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Civic norms, social sanctions and voting turnout

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  • Knack, Stephen

Abstract

This study views voter participation as a collective action problem overcome chiefly by means of "solidary" and "purposive" selective incentives. It is argued that these incentives are primarily in the form of civic or societal norms, rather than special interest norms associated with partisan or group loyalties. The emphasis on civic norms is supported by positive correlations between turnout and other socially cooperative behaviors such as responding to the census, participating in PTA's, and giving to charities. Data on interpersonal pressures to vote are found to support the hypothesis that "enforcement" of voting norms via social sanctions significantly enhances turnout. The American turnout decline is interpreted in terms of a weakening of social ties adversely affecting the socialization and enforcement of norms responsible for generating civic participation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 28080.

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Date of creation: 1992
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Publication status: Published in Rationality and Society 2.4(1992): pp. 133-156
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:28080

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Related research

Keywords: voting; elections; collective action; social sanctions; free riding;

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References

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  1. Chapman, Randall G & Palda, Kristian S, 1983. " Electoral Turnout in Rational Voting and Consumption Perspectives," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(4), pages 337-46, March.
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Cited by:
  1. Stocké, Volker & Stark, Tobias, 2005. "Stichprobenverzerrung durch Item-Nonresponse in der international vergleichenden Politikwissenschaft," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 05-43, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
  2. Katharine G. Abraham & Sara E. Helms & Stanley Presser, 2008. "How Social Processes Distort Measurement: The Impact of Survey Nonresponse on Estimates of Volunteer Work," NBER Working Papers 14076, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Stephen Knack, 2000. "Deterring Voter Registration Through Juror Selection Practices: Evidence from Survey Data," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 103(1), pages 49-62, April.

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