Armando N. Meier



Working Papers

“Rain, Emotions and Voting for the Status Quo.” Jan., 2018. Former version: IZA Discussion Paper No. 10350. (with Lukas Schmid and Alois Stutzer)

Do emotions affect the decision between change and the status quo? We exploit exogenous variation in emotions caused by rain and analyze data on more than 870,000 municipal vote outcomes in Switzerland to address this question. The empirical tests are based on administrative ballot outcomes and individual postvote survey data. We find that rain decreases the share of votes for political change. Our robustness checks suggest that changes in the composition of the electorate or changes in information acquisition do not drive this result. In addition, we provide evidence that rain might have altered the outcome of several high-stake votes. We discuss the psychological mechanism and document that rain reduces the willingness to take risks, a pattern that is consistent with the observed reduction in the support of change.

Press: Neue Luzerner Zeitung, Watson, St. Galler Tagblatt

“Early Releases and Recidivism.” (with Jonathan Levav and Stephan Meier)
“Causal Inference from Big Data as a Valuable Complement to Large-scale Clinical Trials.”
(with Jihong Song, Devin Pope, and Ziad Obermeyer)
“Overstrained Citizens?” (with Alois Stutzer and Michael Baltensperger)


Work in Progress

“Minimum Purchase Age Laws and Smoking Behavior.” (with Reto Odermatt and Alois Stutzer)
“Emotions and Preferences.”



“Limited Self–Control, Obesity and the Loss of Happiness.” Health Economics 25(11), 2016. (with Alois Stutzer)

Is obesity the consequence of an optimally chosen lifestyle or do people consume too much relative to their long-term preferences? The latter perspective accepts that people might face self-control problems when exposed to the immediate gratification from food. We exploit unique survey data for Switzerland in multinomial logit and ordered probit regressions to study (i) the covariates of obesity including indicators of self-control and (ii) the consequences of obesity on the subjective well-being of people with limited willpower. Our main finding is that obesity decreases the well-being of individuals who report having limited self-control, but not otherwise.