Welcome to the new version of CaltechAUTHORS. Login is currently restricted to library staff. If you notice any issues, please email coda@library.caltech.edu
Published March 4, 2016 | Updated + Accepted Version
Report Open

What Makes Voters Turn Out: The Effects of Polls and Beliefs


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. We find that 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.

Additional Information

January 2013. Updated December 29, 2014. We thank Guillaume Frechette, Salvatore Nunnari, and Tom Palfrey for useful suggestions. We gratefully acknowledge financial support from the European Research Council (ERC Advanced Investigator Grant, ESEI-249433), the National Science Foundation (SES 0963583), and the Henry and Betty Moore Foundation.

Attached Files

Accepted Version - sswp1368.pdf

Updated - Effects_of_Pools_and_Beliefs.pdf


Files (1.3 MB)
Name Size Download all
628.1 kB Preview Download
628.7 kB Preview Download

Additional details

August 20, 2023
January 13, 2024