Dr. BK Song, Making Sense of Heuristics Choice in Nonpartisan Elections: Evidence from South

  • Title: Making Sense of Heuristics Choice in Nonpartisan Elections: Evidence from South Korea
  • Date: Friday, Mar 10, 2023
  • Time: 3:30-5:00PM (PST)
  • Location: Choi 351, C.K. Choi Building
  • Speaker: Dr. BK Song (Associate professor at Sogang University)
  • Bio: B. K. Song is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Sogang University and a Visiting Associate Professor in the Wallis Institute of Political Economy at University of Rochester. His research interests include political economy, elections, and media politics. He has published articles in British Journal of Political Science, Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Journal of Politics, and Quarterly Journal of Political Science, among others.
  • Abstract: Heuristics are used to compensate for the limitations of human cognitive capacities. However, little is known of how voters decide what cue to use in cases where multiple cues are available. Exploiting the institutional features of elections for the nonpartisan position of superintendent of education in South Korea, we demonstrate that voters may choose an “ecologically rational” heuristic in a given context, taking into account the trade-off between the cognitive costs and the accuracy of inference associated with different cues. Our analysis shows that the three cues are commonly used in the absence of party labels, and their relative importance varies with electoral context. In areas with large school-age populations and in races without an incumbent, contexts where the demand for information is conceivably high, the importance of the partisan color cue becomes greater. We also provide suggestive evidence that politically interested voters are less likely to be fooled by the misleading ballot position cue and more likely to be affected by the signals that actually carry information on candidates’ partisanship: partisan color and ideology.