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Do People Care about Democracy? An Experiment Exploring the Value of Voting Rights

Werner Guth and Hannelore Weck-Hannemann

Public Choice, 1997, vol. 91, issue 1, 27-47

Abstract: In almost all democratic national elections, an individual vote cannot change the election outcome. The fact that many individuals nevertheless participate voluntarily in such elections suggests that people do care about democracy as such. This experiment investigates the value of democratic voting rights by providing participants the chance to sell them. More specifically, an incentive compatible mechanism is used to elicit the willingness-to-accept value of the voting right in the election of the Germany Bundestag on 16 October 1994. A postexperimental questionnaire makes it possible to assess the relative importance of answers to the frequently raised question: why do people vote? Copyright 1997 by Kluwer Academic Publishers

Date: 1997
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