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Costly Voting: A Large-scale Real Effort Experiment

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  • Marco Faravelli

    (School of Economics, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.)

  • Kenan Kalayci

    (School of Economics, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.)

  • Carlos Pimienta

    (School of Economics, UNSW Business School, UNSW, Sydney, Australia.)

Abstract

We test the turnout predictions of the standard two-party, private value, costly voting model through a large-scale, real effort experiment. We do this by recruiting 1,200 participants through Amazon's Mechanical Turk and employing a 2 x 2 between subjects design encompassing small (N=30) and large (N=300) elections, as well as close and one-sided elections. We find partial evidence of selfish instrumental voting. Participants with a higher opportunity cost are less likely to vote (cost effect); turnout rate decreases as the electorate size increases (size effect) in one-sided elections and increases the closer the election is (competition effect) in large elections. Contrary to the theoretical predictions, in large one-sided elections the majority turns out to vote at a higher rate than the minority. We propose an alternative theory assuming that voters obtain a small non-monetary utility if they vote and their party wins.

Suggested Citation

  • Marco Faravelli & Kenan Kalayci & Carlos Pimienta, 2017. "Costly Voting: A Large-scale Real Effort Experiment," Discussion Papers 2017-16, School of Economics, The University of New South Wales.
  • Handle: RePEc:swe:wpaper:2017-16
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    File URL: http://research.economics.unsw.edu.au/RePEc/papers/2017-16.pdf
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    Cited by:

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    2. Yoichi Hizen & Kengo Kurosaka, 2021. "Monetary Costs Versus Opportunity Costs in a Voting Experiment," Working Papers SDES-2021-1, Kochi University of Technology, School of Economics and Management, revised Feb 2021.
    3. Tanja Artiga González & Francesco Capozza & Georg D. Granic, 2022. "Can Cognitive Dissonance Theory Explain Action Induced Changes in Political Preferences?," CESifo Working Paper Series 9549, CESifo.
    4. Rodney C. Shrader & Mark Simon & Steven Stanton, 2021. "Financial forecasting and risky decisions: an experimental study grounded in Prospect theory," International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, Springer, vol. 17(4), pages 1827-1841, December.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Costly Voting; Turnout; Field Experiment; Real Effort; Amazon's Mechanical Turk;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games

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