The Institute for Mathematical Behavioral Sciences Colloquium Series presents

“Overconfidence in Political Behavior”
with Erik Snowberg, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences, California Institute of Technology

Thursday, February 6
4:00–5:00 p.m.
Social Science Plaza A, Room 2112

This talk covers, theoretically and empirically, the role of overconfidence in political behavior. The model of overconfidence in beliefs predicts that overconfidence leads to ideological extremeness, increased voter turnout, and increased strength of partisan identification. Moreover, the model makes many nuanced predictions about the patterns of ideology in society, and over a person's lifetime. These predictions are tested using unique data that measure the overconfidence, and standard political characteristics, of a nationwide sample of over 3,000 adults. The predictions, eight in total, find strong support in this data. In particular, we document that overconfidence is a substantively and statistically important predictor of ideological extremeness and voter turnout.

The paper is available online:, although it is currently under revision.

For further information, please contact Joanna Kerner, or 949-824-8651.

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