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

Jens Grosser () and Arthur Schram ()

Labsi Experimental Economics Laboratory University of Siena from University of Siena

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.

Keywords: laboratory; experiments. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C92 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-cdm, nep-exp, nep-pol and nep-soc
Date: 2007-09
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (12) Track citations by RSS feed

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Journal Article: Public Opinion Polls, Voter Turnout, and Welfare: An Experimental Study (2010) Downloads
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:usi:labsit:014

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