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Public Opinion Polls, Voter Turnout, and Welfare: An Experimental Study

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  • Jens Großer

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  • Arthur Schram

    ()

Abstract

We experimentally study the impact of public opinion poll releases on voter turnout and welfare in a participation game. We find higher turnout rates when polls inform the electorate about the levels of support for various candidates than when polls are prohibited. Distinguishing between allied and floating voters, our data show that this increase in turnout is entirely due to floating voters. Very high turnout is observed when polls indicate equal support levels for the candidates. This has negative consequences for welfare. Though in aggregate social welfare is hardly affected, majorities benefit more often from polls than minorities. Finally, our comparative static results are better predicted by quantal response (logit) equilibrium than by Bayesian Nash equilibrium.

Suggested Citation

  • Jens Großer & Arthur Schram, 2007. "Public Opinion Polls, Voter Turnout, and Welfare: An Experimental Study," Labsi Experimental Economics Laboratory University of Siena 014, University of Siena.
  • Handle: RePEc:usi:labsit:014
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:kap:atlecj:v:45:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11293-016-9527-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Großer, Jens & Reuben, Ernesto, 2013. "Redistribution and market efficiency: An experimental study," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 39-52.
    3. Vardan Baghdasaryan & Giovanna Iannantuoni & Valeria Maggian, 2017. "Electoral Fraud and Voter Turnout: An experimental study," Working Papers halshs-01511596, HAL.
    4. Alan Gerber & Mitchell Hoffman & John Morgan & Collin Raymond, 2017. "One in a Million: Field Experiments on Perceived Closeness of the Election and Voter Turnout," NBER Working Papers 23071, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. repec:kap:pubcho:v:172:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11127-017-0457-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Vardan, Baghdasaryan & Giovanna, Iannantuoni & Valeria, Maggian, 2015. "Electoral fraud and voter turnout," Working Papers 315, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised 25 Nov 2015.
    7. Arthur Schram, 2016. "Gordon Tullock and experimental public choice," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 214-226, June.
    8. Cesar Martinelli & Thomas R. Palfrey, 2017. "Communication and Information in Games of Collective Decision: A Survey of Experimental Results," Working Papers 1065, George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    laboratory experiments.;

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior

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