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Correcting mistakes: cognitive dissonance and political attitudes in Sweden and the United States

  • Mikael Elinder

    ()

Cognitive dissonance theory predicts that the act of voting makes people more positive toward the party or candidate they have voted for. Following Mullainathan and Washington (Am. Econ. J. Appl. Econ. 1:86–111, 2009 ), I test this prediction by using exogenous variation in turnout provided by the voting age restriction. I improve on previous studies by investigating political attitudes, measured just before elections, when they are highly predictive of voting. In contrast to earlier studies I find no effect of voting on political attitudes. This result holds for both Sweden and the United States. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11127-011-9791-1
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Article provided by Springer in its journal Public Choice.

Volume (Year): 153 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 (October)
Pages: 235-249

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Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:153:y:2012:i:1:p:235-249
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100332

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  1. Alan S. Gerber & Dean Karlan & Daniel Bergan, 2009. "Does the Media Matter? A Field Experiment Measuring the Effect of Newspapers on Voting Behavior and Political Opinions," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 35-52, April.
  2. Stefano DellaVigna & Ethan Kaplan, 2007. "The Fox News Effect: Media Bias and Voting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1187-1234, 08.
  3. Akerlof, George A & Dickens, William T, 1982. "The Economic Consequences of Cognitive Dissonance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 307-19, June.
  4. Ebonya Washington & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2009. "Sticking with Your Vote: Cognitive Dissonance and Political Attitudes," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 86-111, January.
  5. M. Keith Chen, 2008. "Rationalization and Cognitive Dissonance: Do Choices Affect or Reflect Preferences?," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000002336, David K. Levine.
  6. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135.
  7. Bryan Caplan, 2006. "How do voters form positive economic beliefs? Evidence from the Survey of Americans and Economists on the Economy," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 128(3), pages 367-381, September.
  8. Matthew Rabin., 1991. "Cognitive Dissonance and Social Change," Economics Working Papers 91-180, University of California at Berkeley.
  9. James Konow, 2000. "Fair Shares: Accountability and Cognitive Dissonance in Allocation Decisions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 1072-1091, September.
  10. Caplan, Bryan, 2001. "Rational Ignorance versus Rational Irrationality," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(1), pages 3-26.
  11. George A. Akerlof, 1989. "The Economics Of Illusion," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 1(1), pages 1-15, 03.
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