Diffusion and Spatial Equilibrium of a Social Norm: Voting Participation in the United States, 1920-2008
AbstractSocial conformity can spread social norms and behaviors through a society. This research examines such a process geographically and over time for voting, which is strongly influenced by the norm that citizens should vote. A mathematical model for the spread of voting participation under the influence of social conformity is developed based on the diffusion equation, and predictions are tested with spatial analysis of state-level voter turnout in American presidential elections from 1920 to 2008. Results show that voter turnout has converged to a stable equilibrium in its geographical distribution across the states—but it is an equilibrium that results in persistent differences at the state level. Turnout increases about one percentage point with each degree of latitude.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 43509.
Date of creation: 31 Dec 2012
Date of revision:
social norm; voter turnout; social conformity; spatial model; equilibrium; diffusion;
Other versions of this item:
- Stephen Coleman, 2014. "Diffusion and spatial equilibrium of a social norm: voting participation in the United States, 1920–2008," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 48(3), pages 1769-1783, May.
- C02 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - General - - - Mathematical Economics
- D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
- Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Social and Economic Stratification
- C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2013-01-12 (All new papers)
- NEP-CDM-2013-01-12 (Collective Decision-Making)
- NEP-POL-2013-01-12 (Positive Political Economics)
- NEP-SOC-2013-01-12 (Social Norms & Social Capital)
- NEP-URE-2013-01-12 (Urban & Real Estate Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Brock,W.A. & Durlauf,S.N., 2000.
"Discrete choice with social interactions,"
7, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
- Knack, Stephen & Kropf, Martha, 1998. "For shame! The effect of community cooperative context on the probability of voting," MPRA Paper 27258, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Young, H.P., 1999. "Diffusion in Social Networks," Papers 2, Brookings Institution - Working Papers.
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