Match!

Social Pressure and Voter Turnout: Evidence from a Large-Scale Field Experiment

Published on Feb 1, 2008in American Political Science Review3.90
· DOI :10.1017/S000305540808009X
S GerberAlan42
Estimated H-index: 42
(Yale University),
P GreenDonald62
Estimated H-index: 62
(Yale University),
W LarimerChristopher11
Estimated H-index: 11
(UNI: University of Northern Iowa)
Cite
Abstract
Voter turnout theories based on rational self-interested behavior generally fail to predict significant turnout unless they account for the utility that citizens receive from performing their civic duty. We distinguish between two aspects of this type of utility, intrinsic satisfaction from behaving in accordance with a norm and extrinsic incentives to comply, and test the effects of priming intrinsic motives and applying varying degrees of extrinsic pressure. A large-scale field experiment involving several hundred thousand registered voters used a series of mailings to gauge these effects. Substantially higher turnout was observed among those who received mailings promising to publicize their turnout to their household or their neighbors. These findings demonstrate the profound importance of social pressure as an inducement to political participation.
  • References (62)
  • Citations (583)
Cite
References62
Newest
#1Kevin Arceneaux (TU: Temple University)H-Index: 27
#2S GerberAlan (Yale University)H-Index: 42
Last.P GreenDonald (Yale University)H-Index: 62
view all 3 authors...
Cited By583
Newest
#1Taylor N. Carlson (WashU: Washington University in St. Louis)
#2Marisa Abrajano (UCSD: University of California, San Diego)H-Index: 11
Last.Lisa García Bedolla (University of California, Berkeley)H-Index: 10
view all 3 authors...
#1Peter BönischH-Index: 1
#2Benny Geys (BI Norwegian Business School)H-Index: 25
Last.Claus Michelsen (German Institute for Economic Research)H-Index: 4
view all 3 authors...
#1André Blais (UdeM: Université de Montréal)H-Index: 47
#2Carol Galais (Open University of Catalonia)H-Index: 6
Last.Maxime Coulombe (UdeM: Université de Montréal)
view all 3 authors...
View next paperTo Vote or Not to Vote: The Merits and Limits of Rational Choice Theory