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TURNOUT INTENTION AND RANDOM SOCIAL NETWORKS

Constanza Fosco (), Annick Laruelle () and Angel Sánchez ()
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Angel Sánchez: Grupo Interdisciplinar de Sistemas Complejos (GISC), Departamento de Matemáticas, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain;

Advances in Complex Systems (ACS), 2011, vol. 14, issue 01, 31-53

Abstract: How can networking affect the turnout in an election? We present a simple model to explain turnout as a result of a dynamic process of formation of the intention to vote within Erdös–Rényi networks. Citizens have fixed preferences for one of two parties and are embedded in a social network. They decide whether or not to vote on the basis of the attitude of their immediate contacts. They may simply follow the behavior of the majority (followers) or make an adaptive local calculus of voting (calculators). So they have the intention of voting either when the majority of their neighbors are willing to vote too, or when they perceive in their social neighborhood that elections are "close". We study the long-run average intention to vote, interpreted as the actual turnout observed in an election. Depending on the values of the average connectivity and the probability of behaving as a follower/calculator, the system exhibits monostability (zero turnout), bistability (zero and moderate/high turnout) or tristability (zero, moderate and high turnout). By obtaining realistic turnout rates for a wide range of values of both parameters, our model suggests a mechanism behind the observed relevance of social networks in recent elections.

Keywords: Turnout; random networks; voting; opinion formation; adaptive behavior (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2011
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DOI: 10.1142/S0219525911002883

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