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Costly Voting: A Large-scale Real Effort Experiment

Marco Faravelli (), Kenan Kalayci () and Carlos Pimienta ()
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Marco Faravelli: School of Economics, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.

No 2017-16, Discussion Papers from School of Economics, The University of New South Wales

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.

Keywords: Costly Voting; Turnout; Field Experiment; Real Effort; Amazon's Mechanical Turk (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C93 D72 C72 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cdm, nep-des, nep-exp, nep-gth and nep-pol
Date: 2017-08
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