Panagopoulos on Gratitude Expression and Voting (Journal of Politics)

Abstract: Political scientists are increasingly exploring the psychological underpinnings of voting behavior using field experimental techniques. Research in psychology demonstrates that gratitude expression reinforces prosocial behavior. This article reports the results of the three randomized field experiments designed to investigate the impact of gratitude expression on voter turnout. The experiments were conducted in a range of electoral settings, and the results suggest thanking voters for voting in a previous election boosts participation levels in subsequent elections. Moreover, the gratitude expression effect I observe appears to be distinct from social pressure and is robust across subgroups of voters, including minorities and women, and both low- and high-propensity voters.