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Referenda outcomes and the influence of polls: a social network feedback process

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  • Ariel Guerreiro
  • Joao Amaro de Matos

Abstract

This paper proposes a model to explain the differences between outcomes of referenda and the voting trends suggested by polls. Two main effects are at stake. First, the evolution of the voters' attitudes is conditional on the public information made available to them. Second, the predisposition toward abstention among individuals within each voting group may be different. Our model describes how these two aspects of decision making may interact, showing how publicly available information may amplify the distinct tendency toward abstention between both groups and thus affect the outcome of the referendum. JEL codes:

Suggested Citation

  • Ariel Guerreiro & Joao Amaro de Matos, 2013. "Referenda outcomes and the influence of polls: a social network feedback process," FEUNL Working Paper Series wp578, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Faculdade de Economia.
  • Handle: RePEc:unl:unlfep:wp578
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    1. Sanjog Misra, 2005. "Generalized Reverse Discrete Choice Models," Quantitative Marketing and Economics (QME), Springer, vol. 3(2), pages 175-200, June.
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    3. Timothy J. Feddersen, 2004. "Rational Choice Theory and the Paradox of Not Voting," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 99-112, Winter.
    4. Brian Knight & Nathan Schiff, 2010. "Momentum and Social Learning in Presidential Primaries," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(6), pages 1110-1150.
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    6. Barry Nalebuff & Ron Shachar, 1999. "Follow the Leader: Theory and Evidence on Political Participation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 525-547, June.
    7. repec:cup:apsrev:v:79:y:1985:i:01:p:62-78_22 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135-135.
    9. Benny Geys, 2006. "'Rational' Theories of Voter Turnout: A Review," Political Studies Review, Political Studies Association, vol. 4(1), pages 16-35.
    10. repec:cup:apsrev:v:69:y:1975:i:03:p:920-925_24 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Schram, Arthur & Sonnemans, Joep, 1996. "Why people vote: Experimental evidence," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 417-442, August.
    12. Mueller,Dennis C., 2003. "Public Choice III," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521894753, December.
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