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Self-prophecy effects and voter turnout: An experimental replication

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  • Alan Gerber
  • Anton Orlich
  • Jennifer Smith

Abstract

Psychological research has found that being asked to predict one's future actions can bring about subsequent behavior consistent with the prediction but different from what would have occurred had no prediction been made. In a 1987 study, Greenwald, Carnot, Beach, and Young induced an increase in voting behavior by means of such a "self-prophecy" effect: Undergraduates who were asked to predict whether they would vote in an upcoming election were substantially more likely to go to the polls than those who had not been asked for a prediction. This paper reports on a replication of the Greenwald study conducted among a larger group of respondents more representative of the American electorate. No evidence was found that self-prophecy effects increase voter turnout.

Suggested Citation

  • Alan Gerber & Anton Orlich & Jennifer Smith, 2003. "Self-prophecy effects and voter turnout: An experimental replication," Natural Field Experiments 00333, The Field Experiments Website.
  • Handle: RePEc:feb:natura:00333
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Morwitz, Vicki G & Johnson, Eric J & Schmittlein, David C, 1993. " Does Measuring Intent Change Behavior?," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(1), pages 46-61, June.
    2. repec:cup:apsrev:v:50:y:1956:i:01:p:154-165_06 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Marianne Bertrand & Dean Karlin & Sendhil Mullainathan & Eldar Shafir & Jonathan Zinman, 2005. "What's Psychology Worth? A Field Experiment in the Consumer Credit Market," NBER Working Papers 11892, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Michael Kremer & Edward Miguel, 2007. "The Illusion of Sustainability," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1007-1065.
    3. Bach, Ruben & Eckman, Stephanie, 2017. "Does participating in a panel survey change respondents' labor market behavior?," IAB Discussion Paper 201715, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    4. Felix Koelle & Tom Lane & Daniele Nosenzo & Chris Starmer, 2017. "Nudging the electorate: what works and why?," Discussion Papers 2017-16, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    5. Christopher Mann, 2005. "Unintentional voter mobilization: Does participation in pre-election surveys increase voter turnout?," Natural Field Experiments 00305, The Field Experiments Website.
    6. Luoto, Jill & Levine, David & Albert, Jeff & Luby, Stephen, 2014. "Nudging to use: Achieving safe water behaviors in Kenya and Bangladesh," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 13-21.

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