a subject is positively and significantly correlated with her degree of risk aversion while it is negatively and significantly associated to her confidence on others’ votes. Moreover, in a treatment in which each subject can privately observe the distribution of preferences over a sub-group of participants, we find that the quality of information crowds-out subject's confidence.


majority threshold; risk aversion; (over-)confidence;

JEL codes

  • D72: Political Processes: Rent-Seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
  • D81: Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
  • D91: Intertemporal Household Choice • Life Cycle Models and Saving
  • H11: Structure, Scope, and Performance of Government

See also

Published in

TSE Working Paper, n. 09-088, April 2010