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Voting to Tell Others

Author

Listed:
  • Stefano DellaVigna
  • John A. List
  • Ulrike Malmendier
  • Gautam Rao

Abstract

Why do people vote? We argue that social image plays a significant role in explaining turnout: people vote because others will ask. The expectation of being asked motivates turnout if individuals derive pride from telling others that they voted, or feel shame from admitting that they did not vote, provided that lying is costly. We design a field experiment to estimate the effect of social image concerns on voting. In a door-to-door survey about election turnout, we experimentally vary (i) the informational content and use of a flyer pre-announcing the survey, (ii) the duration and payment for the survey, and (iii) the incentives to lie about past voting. Our estimates suggest significant social image concerns. For a plausible range of lying costs, we estimate the monetary value of voting `because others will ask' to be in the range of $5-$15 for the 2010 Congressional election. In a complementary get-out-the-vote experiment, we inform potential voters before the election that we will ask them later whether they voted. We find suggestive evidence that the treatment increases turnout.

Suggested Citation

  • Stefano DellaVigna & John A. List & Ulrike Malmendier & Gautam Rao, 2014. "Voting to Tell Others," NBER Working Papers 19832, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19832
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Nikolaj Harmon & Raymond Fisman & Emir Kamenica, 2018. "Peer Effects in Legislative Voting," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series dp-304, Boston University - Department of Economics.
    2. Piolatto, Amedeo & Schuett, Florian, 2015. "Media competition and electoral politics," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 80-93.
    3. Attanasi, Giuseppe & Corazzini, Luca & Passarelli, Francesco, 2017. "Voting as a lottery," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 146(C), pages 129-137.
    4. Jana Friedrichsen & Tobias König & Renke Schmacker, 2018. "Social Image Concerns and Welfare Take-Up," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1752, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    5. Duncan Sheppard Gilchrist & Emily Glassberg Sands, 2016. "Something to Talk About: Social Spillovers in Movie Consumption," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 124(5), pages 1339-1382.
    6. A Stefano Caria & Simon Franklin & Marc Witte, 2018. "Searching with friends," CSAE Working Paper Series 2018-14, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    7. Bruns, Christian & Himmler, Oliver, 2016. "Mass media, instrumental information, and electoral accountability," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 75-84.
    8. Jonathan de Quidt & Johannes Haushofer & Christopher Roth, 2017. "Measuring and Bounding Experimenter Demand," CESifo Working Paper Series 6516, CESifo Group Munich.
    9. Gautam Rao & Leonardo Bursztyn & Stefano Fiorin & Bruno Ferman & Martin Kanz, 2016. "Status Goods: Experimental Evidence from Platinum Credit Cards," Working Paper 396916, Harvard University OpenScholar.
    10. Johannes Abeler & Daniele Nosenzo & Collin Raymond, 2016. "Preferences for Truth-Telling," CESifo Working Paper Series 6087, CESifo Group Munich.
    11. Lydia Mechtenberg & Jean-Robert Tyran, 2016. "Voter Motivation and the Quality of Democratic Choice," Discussion Papers 16-13, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    12. repec:kap:pubcho:v:172:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11127-017-0412-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. repec:eee:pubeco:v:164:y:2018:i:c:p:225-240 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. David K Levine & Andrea Mattozzi, 2016. "Voter Participation with Collusive Parties," Levine's Working Paper Archive 786969000000001234, David K. Levine.
    15. Amalia Álvarez & Fabian Winter, 2018. "Normative change and culture of hate: An experiment in online environments," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2018_03, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
    16. Bellettini, Giorgio & Ceroni, Carlotta Berti & Cantoni, Enrico & Monfardini, Chiara, 2018. "Family Structure and the Turnout Gender Gap: Evidence from Italy," IZA Discussion Papers 11384, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    17. Le Yaouanq, Yves, 2018. "A Model of Ideological Thinking," Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series 85, CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition.
    18. Jean-Robert Tyran & Alexander K. Wagner, 2016. "Experimental Evidence on Expressive Voting," Discussion Papers 16-12, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    19. Raphael Bruce & Rafael Costa Lima, 2015. "Compulsory Voting and TV News Consumption," Working Papers, Department of Economics 2015_48, University of São Paulo (FEA-USP), revised 12 Jun 2017.
    20. Name-Correa, Alvaro J. & Yildirim, Huseyin, 2016. "“Giving” in to social pressure," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 99-116.
    21. repec:eee:poleco:v:53:y:2018:i:c:p:149-160 is not listed on IDEAS
    22. Aimone, Jason A. & Butera, Luigi & Stratmann, Thomas, 2018. "Altruistic punishment in elections," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 149-160.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • P48 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Political Economy; Legal Institutions; Property Rights; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Regional Studies

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