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What makes voters turn out: the effects of polls and beliefs

Marina Agranov, Jacob Goeree (), Julian Romero () and Leeat Yariv

No 67, ECON - Working Papers from Department of Economics - University of Zurich

Abstract: We use laboratory experiments to test for one of the foundations of the rational voter paradigm - that voters respond to probabilities of being pivotal. We exploit a setup that entails stark theoretical effects of information concerning the preference distribution (as revealed through polls) on costly participation decisions. The data reveal several insights. First, voting propensity increases systematically with subjects' predictions of their preferred alternative's advantage. Consequently, pre-election polls do not exhibit the detrimental welfare effects that extant theoretical work predicts. They lead to more participation by the expected majority and generate more landslide elections. Finally, we investigate subjects' behavior in polls and identify when Bandwagon and Underdog Effects arise.

Keywords: Collective choice; polls; strategic voting (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C92 D02 D72 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cdm, nep-exp and nep-pol
Date: 2012-03
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (14) Track citations by RSS feed

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Related works:
Journal Article: What Makes Voters Turn Out: The Effects of Polls and Beliefs (2018) Downloads
Working Paper: What makes voters turn out: The effects of polls and beliefs (2016) Downloads
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