Public Opinion Polls, Voter Turnout, and Welfare: An Experimental Study
AbstractWe experimentally study the impact of public opinion poll releases on voter turnout and welfare in a participation game. We find higher turnout rates when polls inform the electorate about the levels of support for various candidates than when polls are prohibited. Distinguishing between allied and floating voters, our data show that this increase in turnout is entirely due to floating voters. Very high turnout is observed when polls indicate equal support levels for the candidates. This has negative consequences for welfare. Though in aggregate social welfare is hardly affected, majorities benefit more often from polls than minorities. Finally, our comparative static results are better predicted by quantal response (logit) equilibrium than by Bayesian Nash equilibrium.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University of Siena in its series Labsi Experimental Economics Laboratory University of Siena with number 014.
Date of creation: Sep 2007
Date of revision:
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2007-11-10 (All new papers)
- NEP-CBE-2007-11-10 (Cognitive & Behavioural Economics)
- NEP-CDM-2007-11-10 (Collective Decision-Making)
- NEP-EXP-2007-11-10 (Experimental Economics)
- NEP-POL-2007-11-10 (Positive Political Economics)
- NEP-SOC-2007-11-10 (Social Norms & Social Capital)
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.:
- Timothy J. Feddersen & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1995.
"The Swing Voter's Curse,"
1064, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- Roger B. Myerson, 1994.
"Population Uncertainty and Poisson Games,"
1102R, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- Colin M. Campbell, 1999. "Large Electorates and Decisive Minorities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(6), pages 1199-1217, December.
- Schram, Arthur & Sonnemans, Joep, 1996.
"Voter Turnout as a Participation Game: An Experimental Investigation,"
International Journal of Game Theory,
Springer, vol. 25(3), pages 385-406.
- Arthur Schram & John Sonnemans, 2001. "Voter Turnout as a Participation Game: An Experimental Investigation," Levine's Working Paper Archive 563824000000000033, David K. Levine.
- John Duffy & Margit Tavits, 2006. "Beliefs and Voting Decisions: A Test of the Pivotal Voter Model," Working Papers 273, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Economics, revised May 2007.
- Cason, Timothy N. & Mui, Vai-Lam, 2005.
"Uncertainty and resistance to reform in laboratory participation games,"
European Journal of Political Economy,
Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 708-737, September.
- Vai-Lam Mui & Timothy N. Cason, 2004. "Uncertainty and Resistance to Reform in Laboratory Participation Games," Econometric Society 2004 Australasian Meetings 1, Econometric Society.
- Tilman Borgers, 2004.
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 57-66, March.
- Mutsusaka, J.G. & Palda, F., 1991.
"The Downsian Voter Meets the Ecological Fallacy,"
91-30, Southern California - School of Business Administration.
- Charles Zech, 1975. "Leibenstein's bandwagon effect as applied to voting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 21(1), pages 117-122, March.
- George J. Mailath & Steven A. Matthews & Tadashi Sekiguchi, 2001.
"Private Strategies in Finitely Repeated Games with Imperfect Public Monitoring,"
Penn CARESS Working Papers
e7304519c6d1562163dbaf181, Penn Economics Department.
- Mailath George J. & Matthews Steven A. & Sekiguchi Tadashi, 2002. "Private Strategies in Finitely Repeated Games with Imperfect Public Monitoring," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 2(1), pages 1-23, June.
- Roger B. Myerson & Robert J. Weber, 1988. "A Theory of Voting Equilibria," Discussion Papers 782, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- Klor, Esteban F & Winter, Eyal, 2006.
"On Public Opinion Polls and Voters' Turnout,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
5669, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- McKelvey Richard D. & Palfrey Thomas R., 1995. "Quantal Response Equilibria for Normal Form Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 6-38, July.
- Kenneth Brown & Charles Zech, 1973. "Welfare effects of announcing election forecasts," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 117-123, March.
- John Ledyard, 1984. "The pure theory of large two-candidate elections," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 44(1), pages 7-41, January.
- Jacob Goeree & Jens Großer, 2007. "Welfare Reducing Polls," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 31(1), pages 51-68, April.
- McKelvey, Richard D. & Ordeshook, Peter C., 1987. "Elections with limited information: A multidimensional model," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 77-99, August.
- Lohmann, Susanne, 1994. "Information Aggregation through Costly Political Action," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 518-30, June.
- Gary Bornstein & Tamar Kugler & Shmuel Zamir, 2003. "One Team Must Win, the Other Need Only Not Lose: An Experimental Study of an Asymmetric Participation Game," Discussion Paper Series dp317, The Center for the Study of Rationality, Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
- McKelvey, Richard D. & Ordeshook, Peter C., 1985. "Elections with limited information: A fulfilled expectations model using contemporaneous poll and endorsement data as information sources," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 55-85, June.
- Thomas Palfrey & Howard Rosenthal, 1983. "A strategic calculus of voting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 41(1), pages 7-53, January.
- Timothy Feddersen & Alvaro Sandroni, 2006. "A Theory of Participation in Elections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1271-1282, September.
- Thomas Jensen & Asger Lau Andersen, 2010. "Exit Polls and Voter Turnout," EPRU Working Paper Series 2010-10, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
- Luca Corazzini & Sebastian Kube & Michel André Maréchal & Antonio Nicolò, 2009. "Elections and deceptions: an experimental study on the behavioral effects of democracy," IEW - Working Papers 421, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich, revised Aug 2013.
- Marcelo Tyszler & Arthur Schram, 2011. "Information and Strategic Voting," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 11-025/1, Tinbergen Institute.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Alessandro Innocenti).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.