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For shame! The effect of community cooperative context on the probability of voting

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  • Knack, Stephen
  • Kropf, Martha

Abstract

The question of why some people vote in American national elections and others do not has been the focus of a vast literature in social science. Numerous empirical regularities have been established, such that we now know "who votes" and who doesn't, in the sense that various demographic characteristics -- most notably education -- are strongly correlated with turnout (Wolfinger and Rosenstone 1980; Teixeira 1987, 1992). A consensus on "why", in the form of theories and evidence on the motives of individuals, has been slower to emerge. This study builds on previous work emphasizing the political relevance of civic norms prescribing social cooperation. In this analysis, we use a county-level variable -- mail-in census response rates -- to measure the strength of civic norms in counties represented in the 1992 American National Election Study (NES), finding that the likelihood of one’s voting increases with the county’s census response rate, controlling for the usual set of factors associated with turnout. We explore one information source by which people may learn about community expectations, the newspaper.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 27258.

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Date of creation: 1998
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Publication status: Published in Political Psychology 3.19(1998): pp. 585-600
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:27258

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Related research

Keywords: voting; elections; turnout; social norms;

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References

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  1. Knack, Stephen & Keefer, Philip, 1997. "Does Social Capital Have an Economic Payoff? A Cross-Country Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1251-88, November.
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Cited by:
  1. Coleman, Stephen, 2009. "Russian Election Reform and the Effect of Social Conformity on Voting and the Party System: 2007 and 2008," MPRA Paper 13087, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Kevin Denny & Patrick Orla Doyle, 2005. "Political Interest, Cognitive Ability and Personality - Determinants of Voter Turnout in Britain," Working Papers, School Of Economics, University College Dublin 200511, School Of Economics, University College Dublin.
  3. Isaksson, Ann-Sofie, 2010. "Political participation in Africa: Participatory inequalities and the role of resources," Working Papers in Economics, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics 462, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics, revised 01 Oct 2010.
  4. Isaksson, Ann-Sofie & Kotsadam, Andreas & Nerman, Måns, 2012. "The Gender Gap in African Political Participation: Individual and contextual determinants," Working Papers in Economics, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics 530, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  5. Coleman, Stephen, 2012. "Diffusion and Spatial Equilibrium of a Social Norm: Voting Participation in the United States, 1920-2008," MPRA Paper 43509, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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