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Exit Polls and Voter Turnout

Author

Listed:
  • Thomas Jensen

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

  • Asger Lau Andersen

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

Abstract

We set up a model of elections or referendums with two alternatives to study how voter turnout and election outcomes are affected by the publication of exit polls on election day. We find that the introduction of an exit poll influences the incentive to vote both before and after the poll is published, but the signs of the effects are generally ambiguous. The fact that exit polls influence the incentive to vote before they are even published is sometimes overlooked in the debate on their desirability. We show that this can lead to premature conclusions about the impact of exit polls on election outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Jensen & Asger Lau Andersen, 2010. "Exit Polls and Voter Turnout," EPRU Working Paper Series 2010-10, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:kud:epruwp:10-10
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Esteban Klor & Eyal Winter, 2007. "The welfare effects of public opinion polls," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 35(3), pages 379-394, February.
    2. Battaglini, Marco, 2005. "Sequential voting with abstention," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 445-463, May.
    3. Luís Aguiar-Conraria & Pedro Magalhães, 2010. "Referendum design, quorum rules and turnout," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 144(1), pages 63-81, July.
    4. Jacob Goeree & Jens Großer, 2007. "Welfare Reducing Polls," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 31(1), pages 51-68, April.
    5. Taylor, Curtis & Yildirim, Huseyin, 2005. "Public Information and Electoral Bias," Working Papers 05-11, Duke University, Department of Economics.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    elections; exit polls; voter turnout;

    JEL classification:

    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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