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Compulsory and Voluntary Voting Mechanisms: An Experimental Study

  • Sourav Bhattacharya
  • John Duffy
  • Sun-Tak Kim

We report on an experiment comparing compulsory and voluntary voting mechanisms. Theory predicts that these different mechanisms have different implications both for the sincerity of the voting decisions and for the participation decisions of voters, and we find strong support for these theoretical predictions in our experimental data. Voters are able to adapt the sincerity of their votes or their participation decisions to the different voting mechanisms in such a way as to make the welfare differences between these mechanisms negligible. We argue that this finding may account for the co-existence of these two voting mechanisms in nature.

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Paper provided by University of Pittsburgh, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 456.

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Date of creation: Dec 2011
Date of revision: Mar 2013
Handle: RePEc:pit:wpaper:456
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  1. Cason, Timothy N. & Mui, Vai-Lam, 2005. "Uncertainty and resistance to reform in laboratory participation games," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 708-737, September.
  2. Andreas Blume & John Duffy, 2004. "Organizational Learning: An Experimental Investigation," 2004 Meeting Papers 617, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. April Franco & Andreas Blume & John Duffy, 2004. "Organizational Learning: An Experimental Study," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 498, Econometric Society.
  4. Dino Gerardi & Margaret A. McConnell & Julian Romero & Leeat Yariv, 2009. "Get Out the (Costly) Vote: Institutional Design for Greater Participation," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 121, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
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