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Referenda outcomes and the influence of polls: a social network feedback process

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  • Ariel Guerreiro
  • Joao Amaro de Matos

Abstract

This paper proposes a model to explain the differences between outcomes of referenda and the voting trends suggested by polls. Two main effects are at stake. First, the evolution of the voters' attitudes is conditional on the public information made available to them. Second, the predisposition toward abstention among individuals within each voting group may be different. Our model describes how these two aspects of decision making may interact, showing how publicly available information may amplify the distinct tendency toward abstention between both groups and thus affect the outcome of the referendum. JEL codes:

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File URL: http://fesrvsd.fe.unl.pt/WPFEUNL/WP2013/Wp578.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Faculdade de Economia in its series FEUNL Working Paper Series with number wp578.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:unl:unlfep:wp578

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  1. Herrera, Helios & Martinelli, Cesar, 2006. "Group formation and voter participation," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 1(4), pages 461-487, December.
  2. Timothy J. Feddersen, 2004. "Rational Choice Theory and the Paradox of Not Voting," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 99-112, Winter.
  3. Barry Nalebuff & Ron Shachar, 1999. "Follow the Leader: Theory and Evidence on Political Participation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 525-547, June.
  4. Schram, Arthur & Sonnemans, Joep, 1996. "Why people vote: Experimental evidence," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 417-442, August.
  5. Stephen Coate & Michael Conlin, 2004. "A Group Rule–Utilitarian Approach to Voter Turnout: Theory and Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1476-1504, December.
  6. Benny Geys, 2006. "'Rational' Theories of Voter Turnout: A Review," Political Studies Review, Political Studies Association, Political Studies Association, vol. 4(1), pages 16-35.
  7. Brian Knight & Nathan Schiff, 2007. "Momentum and Social Learning in Presidential Primaries," NBER Working Papers 13637, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Sanjog Misra, 2005. "Generalized Reverse Discrete Choice Models," Quantitative Marketing and Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 3(2), pages 175-200, June.
  9. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135.
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