- Why people vote: experimental evidence
- Journal of Economic Psychology
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB)
- Amsterdam School of Economics Research Institute (ASE-RI)
This paper reports the results of a series of experiments in which the voter turnout decision was analyzed as a participation game. The experiments were inspired by the model of Schram and van Winden (1991). In the model, individuals favoring the same policy or candidate are members of a common reference group, and the vote decision is determined by inter- and intragroup relations. Our experimental data supported three hypotheses derived from this model. First, participation increased with group identity. Second, communication enhanced participation. Finally, participation was strongly related to individual characteristics. A simple analysis of the way people learn from their experiences in previous periods is used to argue that any model of voter turnout should take account of myopic adaptive behavior and inertia.
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