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Exit Polls, Turnout, and Bandwagon Voting: Evidence from a Natural Experiment

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  • Rebecca B. Morton
  • Daniel Mueller
  • Lionel Page
  • Benno Torgler
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    Abstract

    We exploit a voting reform in France to estimate the causal eff ect of exit poll information on turnout and bandwagon voting. Before the change in legislation, individuals in some French overseas territories voted after the election result had already been made public via exit poll information from mainland France. We estimate that knowing the exit poll information decreases voter turnout by about 12 percentage points. Our study is the fi rst clean empirical design outside of the laboratory to demonstrate the e ffect of such knowledge on voter turnout. Furthermore, we fi nd that exit poll information signi ficantly increases bandwagon voting; that is, voters who choose to turn out are more likely to vote for the expected winner.

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    File URL: http://external-apps.qut.edu.au/business/documents/QuBEWorkingPapers/2013/FrenchVoting_MMPT_13.pdf
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    Paper provided by QUT Business School in its series QuBE Working Papers with number 008.

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    Date of creation: 14 Mar 2013
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    Handle: RePEc:qut:qubewp:wp008

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    Web page: http://www.qut.edu.au/research/research-projects/queensland-behavioural-economics-group-qube

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    1. Steven Callander, 2007. "Bandwagons and Momentum in Sequential Voting," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(3), pages 653-684.
    2. Angela A. Hung & Charles R. Plott, 2001. "Information Cascades: Replication and an Extension to Majority Rule and Conformity-Rewarding Institutions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1508-1520, December.
    3. Leslie E. Papke & Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 1993. "Econometric Methods for Fractional Response Variables with an Application to 401(k) Plan Participation Rates," NBER Technical Working Papers 0147, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Matsusaka, John G, 1995. " Explaining Voter Turnout Patterns: An Information Theory," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 84(1-2), pages 91-117, July.
    5. Battaglini, Marco, 2005. "Sequential voting with abstention," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 445-463, May.
    6. Jeffrey M Wooldridge, 2010. "Econometric Analysis of Cross Section and Panel Data," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 2, volume 1, number 0262232588, December.
    7. Gourieroux, Christian & Monfort, Alain & Trognon, Alain, 1984. "Pseudo Maximum Likelihood Methods: Theory," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 681-700, May.
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