To vote or to abstain? An experimental study or first past the poste and PR elections
AbstractWe examine through an experimental design how rational and non-rational considerations affect the decision to vote or to abstain in First Past the Post and PR elections. We show that in both types of elections, but particularly so under PR, a majority of subjects do not make the "right" decision, that is, they do not choose the option that is the most beneficial to them, given. We also demonstrate that a social norm such as sense of civic duty plays a bigger role, even in the lab, and particularly so in PR elections. We suggest that civic duty has a greater impact under PR because this electoral system has a more complicated formula, making it more difficult for voters to realize that their vote is unlikely to substantially affect the outcome of the election.
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Date of creation: 24 Aug 2011
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Experiments; Voting; First Past the Post; Proportional Representation; Civic Duty;
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2011-09-16 (All new papers)
- NEP-CDM-2011-09-16 (Collective Decision-Making)
- NEP-EVO-2011-09-16 (Evolutionary Economics)
- NEP-EXP-2011-09-16 (Experimental Economics)
- NEP-POL-2011-09-16 (Positive Political Economics)
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