What makes voters turn out: the effects of polls and beliefs
AbstractWe use laboratory experiments to test for one of the foundations of the rational voter paradigm - that voters respond to probabilities of being pivotal. We exploit a setup that entails stark theoretical effects of information concerning the preference distribution (as revealed through polls) on costly participation decisions. The data reveal several insights. First, voting propensity increases systematically with subjects' predictions of their preferred alternative's advantage. Consequently, pre-election polls do not exhibit the detrimental welfare effects that extant theoretical work predicts. They lead to more participation by the expected majority and generate more landslide elections. Finally, we investigate subjects' behavior in polls and identify when Bandwagon and Underdog Effects arise.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Department of Economics - University of Zurich in its series ECON - Working Papers with number 067.
Date of creation: Mar 2012
Date of revision:
Collective choice; polls; strategic voting;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
- D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, and Operations
- D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2012-04-03 (All new papers)
- NEP-CDM-2012-04-03 (Collective Decision-Making)
- NEP-EXP-2012-04-03 (Experimental Economics)
- NEP-POL-2012-04-03 (Positive Political Economics)
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