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Neighborhood Information Exchange and Voter Participation: An Experimental Study

We study the effect of social embeddedness on voter turnout by investigating the role of information about other voters' decisions. We do so in a participation game, where some voters ('receivers') are told about some other voters' ('senders') turnout decision at a first stage of the game. Cases are distinguished where the voters support the same or different candidates or where they are uncertain about each other's preferences. Our experimental results show that such information matters. Participation is much higher when information is exchanged than when it is not. Senders strategically try to use their first mover position and some receivers respond to this.

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Paper provided by University of Cologne, Department of Economics in its series Working Paper Series in Economics with number 8.

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Date of creation: 10 May 2004
Date of revision: 29 Sep 2004
Handle: RePEc:kls:series:0008
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  1. John Ledyard, 1984. "The pure theory of large two-candidate elections," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 44(1), pages 7-41, January.
  2. Andreoni, James, 1988. "Why free ride? : Strategies and learning in public goods experiments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 291-304, December.
  3. Schram, Arthur & van Winden, Frans, 1991. "Why people vote : Free riding and the production and consumption of social pressure," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 575-620, December.
  4. Arthur Schram & John Sonnemans, 2001. "Voter Turnout as a Participation Game: An Experimental Investigation," Levine's Working Paper Archive 563824000000000033, David K. Levine.
  5. Bikhchandani, Sushil & Hirshleifer, David & Welch, Ivo, 1992. "A Theory of Fads, Fashion, Custom, and Cultural Change in Informational Cascades," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(5), pages 992-1026, October.
  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. Lohmann, Susanne, 1994. "Information Aggregation through Costly Political Action," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 518-30, June.
  8. Roberto Weber & Colin Camerer & Marc Knez, 2004. "Timing and Virtual Observability in Ultimatum Bargaining and “Weak Link†Coordination Games," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 25-48, February.
  9. Thomas Palfrey & Howard Rosenthal, 1983. "A strategic calculus of voting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 41(1), pages 7-53, January.
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