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Turnout Intention and Social Networks

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Author Info

  • Fosco, Constanza
  • Laruelle, Annick
  • Sánchez, Angel

Abstract

How can networking affect the turnout in an election? We present a simple model to explain turnout as a result of a dynamic process of formation of the intention to vote within Erdös-Renyi random networks. Citizens have fixed preferences for one of two parties and are embedded in a given social network. They decide whether or not to vote on the basis of the attitude of their immediate contacts. They may simply follow the behavior of the majority (followers) or make an adaptive local calculus of voting (Downsian behavior). So they either have the intention of voting when the majority of their neighbors are willing to vote too, or they vote when they perceive in their social neighborhood that elections are "close". We study the long run average turnout, interpreted as the actual turnout observed in an election. Depending on the combination of values of the two key parameters, the average connectivity and the probability of behaving as a follower or in a Downsian fashion, the system exhibits monostability (zero turnout), bistability (zero turnout and either moderate or high turnout) or tristability (zero, moderate and high turnout). This means, in particular, that for a wide range of values of both parameters, we obtain realistic turnout rates, i.e. between 50% and 90%.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Universidad del País Vasco - Departamento de Fundamentos del Análisis Económico I in its series IKERLANAK with number 2009-34.

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Date of creation: Jun 2009
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Handle: RePEc:ehu:ikerla:200934

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Postal: Dpto. de Fundamentos del Análisis Económico I, Facultad de CC. Económicas y Empresariales, Universidad del País Vasco, Avda. Lehendakari Aguirre 83, 48015 Bilbao, Spain
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Related research

Keywords: turnout; social networks; adaptative behavior;

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References

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  1. Matsusaka, John G, 1995. " Explaining Voter Turnout Patterns: An Information Theory," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 84(1-2), pages 91-117, July.
  2. Barry Nalebuff & Ron Shachar, 1999. "Follow the Leader: Theory and Evidence on Political Participation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 525-547, June.
  3. Matsusaka, John G & Palda, Filip, 1993. " The Downsian Voter Meets the Ecological Fallacy," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 77(4), pages 855-78, December.
  4. Matsusaka, John G, 1993. " Election Closeness and Voter Turnout: Evidence from California Ballot Propositions," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 76(4), pages 313-34, August.
  5. João Amaro de Matos & Pedro Barros, 2004. "Social Norms and the Paradox of Elections’ Turnout," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 121(1), pages 239-255, October.
  6. Blais, Andre & Young, Robert, 1999. " Why Do People Vote? An Experiment in Rationality," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 99(1-2), pages 39-55, April.
  7. Timothy J. Feddersen, 2004. "Rational Choice Theory and the Paradox of Not Voting," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 99-112, Winter.
  8. Benny Geys, 2006. "'Rational' Theories of Voter Turnout: A Review," Political Studies Review, Political Studies Association, vol. 4(1), pages 16-35.
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Cited by:
  1. Coleman, Stephen, 2010. "The spatial diffusion of social conformity: the case of voting participation," MPRA Paper 23057, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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