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Preference Reversal in "Election"

by Charity-Joy Acchiardo

In the clip from the 1999 film “Election”, a hotly contested high school election showcases a dramatic swing in student-body opinions. A contestant quickly turns the audience around when she says she does not care about the election. She asks them to vote for her because “The only promise I will make is that if elected I will immediately dismantle the student government, so that none of us ever has to sit through one of these boring assemblies again”. As the audience cheers, she then states “Or don't vote for me, who cares?” Once again, the students cheer wildly even though it is the exact opposite of what they were cheering for seconds earlier. A preference reversal is the situation in which preferences for bundles are shifted after the options are juxtaposed. Underlying standard economic theory is the axiom that if bundle A is strictly preferred to bundle B, and the two bundles are not the same, then it cannot be true that bundle B is directly revealed preferred to bundle A. Yet, in this case the same students cheer both for the prospect of voting for the student and for not voting for her.

Preference Reversal in "Election"

A hotly contested high school election showcases a dramatic swing in student-body opinions. A preference reversal is the situation in which preferences for bundles are shifted after the options are juxtaposed.

from Election (1999)
Creator: Alexander Payne
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Posted by Charity-Joy Acchiardo
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