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An evolutionary analysis of turnout with conformist citizens


  • Landi, M.
  • Sodini, M.


We propose an evolutionary analysis of a voting game where citizens have a preference for conformism that adds to the instrumental preference for the electoral outcome. Multiple equilibria arise, and some generate high turnout. Simulations of best response dynamics show that high turnout is asymptotically stable if conformism matters but its likelihood depends on the reference group for conformism: high turnout is more likely when voters care about their own group's choice, as this better overrides the free rider problem of voting games. Comparative statics on the voting cost distribution, and the groups' composition are also done.

Suggested Citation

  • Landi, M. & Sodini, M., 2012. "An evolutionary analysis of turnout with conformist citizens," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 36(10), pages 1431-1447.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:dyncon:v:36:y:2012:i:10:p:1431-1447 DOI: 10.1016/j.jedc.2012.02.010

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Klick, Jonathan & Parisi, Francesco, 2008. "Social networks, self-denial, and median preferences: Conformity as an evolutionary strategy," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 1319-1327, August.
    2. Roger B. Myerson, 1998. "Population uncertainty and Poisson games," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 27(3), pages 375-392.
    3. Bendor, Jonathan & Diermeier, Daniel & Ting, Michael M., 2000. "A Behavioral Model of Turnout," Research Papers 1627, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    4. Myerson, Roger B., 2000. "Large Poisson Games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 7-45, September.
    5. Julio Rotemberg, 2009. "Attitude-dependent altruism, turnout and voting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 140(1), pages 223-244, July.
    6. Timothy Feddersen & Alvaro Sandroni, 2006. "A Theory of Participation in Elections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1271-1282, September.
    7. Meirowitz, Adam & Shotts, Kenneth W., 2009. "Pivots versus signals in elections," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(2), pages 744-771, March.
    8. João Amaro de Matos & Pedro Barros, 2004. "Social Norms and the Paradox of Elections’ Turnout," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 121(1), pages 239-255, October.
    9. repec:cup:apsrev:v:62:y:1968:i:01:p:25-42_11 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Amrita Dhillon & Susana Peralta, 2002. "Economic Theories Of Voter Turnout," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(480), pages 332-352, June.
    11. Coleman, Stephen, 2004. "The Effect of Social Conformity on Collective Voting Behavior," Political Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(01), pages 76-96, December.
    12. repec:cup:apsrev:v:97:y:2003:i:02:p:261-280_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Massimiliano Landi & Mauro Sodini, 2010. "Conformism and Turnout," Working Papers 24-2010, Singapore Management University, School of Economics.
    14. Stephen Coate & Michael Conlin, 2004. "A Group Rule–Utilitarian Approach to Voter Turnout: Theory and Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1476-1504, December.
    15. Sieg, Gernot & Schulz, Christof, 1995. "Evolutionary Dynamics in the Voting Game," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 85(1-2), pages 157-172, October.
    16. repec:cup:apsrev:v:79:y:1985:i:01:p:62-78_22 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Benny Geys, 2006. "'Rational' Theories of Voter Turnout: A Review," Political Studies Review, Political Studies Association, vol. 4(1), pages 16-35.
    18. John Conley & Ali Toossi & Myrna Wooders, 2006. "Memetics and voting: how nature may make us public spirited," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 35(1), pages 71-90, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Martorana, Marco Ferdinando, 2011. "Voting Behaviour in a dynamic perspective: a survey," MPRA Paper 37592, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    Turnout; Coordination games; Poisson games; Conformism; Selection dynamics;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games


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